Choosing A Church

Choosing A Church
Randall Caselman
3/12/97

Choosing A Church

Which church is right for me and my family? Should we be influenced by such things as size, facilities, location, program or prestige? Should we be swayed by the ministerís personality, education, age, abilities or popularity? What are some foundational considerations that need to be addressed in our choosing a church?
Does the church believe the Bible? Do they accept the Bible as the infallible, divinely inspired word of God? I am shocked and amazed at the inroads liberalism has made against the concept of inspiration. In many churches today the creation narrative is considered a myth. Bible miracles are explained away. The virgin birth is rejected. Jesus is considered only as a good man.
Liberalism contends that the Bible contains Godís word, but it is not all Godís word, and is not divinely inspired. This allows each of us to choose what we believe to be truth, rather than submitting to the whole of scripture.
Paul wrote, All scripture is inspired of God and is profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. A church needs to teach all the Bible that we may be the people and person that He would have us be.
Does the church believe Jesus is the Son of God? Sinclair Patterson writes, If you removed Christ from Christianity, what would you have? One can take Buddha from Buddhism, Mohammed from Mohammadanism and the entire doctrine of these religions would still be left intact, but take away Christ from Christianity, and you have nothing: no Savior, no sacrifice, no atonement, no redemption, no forgiveness, and no salvation.
Jesus was not just another good man; He was God is the flesh. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God... And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory as the only begotten Son of the Father, full of grace and truth. Paul writes, He (Christ) is before all things, and by Him all things are held together. In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
No church has the right to reduce Christ to the category of a mere human teacher and religious leader.
Does Jesus live in this church? Many today want to say Yes to Jesus, but No to the local church. Jesus and the church are not identical, but they are inseparable. He is head of the church, His Body, of which He is the Savior.
Note the following: The body visibly represents the invisible person. The real person lives in the body. Christ lives in His church IF it is His body, His church. Jesus is the invisible person of the visible church. The power of the human body is found in the spirit. The church of Christ is the church empowered by the spirit of Christ. The priority of the human body is to serve the person who inhabits that body. The priority of the church must be to serve Jesus and accomplish what He wants. Indeed, the church is the second incarnation. Paul said, I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. To the Colossians he wrote, Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Let me encourage you to choose a church in which Jesus lives, one that has His spirit, His power, His priority and His hope.
Is the church a fellowship of born again believers? The true church is composed of those who have experienced a heartfelt, life-transforming change. Christianity consists of more than mere intellectual assent to the gospel message. Jesus told Nicodemus he must be born again of water and spirit. The old man must be crucified, a new life must begin. Peterís response in Acts two was, Repent and be baptized. Peter is saying, change and be born again of water and spirit. Paul wrote, We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.
Find a church in which there is fellowship, togetherness, one- anotherness, where you are part of a family that has been born again, changed into the image of Christ.
Is the church sensitive to the needs of others? Max DePree, in his book, Leadership Is An Art, says, Every organization has two kinds of leaders, hierarchical leaders and roving leaders. Max goes on to point out that roving leaders are those indispensable people who are always there when we need them. They are those whose method of taking charge is not to take over, but to take care of others. They are great in the Kingdom, because they become the servant of all. They become like Jesus, not to be served, but to serve.
The challenge is to find a church family filled with servant leaders, not bureaucrats.
Does the church believe in prayer? The power of the church is found in the fact that God continues to work in the lives of His people. Godís power is often released by prayer. When Jesus came to Nazareth, He didnít perform any major miracles even though He did heal a few sick. Note that Jesus marveled because of their unbelief. This suggests that they didnít bring their needy ones to Jesus for healing.
It is clear in scripture that, in many cases, the prayer of faith is necessary for God to act, such faith was lacking in Nazareth. Peter walked on water because He asked in faith. Jesus encouraged, Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. James tells us, the prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective, but we must ask in faith without doubting.
The search for a church that will bring us closer to God and closer to become the people and person He calls us to be is not an easy task, but it is of utmost importance to us and our family. Take time to examine their beliefs and personality.
We're part of the family that's been born again;
Part of a family whose love knows no end;
For Jesus has saved us and made us His own,
Now we're part of the family that's on its way home
May God bless your efforts to find the right church family.


óRANDALL CASELMAN




Written By

Bella Vista Church of Christ

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