one tiny soapbox: on finding a good church...
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Tuesday, October 23

on finding a good church...

Okay, so I haven't been doing a lot of original posting, lately. Oh well...I will sometime (dadgummit)!

But, in the mean-and-in-between, I have no problem sharing excerpts of some lucid Bible exposition. This one's on the matter of choosing a solid church. (There's been quite a profitable discussion on the subject - mostly back in August & September - over at the Pyromaniacs' blog. I urge you to check it out, though you'll have to do a bit of key-word searching to find all the related posts. Start with 'church', and work from there.)

It seems to me many people think they've got this area "covered," but, I'd invite us all to revisit the issue and examine it a bit more closely... do you pick a church? Look, you come from a church, we all come from some church, you go to a church. The rest of your life you’re going to be involved in a church. The church is going to be the center of your life. It’s going to be...some of you are actually going to get married and have children. You’re going to raise them in a church. The church scene is frankly frightening. In the tens of thousands of letters that we get at Grace To You every...well every week, thousands a day, I would say that the commonest complaint that we receive is from people who cannot find a church where they feel the truth of God is honored and ministry is done in a biblical way. This is no small frustration.

It’s not that there are many...there aren’t many churches, there are lots of churches. It’s trying to discern what is a good church, what is a right church. And I want to help you with that. I want to talk about what a church should be. Now when I talk about this, you know you’re getting down to the core of where I live because as a pastor I have a great love for the church. I’ve always loved the church. Even as a kid growing up I loved the church. And Jesus said, “I will build My church and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.” It’s the only institution Jesus ever promised to build, the only one that He is building. And so we have to be committed to the church. But obviously not all churches are committed to what they should be. So let me give you some principles, okay? What you want to look for in a church. Not just now but certainly now and for the rest of your life. These are not unrealistic expectations. These are not methods, nothing to do with that. These are not formats. These have nothing to do with style. I’ve been all over the world, I’ve been in church from the high mountains of the Andes in South America, to a church in China, to churches in the Middle East, to churches in Europe, to churches in South Africa. I’ve been all over the world. Everywhere I’ve gone I’ve been in churches and I’ve seen every imaginable kind of style of church. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about substance. Don’t look at style, it’s seductive. It’s, at best, style can only appeal to the flesh. Substance is what you’re after.

The first thing you look for in a church is a high view of God....a high view of God. And this one could spend his entire life discussing...a high view of God. Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Everything starts with fearing God. That’s the beginning of everything. And that’s...that’s crystal clear in Scripture. The holiness of God is the first and central element in the church. The glory of God, the exaltation of God.
(Click here for the entire sermon.)
~ ~ ~
ibcarlos, Reformed thinker

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