One of the things that have been of great interest to me, and probably part of my calling, is false teachers and heretical churches. I haven’t written a ton about this subject because I get so much flack for it. Let’s face it – people typically love their churches, and they don’t want to be told that it’s possible they are being deceived in any way. That’s pride speaking. How is it possible we are being deceived because we’re all so smart and wise, right? Yep, I was that way once. Then the Lord opened my eyes and humbled me.
Our nation used to be full of Biblical churches….those modeled based on the New Testament. But something has happened to our churches. And currently – to find a Biblical based New Testament church in this nation is more than a struggle as the big mega churches in the new Apostolic Reformation movement have taken over and made church a big business. I’m here to expose what the Bible says is the model for a church, and hopefully through this, we can open the eyes of many about their own church. Through opened eyes, we can rebuild this model of a church and remove the destruction that has taken place.
Here are the 7 characteristics of a Biblical New Testament church:
1. The church is EQUIPPING THE SAINTS FOR THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY.
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
We see this example through Paul’s many travels as he went back and forth correcting and rebuking the false teachings, ensuring the church stayed pure. If the church didn’t stay pure, neither did the gospel being taught.
Too often today we see churches welcoming one and all to their services. The church was not meant for goats (non-believers) and sheep (followers of Christ).
13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:
“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!”
16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
The church was strictly meant for strengthening the sheep to GO OUT into the world and preach the gospel, not bring the world into the church. How many times does the Bible warn us not to love the things of this world? The reason is because Satan is the prince of this world until Jesus returns. If we bring the world into the church, we defile it’s holiness and message.
Today we see so many churches teaching the prosperity gospel, motivational speaking, offering self help services, bringing secular music in, comedians, selling books, dvd’s, and basically tickling those itching ears. These are not churches based on love. These are churches focused on money, not saving souls. These are the churches that appeal to the felt needs of many. These are the churches that don’t offer expository teaching.
Sadly, the churches that adhere to the word of God have either disappeared, or are severely dwindling in attendees. What does that say about the faith in this nation? That we are a nation of self soothers and we truly don’t need God to help us? Let’s move on…
2. A biblical church has GODLY LEADERSHIP that feeds and protects the flock while exercising discernment and CHURCH DISCIPLINE.
Church discipline involves things that aren’t always comfortable to us or others. I remember a story regarding a big local mega church where a man went to the pastor and asked if it was OK to go back to his first wife since his current wife and he weren’t getting along and the marriage was falling apart. The pastor of that church indeed gave him simple and sound advice – that he needed to stay in his current marriage and work through the problems. The issue was though that that’s where it stopped. That pastor did not seek to counsel the man and his wife, he did not point out that the man seeking to step out of his current marriage was in sin. A good elder of a church and a sound church should point out when repentance is needed of someone. A good elder should be seeking to STRENGTHEN his sheep, not let them continue in their folly through neglect. THIS IS DISCIPLINE.
Good teachers and elders are to expose sin. Paul publicly called out false teachers by name to expose them, just as we ALL are called to do. We do this in love, to save the lost, not to harm them. If we don’t correct them, isn’t their blood on our hands as well? The church NEEDS GODLY DISCIPLINE.
15 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ 17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.
18 “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
3. FERVENTLY TEACHES THE WHOLE WORD OF GOD, IN SEASON AND OUT OF SEASON. This means the biblical church must teach all things, whether or not it’s popular at the time, or if it’s inconvenient, or even if it might cost the church something.
Many churches today are openly accepting homosexuality and not condemning it through the teachings of the Bible. Churches today are mostly Politically Correct – they don’t preach about sin, hell, end times prophecy, etc. They keep their teachings “nice” and a type of “feel good about me” scenario. These churches are afraid of persecution and losing member numbers. And again, to them, it’s mostly about the almighty dollar. Come one – come all! Then spend your money here and support us…..
A good biblical church isn’t like this. They teach the gospel, no matter how it hurts them, no matter what they may face in truth. I am my own little church in that way as I’m sure if you’re still reading this – you are too. We don’t fear the repercussions of spreading the TRUTH. We have become warriors in the battle for truth and we need more churches like this.
4. PRAYS FOR GOD TO BUILD THE CHURCH. Today’s “Church Growth Model” that is being used by many and involves tons of marketing through flashy flyers, community organizing, promotion through public events, concerts and more. These churches are “friends of the world” which we’ve already discussed. Yeah, it might seem cool, or modern, or whatever – but it’s NOT biblical. It’s BUSINESS.
Relying on God (INSTEAD of ourselves) to build a church is one of the most important keys to a Biblical church. As we know, through our faith in Him, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.
5. LOVES THE LORD GOD AND NOT THE WORLD. We’ve pretty much covered this but let me add this verse:
1 John 2:15
Do Not Love the World
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
6. NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL. This goes along with #3 above. A good biblical church model will NOT make their “sermons” contextual, so it’s more pleasing to the itching ears.
The Just Live by Faith
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
2 Timothy 4:1-4
Preach the Word
4 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
We need to be wonderful examples of our faith through good reputation. A good church walks the walk, not only talks the talk.
7. HAS TO BE WILLING TO SUFFER. Strong biblical churches are NOT thriving today, but we must remember that numbers don’t gauge success.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to find NT churches today. I would like to offer the suggestion that if you cannot find a NT church locally, that you and some others strong in the faith may want to consider starting your own. This is not hard to do. Start bringing people together, have a strong God-fearing and trusting teacher, and ask the Lord to bless your church.
Another suggestion I have is if you feel you are attending a non-biblical church, it might be time to leave. And again, seek to build your own if you cannot find one locally.
May the Lord bless you all today as you seek His guidance and strength.
Lord I ask if there’s anyone out there right now struggling to break from their church as they just haven’t felt quite right about it, help them. Give them the path to success through You and Your Word. Help them to become strong and vigilant, and bless their endeavors. Your will be done Lord. In Your glorious Name we pray – AMEN!
We as the true church are facing HUGE challenges today. Do not fear those challenges. Be strong and courageous in the Lord. Be a strength to others, equip them to share truth and ONLY God’s truth, not the world’s. We are all called to this commission and we must not fail. I pray this blog reaches many and touches many hearts.
Peace to you all – today and everyday!