We are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, . . . 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.
Let me share two timeless truths from Luke’s description of the early church in Acts 2. First of all, we should view the church as God’s creation, not our organization. The local church was God’s idea. He created the church to fulfill His purpose, but He also created the church to provide challenge, encouragement, and correction in your spiritual life.
Second, we should choose a church based on God’s principles, not our preferences. The ingredients of a winning church in Acts 2–worship, instruction, nourishment, and sharing–form a checklist for the kind of church we ought to look for:
- Does the music, regardless of the style, direct your attention toward God?
- Is the Bible the foundation of all the teaching?
- Does the church care for the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of all its members? Are there small group opportunities to enhance your fellowship with other believers?
- Is there an active evangelism program that takes the gospel outside the church?
That is how to choose a church based on God’s principles, not on our preferences.
In 2002, a group of Pennsylvania coal miners were trapped for three days in a water-filled mine. The miners decided early on they were going to live or die as a group. When one man grew cold or weak, the others supported him. Harry B. Mayhugh, one of the miners, later said, “Everybody had strong moments. But any certain time maybe one guy got down and then the rest pulled together, and then that guy would get back up and maybe somebody else would feel a little weaker, but it was a team effort. That’s the only way it could have been.”
What a great picture of what God meant for the church to be: everybody lifting up one person who is fallen so they can renew their strength and encourage the next person. To paraphrase John Donne, no Christian is an island unto himself. We are like porcupines that huddle together to keep warm–they need each other even though they needle each other. As Christians, we need one another even though we occasionally needle one another. Yes, the church is filled with sinful people. But the church is not some necessary evil–it is God’s provision for worship, instruction, and nourishment so you can experience the incredible power of the Holy Spirit.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “A Winning Church” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.
“Rescued Miner: ‘It Was a Team Effort,’” CNN, July 28, 2002, https://www.cnn.com/2002/US/07/28/mine.mayhugh.cnna/index.html.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.