“…praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47)
I don’t know how often in the past decade or two I heard folks telling me, “I can’t find a good church!” As a matter of fact, while I was going through school, my wife and I would travel 20 miles one way, week by week, in order to experience the blessings of a wonderful church. It was well worth it!!
But since then, the dearth has become far more severe – – what folks are looking for in a church is simply and mostly unavailable. No, they are not looking for a utopian environment, they are looking for a church that meets the biblical criteria of being a church. Only that satisfies! But is there such a thing? Yes, for sure, but “few and far in-between,” unfortunately!
I often refer them to the first church as the prototype. It is found in Acts 2:40-47. Let me simplify what it says in focusing on a description of a living and desirable church:
- It is a church that exhorts people to be saved And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” (Acts 2:40) Does the spiritual leadership proclaim the need to be saved by God’s grace?
- Has the one professing faith in Christ alone been baptized (by immersion)? – – Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; (Acts 2:41a)
- Is this biblical church growing? – – and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. (Acts 2:41b)
- The congregants continue steadfastly in the systematic teaching of the Bible and in fellowship with one another, as well as partaking of “the Lord’s Supper” and corporate praying, not the canned stuff? – – And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. (Acts 2:42)
- They were united in heart and worship. – – Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, (Acts 2:44)
- There was a compassionate sharing of goods with those in need. – – and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. (Acts 2:45)
- They continued to worship daily and ate their food together. – – So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, (Acts 2:46)
And here’s today’s church: lots of ritual, entertainment, hot-dog preachers, money-beggars, lack of prayer and Bible reading, and lots of fake! People are sick of it, and so is the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ! So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. (Revelation 3:16)