Strong, Healthy Churches

February 22, 2020

Strong, Healthy Churches

By Russell George

Churches weaken and die when the members of the church neglect their relationship with the Lord. Their hearts get cold and they are less motivated to honor and glorify their Heavenly Father. They give less of their time, talents, and money to the Lord and think he aught to be satisfied with that. When their love for the Lord weakens their love for the things of the world get stronger. They are less motivated to share the gospel with others.

Today churches are having protracted business meetings in which they are asking themselves, “What can we do to make our church more attractive to the people in the community?” some suggest that it would help to have more contemporary music. Others say, “I have heard people say that churches are too restrictive. I think we need to let down our standards a little bit.” Others say, “I think we should have a food pantry and invite people in for free food. That way they will know that we have compassion for them.”

The truth is that the most attractive churches are those that are filled with people who have a vibrant testimony for the Lord. They are people who love the Lord and love the people around them. God wants to love others through us. People who love the Lord want others to know him too. They go out of their way to get next to people around them. Others see that they have something they want. They see that those Christians have a reason for living, peace, and joy. That is what brought me to the Lord when I was a young man. It’s not better methods, but better people that make churches strong and attractive.

Christians who love the Lord will do their best to bring up their children in the nurture and knowledge of the Lord. The result will be that their children will also continue on in life living and doing the will of God. They will stay in the church or seek out another church to attend if they don’t stay in the community.

The best thing that a pastor can do to assure himself that his church isn’t in danger of dying is to do what Jesus commanded Peter to do in John 21:16. “He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” He needs to preach Christ in such a way that people will be drawn to an ever closer relationship with the Lord. A strong church is one that is filled with strong Christians. In our day our Lord’s command to be holy has largely been forgotten. I Peter 1:16 says, “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” Peter took that from Leviticus 11:44-45.

What does it mean to be holy? As believers, we need to be set apart from the world and unto the Lord. We need to be living according to God’s standards, not those of the world. God isn’t calling us to be perfect, but to be distinct from the world. The word holy is similar in meaning to the word sanctify. That which is sanctified is something that is set apart and distinct from other things or people. We don’t identify ourselves with the holiness movement. They say we can reach perfection. There is no such thing as sinless perfection. The flesh is weak. It pulls us down. Galatians 5:17 says “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Holiness is a constant progression toward maturity.

We will never be holy like God is. He is a perfect being. We will never be perfect. There are two things that make us holy in the eyes of God. First, and most important, is to be saved by accepting Christ as our Savior. When we do that the righteousness of Christ is put on our account. This is taught in Romans 2:23-27. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.”

The second way we are made holy is by surrendering ourselves to God and being willing to seek and do his will. Romans 12:1-2 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” We will never find the best that God has for us if we don’t seek God’s will and surrender to him.

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