Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Church is not a Church is not a Church

So many churches, so many denominations, so many beliefs. How is a person supposed to know which is the right church? How can you say your church is the right one? Is the right church one you are comfortable with? Is it the one into which you were born?

You need to know, not all churches are biblically legitimate churches. If you really wish to be a part of a scripturally sanctioned church, here is a checklist for you:

ü Does the church have the proper foundation?
o   Jesus said, “Upon this rock I will build my church…” The rock was not Peter, as many think, but the proclamation of Peter, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” The church is not built on some man, some self-appointed pastor, but on Christ alone.

ü Does the church have the appropriate authority?
o   When Jesus Commissioned His church, He proclaimed, “All power is given unto me, go ye therefore…”  The word power (Gk – exousia) means authority. To be sure, a person or a group cannot just free-lance a church. It must have the authority that was passed down through His Apostles.
o   A legitimate church must plant a church. No man can hang a church shingle above the door and proclaim himself a church. Churches are local assemblies, called out by Jesus as His bride, His body.
o   The Apostle Paul, that great pioneer church planter, led people to Christ throughout the Mediterranean region, birthed churches and ordained elders (pastors) by the authority of his church, Antioch. The Antiochan church was founded by the Jerusalem church. From those churches were birthed the churches in Africa, Asia and Europe, then America, then the world via missionaries.
o   Whether a New Testament church is a house church in India, a shade tree church in Kenya, an underground church in China or is housed in a brick and mortar building in Paducah, it must be sanctioned by another New Testament church.

ü Does the church have the right doctrine?
o   As the Apostle Paul planted those first mission churches, he instilled in them solid doctrine. He admonished his preacher boys to pay attention to doctrine.
o   Among the doctrinal issues to which we must pay strict attention:
§  The inspiration and preservation of the Scriptures
§  The Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Sovereign Creator, Redeemer and Judge.
§  The Deity of Christ, His virgin birth, virtuous life, vicarious death, glorious resurrection and imminent return.
§  The inherent sinfulness of man and salvation by grace alone through the atoning work of Christ on Calvary.
§   The local church, Christ’s bride and body, called out assemblies which meet together to glorify God, observe the ordinances and carry out the Great Commission.

ü Does the church have the true passion?
o   As already stated, the church exists to glorify Jesus, Who is preeminent as Head of His body and the Groom of His bride.
o   Furthermore, the church lives to observe the Scriptural ordinances Christ gave her: Baptism by immersion and the Lord’s Supper,
o   And to actively and passionately fulfill the Great Commission: Win souls to Jesus, baptize them and teach and train them to do the same.

This is the New Testament Local church. It may look different in various places. Its methods and practices might vary from one to the next, but every Scriptural church has these things in common: Proper foundation, authority, doctrine and passion.

If your church isn’t defined by these basic hallmarks, find one that does. Don’t let tradition, family ties, intimidation, comfort, convenience or habit hinder your being in the kind of church God sanctions and blesses.

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