Factors one should consider when trying to find a good local church
Who is the church for, believers. unbelievers, or both? What is the primary purpose of church and what should be expected from the church? Church may comprise of a few people, a few hundred or a few thousand who corporately come together.
Hebrews 10:25 - Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.
The corporate churches primary function is for believers, not unbelievers. We would always welcome encourage and invite non-believers to attend, but the primary focus of the church is to teach and encourage believers to grow in sound doctrine and to live Godly lives. Church is an opportunity for believers to come together for spiritual teaching, encouragement, equipping of the saints to carry on the work, time of worhip and prayer, and much more.
Believers meet and have church where they learn more about how God is working in their lives and the world. It is a time to be encouraged and lifted up, so they are equipped to face the world each week. For those that are called to various ministries it is also a time of training and equipping them to do the work to which they were called by God. Church should be a place where Christians go to be fed by God’s word; to be taught doctrine, worship our Lord and how to live Godly in this world.
The question is, how well does this really happen?
The church is to teach biblical doctrine so we can be grounded in our faith. Ephesians 4:14 tells us, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.” In our church services there is so often lack of teaching on practical living in today’s world, in ways pleasing to God. We need to hear messages on subjects pertaining to living a life that is set apart for Christ, while living in this present world system. Where is the teaching on subjects like anxiety, depression, and anger, sex outside marriage, alcohol, drugs, proper use of social media, internet, TV, movies, immodesty, and dressing to show reverence to God, etc? There needs to be teaching on practical subjects including relevant examples in daily living for believers in this fallen world. It is so easy for belivers to get caught up in worldly behaviours; and as a result appearing no different than the rest of the world in many areas.
Romans 12:2 - And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
The church should not skip over areas that may offend; as long as it is in alignment with God’s word. The church should not use worldly methods or water down its teaching nor should the teaching be legalistic in nature. We should be careful as a church that we don't compromise on the teaching of God's word in a way just to make outsides more comfortable in coming and staying. When outsiders do attend our services, they need to see the church worshipping our Lord that shows reverence to Him, see a people set apart and experience a work taking place that lifts God up; certainly not us or the world.
Titus 2:7,8 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.
Hebrews 12:28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
Grace does not give us a license to live any way you like and that God is ok with it. Grace actually instructs us in Godly living.
The church is God’s hands, mouth, and feet in this world—the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-27). We are to be doing the things that Jesus Christ would do if He were here physically on the earth. The church is to be Christian, Christ-like, and Christ-following. The church needs to equip believers with the tools they need to overcome sin and remain free from the pollution of the world; through biblical teaching and Christian fellowship.
The church should teach us to proclaim the gospel and provide the tools required to do so, then help send us out to follow the commission given to the church in proclaiming the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). The church is called to be faithful in sharing the gospel through word and deed. The church is to be a “lighthouse” in the community, pointing people toward our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The church is to both promote the gospel and prepare its members to proclaim the gospel (1 Peter 3:15).
Is your church teaching on all areas that pertain to Godly living, is it skipping over some subjects, watering down the word; so it does not offend? To keep from loosing people and making the outside world uncomfortable has the Church compromised. I would be interested in hearing your views.
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