These days, the word church carries a lot of negative associations. Strict religious rules, hypocrisy, mercilessness, and fanaticism are but a few terms the world credits us with. But, this is a lie of the devil. Satan’s spent a lot of time giving us a bad reputation and to some extent, we’ve played right into it.
When the world thinks of the Church they imagine religious institutions filled with legalistic rules which must be followed in order to gain God’s approval. Believe it or not, there are actually churches out there that are guilty of that.
One problem is the existence of Carnal Christian. These people have accepted Christ as their savior but live as if they haven’t. The fact is the world is watching us. They want to see we are different in a good way. They’re looking for the real church.
The Real Church
This church is the body of Christ sometimes called the bride of Christ. That’s you and me. When we become part of the kingdom of God we are part of the citizenship of Heaven. The literal meaning in Greek is, “called out.”
The Greek term, “called out” was used to indicate an assembly of citizens. Upper-class people who knew full well they were privileged over noncitizens and slaves were called to the assembly by a herald.
When the early Christians began to understand themselves as being a church, they viewed themselves as called by God in Jesus for a special purpose which gave them special status as privileged ones in Him.
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, (Ephesians 2:19 NIV).
We still have the same status and privileges we had back then. The problem is most of us don’t know it. Some churches have become little more than social clubs and don’t do a whole lot as far as Christ’s directives are concerned. Keith Green called it being asleep in the light. Jesus called it being neither hot nor cold and He wasn’t impressed.
I know your deeds; you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were one or the other! So because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to vomit you out of My mouth! (Revelation 3:15 NIV)
Finding a good church and getting involved is so important to your walk with God. You need one that’s Spirit-filled and on fire for Jesus. When you connect with the right body of believers you’re going to find it much easier to grow in the Lord. Here you’ll make a connection with others who are also servants of God and want the same things you do. There is safety in numbers and this is a serious resource for any believer.
A Bible-believing church
There are many kinds of churches out there and not all are the same. The most important thing is that they preach, teach and live the Bible. Let’s face it if you’re going to be a servant of Jesus the Word of God is important. It’s fairly easy to find out what the beliefs of a church are. Most have a website where they have posted their core values. When you find one that seems to be a good one then you can give them a try.
Don’t Be Shy
Once in, get involved and ask any questions. Do they invite you into their studies? Do they use the same bible as you? If not consider whether or not you’re willing to change. Some may not feel it’s important but I think my Church should use the same bible as I do. At least it helps me.
The second most important thing is that your church is a good fit for you. Are they welcoming? Is the place where they meet close enough to where you live that you can be as involved as you want without it eating all your time and fuel just to get there? These things may seem trivial to you now but when the devil starts looking for reasons why you shouldn’t go to church this Sunday, and he will, minimizing what he has to work with is a very good thing. We’ll talk more about him later.
Is the average age level represented there close to yours? If you’re twenty years old and walk into a church with a sea of grey hair you may not be able to relate to them. Don’t get me wrong older Christians are a wealth of knowledge and wisdom, but let’s face it each generation relates to God in different ways. Not only that but being with people who are close to your age will open up a wealth of possibilities for relationships to form.
The Kingdom of God is About Relationships
One of the awesome mysteries about being in the family is that we are all one body but at the same time different people who must get along. So now that you’re a brother or sister to the children of Heaven get ready to deal with relationships. This is where God places most of his attention, on our training. How we deal with one another here and now relates to how we will live when we get home. God cares immensely about how we treat everyone, but especially brothers and sisters.
You’re not just looking for mentors in your church community. You’re also looking for friendship and comradery. You need some people close to your own age because more than likely they will relate to and worship Jesus in a way that will be appealing to you.
For example, some “old churches still prefer the piano and organ as the musical representation of worship, while the younger churches usually have worship teams which is a Christianese term for a band.
What to Look For
First off when you enter the door are you greeted at all? This is important because it’s your first measure of how “in the Spirit” they are. Remember how much they yield to the Spirit of God is so important. When the music starts are the people engaged in the worship or do they just stand there and sing the lyrics without any involvement. Dead worship is just that dead and can be as unsatisfying to us as it is to God.
When the congregation is engaged and giving their all to Jesus in an effort to express their love and the enjoyment of being his people it can literally cause a change in the atmosphere. This is living worship and it’s like sweet-smelling incense to the heart of our Father.
In a good church, a lot of the congregation when they see you in their midst will make an effort to introduce themselves and welcome you. If your first impression is good, the next step is to attend a few times and see if you begin to feel like it’s home.
If a church is right for you, you’ll know it within a few times there. You’ll start to connect with the congregation. The worship will seem amazing. They will invite you to study and learn more about Jesus and discipleship with them. Being willing to get involved is a real plus. Remember the more you hook up with them the more secure you will be when the enemy comes. And come he will.
One of the cool things about being closely involved with a body of believers that knows and loves you is that now you have people who can pray with you and for you. You have people who can hold you accountable if you let them. You have people to care about and love. You have a family. So what is a Church and why do you need one? It’s because your Father in Heaven loves family and has adopted you as part of his. He has many sons and daughters. No one is more important to him than any other but all are of the utmost importance.
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