Monday, June 21, 2010

Romans 1:16-17 HOW DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR CHURCH?


How did you choose your church? What kind of church do you attend? Does your pastor preach the gospel or is he afraid someone might be offended? Does he move around and pick and choose people pleasing messages or does he bring the Word of God to the people? Are people walking the aisles and making life-changing decisions to live for Jesus?

Scripture:
Romans 1: 16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes:  first for the Jew, then for the Gentile 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."

Lesson:
Joey and I are seeking a church family. We have been visiting several churches now? We have heard many reasons for attending a church but as I read Romans 1:16-17 Paul spoke to me. I believe he says,

A Righteous Church is Bold in Preaching of the Word: Is the Word being preached from the pulpit? While there are many great stories and lessons that can be taught from hearing God’s word, there is nothing as powerful as the gospel of Jesus Christ. Too many pastors are not preaching the word in fear of embarrassing someone or being politically incorrect. The Bible teaches against choosing people pleasing messages rather than preaching the Word, and living by man’s standards rather than Gods.
A Righteous Church believes the Gospel is Power unto Salvation: Churches all over the nation are grabbing anything and everything coming and going, from music, dress, programs, projects, various preaching styles, etc. trying to entice individuals to join their fellowship. Churches are growing, but are individuals being saved? There is only one thing that we should be focusing on as we live church, and that is to share the gospel. The gospel of Jesus is the only power. Paul says the gospel IS the POWER of salvation. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ that accomplished salvation. That means that the gospel is able to deliver men from captivity of sin. It can set us free spiritually.
A Righteous Church Welcomes All: For the gospel is the power unto salvation for “everyone” who believes. Nowhere in the Bible do we find where believers are told to come together to organize churches based on culture, race, gender, social status, likes and/or dislikes. Faith is the one thing that unites believers regardless of their other differences.
A Righteous Church Shares Faith from First to Last: There should be a fellowship among the body in that the young will come to believe as a result of the first, Older, Christian’s testimony. Rather than the attitude of the “old” versus the “young” attitude, there should be a unity among the fellowship where the old is mentoring and encouraging the young, and the young respects and learns from the old.
A Righteous Church Lives by Faith: Believing in the sense of knowing knowledge is true is not enough. Followers of Jesus are called to believe the Word in that it influences the way they live their lives. The gospel (what they believe) is what empowers us to live transformed lives. They live the Word, not by seeing, but by faith. A church/believer who walks by faith will be obedient to God and His Word even when they do not know where the path will lead, even if it seems strange to the world, even if it does not make sense to do it, and even if is seems financially unsound. Faith means putting all trust in what God is able to do and not man's ability. It was once said “a small step for man, but a giant step for mankind.”  As kingdom people our faith will lead us to take what is a giant step for man, all because to our Almighty God, it is but a small step. When we think the step is too large for us we need to remember it is a small step for God for he is the creator of the universe and all that is in it.

Application:
1.        How did you choose where to attend church? (you were born there, relatives go there, denominational views, politically correct, socially correct, music, biblically sound, you don’t know)
2.        Is the Gospel of Jesus preached unashamedly at your church or does the pastor shy away from preaching anything that might be politically incorrect? Does he preach the gospel that leads you to repentance? Are individuals moved to salvation? (Repentance, confession, transformation, and sanctification)
3.        Does your church welcome all? Are you sure, or as you look around, do you realize it is just another social club? How diverse is your group? How accepting are you of those who do not look, smell, talk, live, sing, dress, or eat like you? Would you sit on the same pew or take them to lunch with you?
4.        How does the church live out its faith, both individually and cooperatively? Do members seek to live by biblical standards or their own? Are you challenged by their faith to be a stronger believer? Have you grown in your faith as a result of their witness and testimony?
5.        Is church attendance enough or do you come to church with a sense of anticipation, anticipation that someone will be saved? Are you concerned when no one responds to the message?
6.        Does the church as a whole step out in faith so that God is ABLE to show what he can do rather than what you as church are able to do?
7.        How much have you grown spiritually since you have been a part of _____ church?  Are you helping to mentor other to a higher level of spirituality?
8.        Are you satisfied that your church is a righteous church? If not are you bold enough to help it transform into one? Do you need to seek new fellowship so that you can grow into the person God wants you to be?
Prayer:
Dear Father, thank you for churches who are righteous in your eyes.  Help me to be a believer who is unashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the place that I am willing to speak boldly for you, willing to welcome all who want to seek you in their lives, and willing to walk in faith to the place that my faith may lead others to a faith in you. Give me strength and discernment as I seek to fellowship with righteous people so that I will be strengthened and if I need to change churches then lead me to do so. In Jesus name I pray, Amen