Temple Baptist Church - 4-5-2015
1 Thessalonians 1:1-3
A. The Apostle Paul begins his letter to the church at Thessalonica with a commendation. In his epistles to other local churches, he either commended or reprimanded. We began our study of this precious book of the bible with a little historical introduction out of Acts, chapter 17, as to give some insight into the church’s beginnings. The church had its beginning in the fires of persecution and continued to be persecuted through Paul’s writing to them.
B. Before I give some of the characteristics of a great church, I want to look at some of the things that do make a church great.
1. NUMBERS! The independent Baptist movement has gotten just like our Baptist brothers from which we came. How many saved? How many baptized? How many were in church Sunday? And the list could go on. These things are not, in themselves, bad. We want people to come; we want people saved; we want people baptized; we want our Sunday School full of youth! Any God fearing, sinner loving preacher wants to see good, spiritual as well as physical growth in the church but the numbers BELONG TO GOD! Numbers, in themselves do not make good churches. If numbers are equated with greatness, then the neo-evangelical movement is a great one!
2. PROGRAMS! Too many independent Baptist churches have gone into the entertainment industry. We have watch the rapid rise of “churches” in our area who have made themselves worldly, patterned after the world, in order to make worldly people comfortable when they come. These have been called “seeker sensitive” churches. Find out what the people want and then conform the church to it. The local church does not need a touch of the world, it needs a touch of God!
3. MONEY! Too many independent Baptist churches are as worried about the offerings as they the spiritual welfare of the people. Offerings are just that, offerings. It is not what we can get out of the people but what the people are offering out of a willing heart. Yes, money is important! We support more missionaries than we have men, women, and children in our church. It takes the sacrificial giving of the people to do the work of the ministry and support the Great Commission of going into the world and preaching the gospel to every creature. God has all power and all resources at His command if He commanded us to go, then He has the where with all to send us! I tell preachers to leave the offering plates alone and trust the Lord to give what He deems right and necessary.
C. We need to see as God sees when it comes to the commendation of a great church. Some areas are more open to the gospel than others. All areas are hard ones but there have been great men of God who have labored for a lifetime with only a handful of converts, and yet, faithfully continued to labor in their “corner of the field.” When we get to heaven, we want a “well done” from our Lord, not our comrades!
1. A Great Church Is One Willing To Pay A Price For The Cause Of Christ.
2. A Great Church Is One Willing To Stand Firm In The Face Of Spiritual Opposition.
3. A Great Church Is One Willing To Adhere To The Old Paths Wherein The Good Way Is.
4. A Great Church Is One Willing To Love The Word Of God And uncompromisingly Preach, Hear, And Heed It.
5. A Great Church Is One Willing To Compassionately Win The Sinner While Hating The Sin.
6. A Great Church Is One Willing To Be Inclusive In Its Outreach And Membership.
7. A Great Church Is One Willing To Lovingly Stand United For The Cause Of Christ.
8. A Great Church Is One Willing To Be A Sea Of Galilee Church Instead Of A Dead Sea One.
9. A Great Church Is One Willing To Worship The Lord In The Beauty Of Holiness.
10. A Great Church Is One Willing To Be Faithful To The Fight And A Finisher Of The Course.