Monday, August 16, 2021
Yesterday I was privileged to preach the ordination sermon for a good friend and former Elder at my church. It was an amazing blessing to be at the church he leads and see the visible work of the Holy Spirit. Two years ago there were only a few families that attended. Today the church was packed, with people also sitting in the overflow area. My friend will be the first to tell you it’s not because of him, but it’s because of the faithful preaching of the truth of Scripture and the practical applications of those truths to everyday life.
As I prepared my message that would challenge my friend and the congregation, I was reminded of the fundamentals that need to be reinforced in all of our hearts. May I present to you the following summary of what I think are non-negotiables for church health.
First, the church exists
- To the glory of God,
- for the equipping of the saints,
- for the salvation of souls.
The church does not exist to follow our preferences or to affirm our identity apart from Christ. The church does not exist to build great programs but to build great saints. The church does not exist to make us comfortable with our sin or to conform to our culture or political opinions. The Church of Jesus Christ exists for the glory of Jesus Christ and to equip His disciples to bring others to Jesus Christ. Period.
Second, Jesus tells us three non-negotiables following His question to the disciples of who they thought He was. (Matthew 16:16-18)
“Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said the church is built on the truth of Who He is, not what culture says and especially not the latest progressive interpretations. There can never be a compromise of the truth that Jesus is the Son of the Living God, He is the Savior of the world, and He is the soon coming King. We must never diminish Christ for the sake of exalting or enabling man.
“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church,” Jesus said the Church is His…not mine…not yours. He alone determines the purpose, authors the vision, and provides the resources. We may have innovative ideas, but they mean nothing without verification that they came from Jesus Christ. The church does not depend on our ideas or our way of doing things. Ideas don’t build churches. Jesus does.
“and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Jesus said that nothing is stronger than the church that is built on truth. There is no power on earth or over the earth that can stop the purpose of God in a church that stays true to the Gospel.
It will be good for you to review these words of Jesus and make sure whatever church you attend agrees with them…or leave and find one that does.