PICKING A CHURCH
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Picking a good church in this lukewarm, Laodicean church age is very difficult.
Regarding this present time, Jesus tells of religious deception in Mt 24:4,
Mk 13, and Lk 21. He tells of this being a time when the saints are in a state
of slumber and sleep-ref Mt 25:4. Jesus shows us clearly that this period of
time is one in which the church believes it is in great condition, but does
not know it is wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked-ref Rev 3:17. It
is a lukewarm church age that will be spit out-ref Rev 3:16. With religious
deception and unbiblical doctrines running rampant and very few recognizing
it, finding a good church can be difficult. There are very few around.
Throughout the world, most Christian churches have mixed doctrines of men, doctrines of their denomination, doctrines of other religions, doctrines of tribes, doctrines of their culture, doctrines to please people, or doctrines of other things along with Christianity.
Many people throughout the world that profess to be a Christian are illiterate. Thus, they can be easily led astray by ministers that say, God says this or that.
In other cases, many that profess to be a Christian and are able to read may only read a few Bible chapters per week. Their knowledge of God’s Word is very limited.
It is the same with ministers. Most only read and study a few chapters per week, some even less. In some cases, ministers may not even possess a Bible, nor the people in their congregations.
In addition, new doctrines are springing up in many churches and denominations that would shock the apostles.
Biblical repentance is no longer understood by most. Such subjects as denying oneself is laughed at. Subjects such as sacrifice and suffering are things that have disappeared from the teachings in many churches.
In addition, this is the age of the lukewarm Christian church that will be spit out at the judgment.
A very well-known evangelist has indicated that in many communities in the United States, there is no longer a good, Bible teaching and believing church to be found.
The problem may start with lukewarm Bible colleges, and then filters down into lukewarm churches that want to please men more than they want to please God. The problem continues with missionaries that go overseas. Often (but not always), they are from lukewarm churches and take with them lukewarm teaching and unbiblical doctrines and fads, and spread these teachings overseas. In addition, they often do not understand or investigate the sinful tribal or cultural traditions that have crept into and polluted the Christian churches in many countries. Often if they do understand, they will not take a stand against those things that are wrong for fear of offending someone, such as their host or someone in authority.
This is not to say that every Bible school, or church, or preacher or missionary is this way. There are a "few" that are zealous for Jesus according to knowledge, but the number is very small and getting even smaller as we approach the time for the Rapture. When the Rapture comes, the lukewarm, compromising Christians will be left.
Thus, the topic of picking a good church is a very difficult and complex one. The reason this is such a touchy subject is that many churches these days have unsaved preachers, priests, and rabbi. In many other cases, the preacher may be saved, but may be teaching some of the numerous new deceptions that have come forth in this Laodicean age.
SOME GUIDELINES FOR PICKING A GOOD CHURCH
Please do not take offense. How can you know which is which? The answer always
lies in the Bible. You need to study your Bible carefully, and if your church
does not teach as the Bible does, run from that church and find one that does.
You might ask, "Could you give me some guidelines?" Here are a few.
Look for altar calls in the church. Look for your preacher to encourage those who have not received Christ to come forward at the end of the service and to repent of their sins, and to say a sinner’s prayer.
Another guideline is to make sure the church is not a member of the National Council of Churches (NCC) or the World Council of Churches. If it is, run from it.
Another guideline is, does your church do baptism as the Bible commands? Do they baptize people by full immersion (into the water), AFTER a person believes in Jesus and has repented of their sins? The Bible is unmistakably clear that we are to be "buried with Jesus," buried in the water. If your church does not teach this way, run from that church. If they do infant or sprinkling baptism, leave.
If the church does not baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, run from that church. Do not argue with them. Just get away fast, lest you also become deceived.
Does your church believe that the whole Bible is the perfect Word of God?
Does your church believe that Jesus Christ is God?
Do they believe and confess that Jesus is the Christ, Who came to this earth in the flesh, as in 1 Jn 4:2,3, and 2 Jn 7.
If you go to any church that teaches "it" is the "only" way, run from that church. A church doesn't save any one. It is by faith in the name and shed blood of Jesus Christ.
Any church that teaches the worship of the virgin Mary, run away.
Any church that teaches to pray to dead saints, run away.
Any church that practices ancestor worship or condones the practice of it by others, run away.
Any church that uses astrology, in any way, run away fast.
Any church that prays in any name other than Jesus Christ, run away.
Any church that consults the dead, flee from that church.
Any church that uses any kind of trinkets, idols, or any objects for worship, get away from that church. Jesus Christ is the only way.
Any church that does not teach Bible prophecy and the Revelation, go from that church.
Any church that does not believe the Rapture comes before the Tribulation, leave that church.
Any church that does not believe in the three Persons of the Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, run from them. This is covered in more detail under doctrines—The Trinity.
Any church that does not teach the whole Bible, get away from it. For example, some churches may preach only the Epistles and others only the Psalms or Proverbs. Some may only teach the Old Testament; while others may only teach the four Gospels. Some may not teach the Bible at all. Run from all of these.
Some claim to be Christian, and great healings appear to take place; but the healings are not done in the name of Jesus, or the healings deceive people and lead people away from Jesus. Run from these.
Another thing to look for, but is difficult to find, does the preacher use a lot of Scripture when he preaches? Regretfully, most preachers, including those that are born-again these days, go on and on with vain janglings, or stories about themselves, and their families, and things that happened to them. Some even quote from other books and other people, while using no more than a couple verses of Scripture in their whole sermon; however, the use of much Scripture alone is not an indication that the pastor is born-again or that it is a good church. Many cults also use Scripture; but they use it incorrectly.
Watch out for churches that are only ceremonies and for those that do not encourage you to bring your Bible to the service. Run from these, and don’t look back.
Some churches sing, and sing, and sing, and there is very little instruction from God’s Word. Run from these.
If the church does not emphasize repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, leave that church.
Run from churches that regard any other book on the same level as the Bible.
Any church that claims their leader is infallible, get away from it.
Beware of any church whose leader is living in fornication, adultery, homosexuality, or has more than one wife. Flee from that church. In some countries, perhaps as much as 80% of the population (including "so-called" Christian preachers) are not married, but are simply living with someone according to tribal or cultural traditions.
of any preacher that does not display the attitude of Christ—the fruits of the
Spirit. A person that is close to God should have an attitude of humility, brokenness
before the Lord, and meekness. The attitude we should have is to be a SERVANT
OF ALL-Mk 9:35. Mt 20:27-AND WHOSOEVER WILL BE CHIEF AMONG YOU, LET HIM BE YOUR
SERVANT. Ja 4:6-WHEREFORE HE SAITH, GOD RESISTETH THE PROUD, BUT GIVETH GRACE
UNTO THE HUMBLE.
Beware of any church whose leader claims to be an apostle. Run away. This is not the attitude of humility, meekness, and the fruits you are to follow.
Beware of any preacher that goes about pridefully claiming to be a prophet of God. Mt 24, Lk 21, Mk 13, and Jeremiah all show us clearly that this is an age of many false prophets. If you know and understand the Scriptures, then you know these things are true. The subject of false prophets in this generation should be covered in other categories on this site. There is prophesying in some churches; however, regretfully, almost no churches anymore examine what is being spoken by God’s Word. As a result, many prophecies are coming forth that are unbiblical. Some false prophecies even come forth on the radio or television. Some are published in religious magazines, yet are called the Word of God. If you've read this, from now on you can't say you didn't know.
Beware of anyone that might come to you and say, "God told me to tell you this or that."
Warning: if your preacher does not believe in teaching on Bible prophecy, the Revelation, and is not teaching that Jesus Christ may soon return, run from that church. However, be warned. Even though a preacher may have many college degrees, these are no guarantee that he is walking with God.
you are unable to find a good, Bible teaching church in this lukewarm church
age, then get alone with the Lord; study, study, and study your Bible and draw
closer to Jesus through His Word. Get to know Jesus. If you have found
a good, Bible teaching church, then support it; but remember that your allegiance
is to Jesus above all things. Obey the Gospel. Never try to split or break up
any church. It is written, Mt 15:12-14-THEN CAME HIS DISCIPLES, AND SAID UNTO
HIM, KNOWEST THOU THAT THE PHARISEES WERE OFFENDED, AFTER THEY HEARD THIS SAYING?
BUT HE ANSWERED AND SAID, EVERY PLANT, WHICH MY HEAVENLY FATHER HATH NOT PLANTED,
SHALL BE ROOTED UP. LET THEM ALONE: THEY BE BLIND LEADERS OF THE BLIND. AND
IF THE BLIND LEAD THE BLIND, BOTH SHALL FALL INTO THE DITCH.
The Scripture tells us in Heb 10:25-NOT FORSAKING THE ASSEMBLING OF OURSELVES TOGETHER, AS THE MANNER OF SOME IS…AND SO MUCH THE MORE, AS YE SEE THE DAY APPROACHING. This is a command to believers. Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing; and all the more as you see the day approaching (as you see the day approaching for the soon return of Jesus Christ). God’s Word is commanding us to keep assembling together, and do not forsake it. We need fellowship with other strong believers (as evidenced by their fruits). So many people say they are a Christian, but refuse to obey what God tells them to do. God wants you to go to church and often. Not just on Sundays. Note the church in Acts 2:46-AND THEY, CONTINUING DAILY WITH ONE ACCORD IN THE TEMPLE, AND BREAKING BREAD FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE, DID EAT THEIR MEAT WITH GLADNESS AND SINGLENESS OF HEART. Note, they continued daily. Separate from unbelievers, and fellowship with believers. Ecc 4:9,10,12-TWO ARE BETTER THAN ONE; BECAUSE THEY HAVE A GOOD REWARD FOR THEIR LABOUR. FOR IF THEY FALL (now Satan will do all that he can to cause you to fall back into your old sinful ways), THE ONE WILL LIFT UP HIS FELLOW: BUT WOE TO HIM THAT IS ALONE WHEN HE FALLETH; FOR HE HATH NOT ANOTHER TO HELP HIM UP. AND IF ONE PREVAIL AGAINST HIM, TWO SHALL WITHSTAND HIM; AND A THREEFOLD CORD IS NOT QUICKLY BROKEN. Beware, Satan is far more crafty than people realize. Beware of how Satan may try to get you away from a good, Bible teaching church, if in fact you are attending one. He may try to get you to attend a church that teaches less Scripture and less accurately. Remember to examine all things in light of God's Word.
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