February 2, 2011

As you read the last two articles, they certainly should have seemed to be very personal in nature. That is, they did not seem to have anything to do with choosing a church. They were building a foundation. In order to chose a church, we must look at the Biblical standards upon which every church should be based. Some of those standards are corporate - they should apply to the entire church. However, some of the Biblical standards we should look for in a church are personal standards. The church which does not promote Biblical personal standards should be avoided.

Friendship of the World

A church will never rise above the leadership of the church. We have looked at the Biblical qualifications of the Pastor, now we will look at some practical standards the Pastor should have.

1 Tim 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless...

When we consider a Pastor, we should look for someone who is blameless. We could group all the measures of blamelessness into one category: he has control of his flesh or he is not worldly.

James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

We will see a preacher's hatred for the world in his preaching and in the direction his church is headed. If the church is growing as it should, there will be people in the congregation from all walks of life and from all stages of Christian growth. It would be normal or even expected to see a new or baby Christian sitting near a mature saint of God in the same congregation. This is evidence that the more mature Christians are winning souls to Christ. However, we cannot expect that baby Christian to have the same standards the mature saint has. God has not been working on the new Christian as long. So, we would be wrong to judge a congregation because we see a few people who still look worldly. Though we would be wrong to judge a church because we saw a few worldly people in the congregation, if we saw a worldly pastor or deacon, we would be absolutely right to leave that church and never return. As James 4:4 so clearly points out, to be a friend of the world is to also be an enemy of God.

1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Sadly, I know some preachers and pastors who love the things of the world. This could be things such as carnal television and movies, ungodly music, inappropriate dress or anything which divides the preacher from the preaching of the Word of God. Their preaching is changed by their love for the world. When sin is in their life, they are hindered. They cannot preach against sin! As they weaken their stand against sin, their church's stand against sin is weakened. Finally, the individuals in their flock are never taught of their sin and are allowed to wallow in their own personal sin.

This all describes the carnal church. The carnal church should be avoided. By contrast, the church you should attend is a church where the Pastor is preaching the whole council of God, is preaching a salvation message, is preaching an encouraging message and is preaching a message which is clearly against sin. Of course, if the Pastor is preaching against sin, it is very likely that he is clean from the sin he is preaching against. This Pastor is not perfect, but is is moving in the right direction. As he moves in the right direction, his flock will follow him. This is a sign of a church you should attend.