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Monthly Archives: February 2016

Important Things To Look For In A Local Church

Church Steeples in AutumnA. Important Things to Look for in a Local Church:

* No church will ever be perfect; even the 1st Century church had its problems, but a church needs to have the foundational structure as set forth in God’s Word. The closer a church follows the Bible, the better that church will be. The better a Christian follows the Bible the better the church will be. A church can never be more spiritual, than the members that make it up. Since the church is a biblical structure, and God is its founder, we must start our criteria search from the very pages of God’s word the Bible. Let’s see what the 1st century church was like and how they operated. Any church like this New Testament church would be a good choice.

  1. They were a church with a mission: to see souls saved

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

  1. They were a church with a message: Jesus saves

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

  1. They believed the Word of God

Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word…”

  1. They were a church united on the same doctrine

Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

  1. They were a church that fellowshipped with each other

Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Acts 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

  1. They were a praying church

Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

  1. They had a proper fear/respect for God

Acts 2:43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.

  1. They helped one another

Acts 2:44-45 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.

  1. They were a faithful church

Acts 2:46 And they, continuing daily…

  1. They were a driven church: they had one focus; souls saved.

Acts 2:46 And they, continuing daily with…singleness of heart,

  1. They were a church that praised to God

Acts 2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people…

  1. They were a productive and growing church

Acts 2:47 …And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved

 

B. 10 Characteristics of a Bible Church:

  1. Look for a church that believes the King James Bible is the word of God. Many believe the doctrine of Inspiration (2Tim.3:16) meaning that God breathed every word of the Bible. But few pastors and teachers believe the doctrine of Preservation (Psalm 12:6-7, Matt. 24:35) meaning that God will guard and keep those words that he has spoken forever. With each new bible translation, comes changes and the removal of words. How many times can you change a personal letter from one man to another, and it still be considered the same letter? If you change it once, it is no longer the same letter. God has preserved his Word for the English speaking people today in the King James Bible. Do not except any other!
  2. Look for a church that preaches and teaches from the Bible. This means, the pastor & teachers read the Bible in the church service, and then by the leading of the Holy Spirit explain what was read, often using other passages in the Bible to support the topic. God’s word will speak to God’s people if it is openly & publicly read. You need God’s word most of all if you want to grow in your faith.
  3. Look for a Soul-winning & Missions supporting church, a church that is driven to share the good news of Jesus Christ and salvation. In Matt. 28:19-20 when Jesus left his disciples he gave them one mission; Go Preach! The church should carry this same mission today of spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. You don’t want to attend a church that minimizes Christ’s command of soul-winning. A church that is centered on soul winning is centered on Christ.
  4. Look for a church that esteems Christ as the head of the church and his word as the final authority for all faith and practice of the church. The church should not be governed or controlled by any organization, denomination, convention, government, committees or boards made up of men. The church belongs to Christ. No authority should surpass God’s Word. God has chosen his church to have a pastor that would teach & lead his people in his word. God never intended for a board or committee to lead his church.
  5. Look for a church that uses God honoring music, those spiritual and blessed old hymns of the faith. Music should honor Christ and never exalt the flesh. (Contemporary Christian/Christian rock music is considered worldly by God’s standard of holiness and should be avoided.) Colossians 3:16 is specific by saying music should be “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” these songs are to be sung for the Lord. God is the audience for our singing; man should never be the focus. Most modern praise & worship music focuses on the people in the audience feeling good instead of adoring the God of heaven.
  6. Look for a church that has Sunday School, Sunday AM & PM, and Wednesday services. More church, not less church. The Bible says in Hebrews 10:25 says we should not forsake church but rather, go “so much the more” as we see the days becoming more evil. Churches that take away services are not helping the people, nor are they obeying God’s word. What good is it to be a part of a congregation if it rarely meets?
  7. Look for a church that is separated from worldliness and encourages its people to live a holy life. The bible says in 2Corinthians 6:14-18 to be separate from the world, even to the point of coming out from among them. This means Christians should have different speech, clothing, music, attitudes, lifestyles….than the sinful people in the world that live for themselves.
  8. Look for a church that invests in young people. When the Apostle Paul left Titus in Crete to help and establish the churches there, one of his main sermons was that the older men should teach the younger men and the older women were to teach the younger women. This is the entire thought of Titus chapter two. If we fail to train the next generation, there will not be “another” generation!
  9. Look for a church that follows the Pastor God has chosen for them. The pastor is God’s chosen representative, overseer and supervisor for the local church. A group of men called Deacons, help the pastor care for the people. The word Deacon means, servant or attendant of tables; therefore the Deacon is a servant of the pastor and people and not the rulers over such. The Pastor and Deacons works hand and hand to carry out the work & ministry of the local church, but it is the Pastor who God has specifically chosen to lead his flock on earth. A church, who doesn’t think much of the office of the Pastor, doesn’t think much of God who ordained him. A church like that can never have God’s blessing. (Hebrews 13:7, 17; Acts 20:28; 1Cor.12:18; Jere. 3:15)
  10. Look for a church that has a male pastor & strong male leadership. God chose men to pastor & lead the church (1Tim. 2:11-13), with this said, a church should always treat their ladies as Christ would treat his church, with love & respect (Ephesians 5:25). It is not that men are superior; it’s a matter of being Biblically correct so the church can have the blessing of God. After all it was God himself who ordained the structure of His church. If a church will not follow God’s blueprint, that church will not carry God’s favor and blessing.

 

C. The Local Church is very important to God. If God thinks highly of his church, so should we. What does God say about his church in his Bible?

  1. Christ died for his church: Acts 20:28
  2. God wants his church to be filled: Luke 14:23
  3. The church is the foundation and center of the Christian life: 1Tim. 3:15
  4. The church is the center of religious learning: 1Tim. 3:15
  5. The church is the center of Christian fellowship: Heb.10:25
  6. The church is the body of Christ, working together for his cause: Rom. 12:5
  7. The local church is where you will use your talent to minister to others and grow in your spiritual walk: 1Cor.12:12, 15-27

I hope these simple guidelines help you as you search for a Bible believing New Testament church. May God bless you and direct you to the right church, and if you are already in the right church, then I pray he keeps you busy winning souls and encouraging believers.

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2016 in Helps for Christian Growth

 
 
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