In the late 1980’s a series of books containing the theme, “Where’s Waldo?” came to America. Originating in Britain, these books contained illustrations of many characters all participating in a variety of activities. The goal of the reader is to seek out Waldo, in the midst of the crowd. For more about the book series take a look at these sites:
Just as children throughout the world looked for Waldo in the pages of his books, how many of us are looking for a church that we can confidently attend? How many of us are frustrated, not being able to find a church that aids our spiritual growth? Many times, the reason why we can’t find a spiritually edifying church is because we do not understand what we should be looking for in a church.
The Word of God is not silent about this matter….
24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Here is list of the characteristics of a church (local assembly of believers) that we can attend with which the Lord is pleased…
Uses Scriptures only as foundation of beliefs and teachings (1 Tim 3:15 )
The Lord’s churches are described as being the “pillar and ground” of the truth. In other words, one of the greatest roles the church has is to firmly hold up the truth of His Word. This refers to both the declaration of His Word from the pulpit as well as declaring His Word through the practices of the church.
Seeks to glorify the Lord in all of it’s ministries by putting His desires first. (Eph 3:21)
The Lord Jehovah is to be glorified in all things (every ministry/activities) of the Lord’s churches. Every endeavor that is undertaken by the church is to be done with His authority, His direction and His glory as the end motive.
Clearly teaches salvation by grace through faith …man’s inability to save himself from his sinful condition (Eph 2:8-9)
The Word of God is clear, salvation is entirely of God’s grace, even the faith we exercise at our salvation is a gift that is given to us through His intervention in our lives. Understanding these truths results in God being exalted to His deserved level, while properly humbling man and showing his true impotence in the salvation experience. Any other message of salvation leads to a man trusting in not only Christ’s work, but his own actions, and righteousnesses, for the forgiveness of his sins.
Observes ordinances of Lord’s Supper and Baptism as declarations and memorials to work of Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 11:23-29, Matt 28:16-20)
The Lord’s church has been given two, and only two ordinances to observe, baptism and the Lord’s supper. Both of which are observed as a form of remembrance and declaration. Baptism, declares an individual’s salvation and is a remembrance of the Lord’s death, burial and resurrection. The Lord’s Supper is a declaration of a church’s existence and the unity of its members, as well as a remembrance of His suffering and death on the cross.
Teach practical and doctrinal truth during it’s services to encourage spiritual growth of members (Eph 4:11-13, Acts 20:27-29)
The Lord placed those who teach and lead within the church so that the members may become perfect (spiritually mature), edified (built up, strengthened), they are to do this by teaching the “all the counsel of God”… a churches goal should be to gradually build up and mature it’s members so that, eventually, the entire Word of God can be declared with no fear of misunderstanding on the part of it’s members.
Promotes a lifestyle of service and worship of Christ through the leadership of the Spirit (Rom 12:1-2, Rom 8:1-9)
The church is to lead and teach God’s people so that they will become living sacrifices, bringing praise to their Lrod in every aspect of their life. This is done through an exercise of the fruits of the Spirit, as they follow God’s Word through leadership of the Holy Spirit.
Emphasizes the need for prayer and independent Bible study (Roms 17:10-13)
One of the greatest needs within a local assembly is a clear acknowledgement of each man’s responsibility to learn, understand, and live according to God’s Word. This can only be accomplished through each member developing an intimate knowledge of His Word.
Has evangelistic outreach/missionary ministries to local area and throughout the world (Acts 1:7-8, Matthew 28:16-20)
The Lord, in giving His assemblies a mission, made it plain that the gospel was to be declared to the entire world…locally, nationally and internationally. The mission of the church, described as “the Great Commission”, includes proclaiming the gospel to the lost, baptizing those who are saved (to publically declare the salvation they have already received) and teaching those who have been saved and baptized.
Meets the physical needs of the community in which they reside (Matt 14:13-21)
The first and primary mission of the church is fulfilling the Great Commission. However, in the course of ministering, meeting the physical needs of others opens many doors and creates receptive hearts in the community. This, in turn, aids the proclamation of the truth to them… meeting the physical needs of the community not only yields physical benefits but spiritual benefits as well.
The members lives are living testimony to the righteousness, love, peace and joy given by the Lord Jesus Christ. Roms 13:11-14, Gals 5:22-25
A church that is fulfilling the mission the Lord has given to them, will have a membership that will be growing in grace, knowledge and spiritual fruit bearing. As a general rule, if the members of a church are not growing spiritually, there is a problem in the churches ministry to them.
Hebrews 10:24-25 …. “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
Church attendance is a necessity for the Christian’s seeing to grow in the Lord and in His service… if you are one of the many Christians who are seeking a church home, my prayers are with you.
If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.
Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace
May the Lord bless your study of His Word. Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”