How Do I Know What Church to Join? (Episode 2)

How Do I Know What Church to Join? (Episode 2)

 
 
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Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

The question we’ll be considering in this episode was submitted via the podcast question submission form:

How do I know what church to join?

There are many different churches around us. How can we know which one we should be a part of? In this episode, we’ll examine what the Scriptures teach about the church and how we can determine what church we ought to “join” today.

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The Church as a Self-Edifying Body

Legos

When we read through the New Testament, we find the church being described in several different ways. In the passage below, the church is depicted as a self-edifying body.

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:11-16).

In these verses, Paul indicated that when the church functions according to God’s design, it causes itself to grow and be built up. What does this mean? How did God design the church to do this? How are we to act in order to help accomplish this?

Let us consider these questions as we learn how the church is a self-edifying body.Continue Reading

Walter Scott: “A Church That Is All Mouth”

Walter Scott: "A Church That Is All Mouth"

George Darsie (1846-1904) from Frankfort, Kentucky wrote a sermon entitled, To Every Man His Work, which was published in a book edited by J. A. Lord – On the Lord’s Day: A Manual for the Regular Observances of the New Testament Ordinances. In the sermon, Darsie illustrated the importance of Christians fulfilling various roles in the work of the church by telling of a visit by Walter Scott (1796-1861) to the Brush Run Church.

“Walter Scott, an associate of Alexander Campbell in the early days of our religious movement, one time went from his home in Pittsburg over to Washington County to visit and spend a Sunday with Campbell at the Brush Run Church. He found the church service quite lengthy, as every male member of the church was called on for a religious address. After long hours had passed and all had spoken, Scott was asked to make the closing address. He did so. But whether he was hungry for his dinner or worn out by the length of the service, his remarks, though quite pointed, were rather testy.

“‘Brethren,’ he said, ‘my Bible tells me that the church is like a human body, of which one member is a foot, another a hand, another an eye, and still another a mouth. That, in fact, it has, or should have, as great variety in its membership as the human body has. But I regret to see that you have reversed all this. You have here a church with but a single member. You have, in fact, a church that is all mouth!’” (On the Lord’s Day, p. 95)

Continue Reading

Regular Christians: Conclusion

Regular Christians

Throughout the Bible, warnings are given about pride. We are not to think too highly of ourselves (Romans 12:3). Instead, we are to learn to be humble. Referring to the words of the psalmist, James wrote, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6; cf. Psalm 138:6).

Yet in combatting pride, we can easily fall into the trap of self-deprecation. This is not real humility; instead, this means we are overly critical of ourselves and see ourselves as being an unimportant part of the Lord’s church.

However, when Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, he made it clear that each individual member was an important part of the body.Continue Reading

The Trend of Churches Offering Multiple Services, Sites, and Venues

Map of City

Churches built by men are constantly changing. What a particular church or denomination believes and practices today may not be what they believe and practice by the time the next generation comes along. The reason why these churches change is because they are trying to expand their reach and attract more people. As society changes, these churches must adapt. Too often, these changes are not in harmony with the teachings of Scripture.

Sometimes changes occur among a small minority of churches/denominations. Other times, there are trends that affect a large number of churches regardless of denominational affiliation. One of these trends that I have been hearing about more in the last few years has to do with churches offering multiple services, sites, and venues.

Thom Rainer, former CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, in a blog post titled, Nine Rapid Changes in Church Worship Services (published May 7, 2014), wrote the following:

“‘Multi’ is normative. Most congregants twenty years ago attended a Sunday morning worship service where no other Sunday morning alternatives were available. Today, most congregants attend a service that is part of numerous alternatives: multi-services; multi-campuses; multi-sites; and multi-venues.”

In a more recent post in which he projected what “healthy churches” would look like in ten years, he wrote, “The majority of healthy churches will be multi-site, multi-venue, or multi-day.” He went on to say, “As long as we don’t compromise biblical truths, we need to reach people where they are.”

However, is it true that a church can adopt a multi-service, multi-site, multi-venue model without compromising biblical truth?Continue Reading

The Sect That Is Spoken Against Everywhere

Paul in Rome

When Paul came to Rome as a prisoner, he was permitted to meet with the Jewish leaders in that city. The apostle used this opportunity to explain why he was there – not as an enemy of the Jewish people but that he was suffering “for the sake of the hope of Israel” (Acts 28:17-20). The Jewish leaders had not heard about Paul, but they had heard about the church.

They said to him, ‘We have neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren come here and reported or spoken anything bad about you. But we desire to hear from you what your views are; for concerning this sect, it is known to us that it is spoken against everywhere” (Acts 28:21-22).

The church was this “sect…spoken against everywhere.” Why was this the case?

When we study the book of Acts, we find several reasons why the church was “spoken against everywhere.” As we follow the same pattern that they followed, this will often happen to us as well. We will be “spoken against” by others. It is not that we should seek out trouble or conflict. Paul told the Romans, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men” (Romans 12:18). However, we do need to be prepared for this reality.Continue Reading

Identifying the Lord’s Church: Conclusion

Identifying the Lord's Church

Many people make the mistake of equating the church with a physical building. Yet as we have gone through this study, we have seen nothing in the New Testament that would indicate that the church is some type of physical structure. However, the New Testament does use a building analogy to describe the church:

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:19-22).

You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).

The Lord’s church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets (their teaching contained in Scripture) with Jesus as the cornerstone (everything is built and based upon Him). Christians – individually – are the stones that make up this spiritual house.Continue Reading