The following article was take from “The Bible View”, a weekly newsletter distributed by www.OpenThineMineEyes.com. The article asks “how can one tell if one is in a good, Biblical church?” and presents several points to use in answering the question. Readers from GLBBC will rightly be well pleased with how well the church matches up with the author’s criteria. This blogger prays that GLBBC is diligent in maintaining these criteria. Note: The point dealing with music is exactly what brother Jim Donath preached about here at Gospel Light this past Sunday evening!
How to Identify a Good Church
By Bill Brinkworth
With all the buildings that call themselves a “church,” how can one tell if one is in a good, Biblical church? One should always pray, search the scriptures (II Timothy 2:15), and seek God’s will as to where they should attend. Here is a brief checklist that will help you avoid unbiblical churches quickly, and find one that is more in line with what the Bible teaches a good church should be:
►Is the main ministry of the church preaching that trusting in Christ’s finished work for salvation is the only way to heaven? If the church adds anything to salvation, (like good works, sacraments, or baptism) to keep one’s salvation, then it is not preaching Biblical salvation, and should not be a church that one who wants to hear the whole teaching of the Word of God should attend.
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”Ephesians 2:8-9
►Is there an invitation to be saved at most services? One of the main purposes of a church is to point unsaved people to a saving knowledge of what God says is the only way to heaven.
“And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” Acts 5:42
“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” Proverb 11:30
►Is there proof that the church has a burden that all hear the Word of God? Are there ministries providing people the opportunity? Is there a bus, deaf, blind, youth, singles, Spanish, or similar ministry to reach others? If they have assorted ministries, it shows that someone cares enough for the souls of others to spend their time and money to reach them. Again, that is one of the most important reasons for having a church — to reach the unsaved.
“And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them:” Matthew 15:30
►Are the preacher’s lessons and sermons quoted from the King James Bible? If not, it indicates that the preacher is not really sure which Bible God promised (Isaiah 40:8) to preserve. He may be using a modern, altered bible that has words missing, doctrine changed, or has words added to it. How can one grow in the truth from the Word of God, if he is not reading it or taught its truths? If the preacher is not even preaching from a Bible and is more interested in preaching his opinion or what is socially or politically correct, he is not doing what God requires a preacher to do. A church should always teach what is in the Bible.
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Col. 2:8
►Is the preacher a man? If not, then the woman in the pulpit is violating what the scriptures say about women not taking the leadership of a local church.
“A bishop then must be blame less, the husband of one wife (that means he is a man), vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;” I Tim. 3:2, Titus 1:6
“Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.” I Corinthians 14:34
►Is the music glorifying God or appealing to the flesh? If you find yourself or others bebopping to the music’s beat, or find most of the audience gyrating or swaying to the music’s rhythm, then the music is not glorifying God; but is glorifying the feelings and emotions of the flesh. If you listen to the whole song and are not sure if they are singing about their girlfriend or God, it is not glorifying God. Music’s main purpose is to bring honor and glory to God alone. It is the world’s music that stimulates the flesh and has no business in the house of God. We are on the winning side, why would we want the losing side’s music there in God’s house?
“Sing praises to the LORD, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings.” Psalm 9:11
“I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.” Psalm 35:18
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or what so ever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” I Corinthians 10:31
►When the preacher is finished preaching, did the message edify you? Did the message glorify God? Were you encouraged to serve God better? Were you convicted about your sin or lack of not doing more to serve God? If not, it could be God is not doing anything in your life. Either you need to be saved, get things right between you and the Lord, or you may not be where God wants you to be.
“Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” Mark 1:14-15
►Is there a place for you to serve God in the ministry? We are saved to serve, not just to sit and soak up the Word of God. If there are no ministries, and you cannot start one there, you should seek God’s will in a church where you can serve Him.
“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one an other.” Galatians 5:13
“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” II Timothy 2:24-26
Finding the right church is a very important decision. It is in a good church that many have gotten saved, and it is in a good church that people grow spiritually and go on to serve God. Unbiblical churches have done much damage to Christians and the cause of Christ. It is in some of those churches, that although faithful in attendance, many still die without ever hearing the saving message that can get them to heaven; or if they are saved, never grow to live the Christian life or serve God the way He desires. Are you faithfully attending a good church?