The Right Church
What is the church? Is it a building, or is it more? Actually, it is more than a building. The church building houses the church. There are many different kinds of churches; some are weak, some are strong, and all are not Christian churches but churches of other religions (temples, mosques, etc.). But what is the right church? Churches differ, even among Christian churches, so what is the right church for the Christian? Let’s see what the Scriptures say.
13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.
The Christian church is about Jesus being the Son of the living God. If this is removed, it is no longer a church. The church is built on the principle that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (vss. 17 & 18).
The Characteristics of a Strong Church
Now that the foundation of the Christian church has been laid, the fact remains that some churches are stronger than others. So what makes a church strong?
Spirit-Filled Leadership – If a church does not have spiritual leadership, that is a weak church. Remember what Jesus said to His disciples. First, He gave them the Great Commission.
In Matt 28:18-20 He said,
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Therefore, they had the call to go forth and spread the gospel. Imagine spreading the gospel message to the whole world. Keep in mind that this was a time when there was no television, radio, smartphones, internet, etc. This Commission was a great undertaking which is why it is called the Great Commission. But, He is also quoted saying more in Acts 1:4-5:
4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
Jesus, in addition to giving the Commission, commanded them to stay in Jerusalem until they had received the Holy Spirit. Why? Because He knew that they could not carry out this Great Commission without the power of the Holy Spirit to dwell within them, empowering, enabling them, and giving direction and guidance to carry out what they were called to do.
Jesus told the disciples, in essence, that they were not ready without the Spirit dwelling within them.
The same is true today. No church staff can do God’s work unless they are filled with the Holy Spirit. This truth not only includes the Pastor but the staff as well. Therefore, for a church to be strong, the leadership of the staff must be filled with the Holy Spirit to have the direction, power, and energy to carry out the work that must be accomplished. The Spirit should also be in their lives, exhibiting evidence of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23).
Doctrinally sound messaging and teaching – Messaging (preaching) and teaching must meet the needs of the people. Therefore, it must be fastened, fixed firmly on the Word of God. This should be the basis for every individual to have a personal belief in the truth. All personal beliefs must be based on the Word of God they received from the church. We must know what we believe and why we believe it. This truth must also be passed on to children, the next generation (Deut. 4:40; 6:6-7).
Uncompromising in its convictions – a strong church contains leadership and body that have convictions that they do not lay aside but stand by them. A church with a pastor that compromises the Word of God and where the people compromise their convictions is a weak church. A strong church of God is built on a strong conviction—a “rock” that stands firm on the Word of the living God.
Strong emphasis on faith and prayer – A strong church emphasizes faith and prayer to its congregation. A life without prayer is a weak life. If one does not pray, it is unlikely that one will live a godly life. Therefore, a church must emphasize prayer. Without faith, we cannot please God, and prayer strengthens faith. The power of the Holy Spirit flows through individuals of prayer and faith.
Sanctified worship service – The worship service of a strong church should provide the atmosphere in which individuals experience God’s presence and leave renewed in their commitment to obey and serve Him. The church should be a spiritual hospital that renews and strengthens its congregants. There is strength in numbers.
Generosity and Faithfulness in giving – A strong church comprises individuals who are faithful and generous in their giving. People, who obey God, walk in His way, and follow Him will give because the Spirit of God motivates them to do so.
Strategically organized – A strong church is organized to reach its God-given goals. Jesus was organized, and the first church was organized. A strong church is organized in a way to efficiently use its resources (time, money, human resources) in a way that it functions in a way that benefits its members and community.
Encourages the utilization of Spiritual gifts – Spiritual gifts are bestowed upon all Christians by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:7).
Rom 12:5-8: reads:
5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
The passage informs us that “everyone” should work together under the command and authority of Christ, using their spiritual gifts to build up the church.
A very strong church is a church where individuals operate out of their gifts. People are the happiest and most efficient in the church when they use and bless others with their spiritual gifts.
United in spirit – A strong church consists of people who are united in Spirit. Jesus said in Mark 3:25, “And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”
The church holds no exception to Jesus’ statement. When a church is divided, it is severely weakened, incapable of effectively functioning as a body of Christ.
Scripture says in Eph. 4:3-6
3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
4 There is one body and one Spirit— just as you were called to one hope when you were called—
5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. NIV
Notice how many times “one” is mentioned in this passage. It is the will of Christ for His church to be in unity. It is the only way “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt 16:18).
Genuine love for one another – Loving one another is what Jesus embodied. The rock on which Jesus would build his church has been identified as Jesus himself. His work of salvation by dying for us on the cross was the greatest act of love. As a result, His church must exhibit love. Scripture says in Eph 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
NIV This is what we must do if we are going to be one with Christ and build His strong church.
A vision for a lost world – A church that does not have a vision for the world is not a strong church. Prov 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish…”
The church is to carry out the vision of Christ, the Commission, and spread the Word all over the world, reaching as many as possible with love and unity in the spirit of Christ.
Is your church weak or strong? It matters where you go to church. We must be aware.
Questions, comments, and concerns may be left below.