The name on the building changed this week from Calvary Bible Church to Paradox Church. It’s more than a name change, the website says the congregation exists for “community, neighborhood, simplicity.” Gone is the work of Christ and the Word of God; the new congregation is about YOU.
What makes a good church? By today’s standard the answer is in what titillates and satisfies you, but here at Where Living Begins, we find our faith and practice in the Word of God.
Let us suggest 6 major characteristics of a good local church.
First, its purpose is the glory of Christ, not the benefit or satisfaction of its members (Ephesians 3:21). The church belongs to Jesus and is about Him. Is He exalted and His death, burial, and resurrection emphasized – not just one Sunday a year but in every service? Instead of Christ, is the Christian, works, or the Holy Spirit the focus? Is salvation through faith alone in Jesus alone preached in every sermon?
Second, the Bible is God’s perfect and all-sufficient means of growing His people (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Is the Bible the only accepted source of truth, rule of faith, and standard of Christian living? Is the preaching of the Bible the major ministry? Is the Bible preached as God gave it; word for word, sentence by sentence?
Third, the pastor is concerned with equipping the saints to do the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-16). Does every member have an opportunity to exercise his spiritual gift or is the pastor and staff expected to do the work of ministry? Is the pastor actively working himself out of a job?
Fourth, it’s a gathering where God’s people worship Him through the teaching of doctrine, prayer, the Lord’s Supper, and spiritual one-anothering (Acts 2:42). Is the church seeking to be attractive and inviting to the unsaved? or does it gather for believers to worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24)?
Fifth, evangelism of the unsaved is a primary and individual function (Matthew 28:19-20). Is the congregation committed in prayer and finances to preaching the gospel at home and in foreign lands? Are individual believers regularly encouraged to share their faith with the unsaved?
Sixth, godly love is evidenced by obedience to Christ’s commands (John 13:34-35; 14:15). Does a love for God come first in the heart of the pastor and the people or are they occupied with each other?
No local assembly is perfect, but if you happen upon the perfect church, don’t stay or you’ll surely ruin it. Read through Revelation 2 and 3 to see what Jesus looks for and rejects in a local congregation. He’s not interested in size, the number of activities or ministries, the style of music, the pastor’s hip attire, the building atmosphere, or the kind of coffee served.