When did "going to church" become a condition of salvation?
At what point did the gospel become ;"lift your hand and pray this prayer and find a church?"
I got saved out of church ;I spent the first year of my Christian walk out of church and they were some of the greatest times in my life.
Eventually I found an assembly, got involved ,went into "ministry" and became thoroughly "churched".
Well I am a Churchless Christian again.And I've seen too many Christless Churches.Not all of them ,of course .I know some wonderful saints and some of them are Pastors.
I've met many believers over the years who are committed to living out Christ in them.And many of these are pillars in the church. But increasingly many are not churched,are not connected to a local assembly and many are searching for a group and shepherds after His own heart.
So now I am seeking a church ;a body of believers to worship with ,to pray with and to learn with.
What am I looking for in a church.
#1 Saved leadership.
Now that might sound obvious but far too often it seems the "big" names in the professing church seem to have little in the way of a true heart for God and His word.And when a leader extols the virtues of Brian Maclaren or Joel Osteen or Rob Bell, I really have to question if they have the Holy Spirit.Now I'm not so concerned with the name over their door but more with the Name over their hearts.If they have no passion for Christ ,no zeal to reach the lost and no stomach for the truth,what does that say about their walk with God?
#2 Perfect Imperfection
Some say you will never find a perfect church.True ;but what about a perfectly imperfect church?What does that mean?
Well I think a church where the Holy Spirit is at work will have people at all different stages in their faith-walk. There will be those who've been faithfully following Jesus for 50 yrs or so ,who've stood the test of time, fought their battles, suffered for their failings, rejoiced in their victories and proven God faithful in the long haul.God bless those ones .
There will also be the brand spanking new converts ,questioning every thing in their passion to know;full of zeal and wrong turns, annoying and delighting with their fresh revelation of Jn 3:16.
And in between saints from all walks ,all backgrounds, all different experiences,growing,falling getting back up, Perfect imperfection.
#3 Priority of Prayer
Jesus said His house is to be a house of prayer.
I suspect He is not referring to the professional pray-er bracketing his weekly sermon in a brief call on God to bless His word ;but to the house being filled with the agonized ,joyful,worshipping,desperate cries of a people who know that they know without Him we can do nothing.Prayer,I believe is not to relegated to the prayer meeting but a major part of the gathering of the saints is to the ministry of prayer. Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the Apostles teaching. to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to PRAYER.I think it was Ravenhill who wrote the "church began in the upper room agonizing and finished in the supper room organising."Maybe we need more agonizing and less organising
#4 The Word
It goes without saying (or does it?) that a church which has no respect for the authority of God's written word ,has no right to call itself a church.And not just a formal creedal statement about His living word but a practical experiential devotion to the eternal scriptures .The church I want to attend will preach the word ,in season and out.It will study ,meditate on wrestle with in faithful fervour and believe and act on God's revealed revelation of Himself . They won't have everything right but they will be open ,humble ,learning and growing in their understanding of God's principles,Person and priorities.
Well that's my thoughts for what it's worth.Shouldn't be too much to ask I think.Pray for Cath and I that we can find such a group and if you are in the Wollongong area and know an assembly in the area that fits the bill,leave a comment