Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

growth Archive

Friday

16

February 2018

Hope Reflected | Understanding the characteristics of a solid church

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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“Worship is no longer worship when it reflects the culture around us more than the Christ within us.” A.W. Tozer | Characteristics of a solid church | See more at hopereflected.com

Understanding the characteristics of a solid church

After last week’s column, a few readers suggested that perhaps just as important as going to church is that the church that you’re going to needs to be a solid church.

So what makes a solid church?

There are several characteristics. A solid church is so much more than a bricks-and-mortar building. A solid church is about the people attending, and more than that, that the people attending are all joining together for the same purpose – to worship God, and to proclaim the Gospel, that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and was raised from the dead, so that we might not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

If you’ve been looking for a church, or contemplating what kind of church you should be attending, here are a few indications of a solid church.

A solid church speaks the truth. “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 2:17) A solid church is one that believes that the Bible is the divinely inspired – and complete – Word of God. What is the truth? The Bible. A solid church speaks the truth. “He who speaks truth tells what is right, but a false witness, deceit.” (Proverbs 12:17) God’s Word is faithful and true (Revelation 22:6) and that’s what you’ll find in a solid church.

A solid church challenges and inspires growth. “…from who the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:16) A solid church isn’t just a place where you go to feel good about yourself – no, a solid church is about much more than just “feeling”. Beyond any emotion, a solid church will challenge you through speaking the truth, and inspire growth.. “A wise man will hear and increase in learning. And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel.” (Proverbs 1:5) A solid church is place where Christians can seek “wise counsel” and grow in their faith. And as Matthew Henry said, “The Christian’s growth tends to the glory of Christ.”

A solid church provides comfort. “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16) A solid church is a place that provides comfort and renewal. As much as it’s meant to challenge Christians, the church is also meant to be a place where believers can have fellowship one with another. Through fellowship, and the preaching of God’s Word, we can find comfort and renewal. You may be familiar with Proverbs 16:24, which tells us that, “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” A solid church provides comfort through fellowship with other Christians.

A solid church isn’t trying to look like the world, to remove the Cross, or to provide entertainment for the masses. As Tozer said, “Worship is no longer worship when it reflects the culture around us more than the Christ within us.” A solid church speaks the truth, challenges and inspires growth, and provides comfort. It also encourages Christians to serve humbly, to live by faith, and to grow closer to our Lord.

Originally published as “Understanding the characteristics of a solid church.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. November 30, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

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Wednesday

13

September 2017

Wednesday Wisdom | Invest in something that contributes to your growth

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Wednesday Wisdom

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Invest in something that contributes to your growth. God's Word is a great place to start! | See more at hopereflected.com

Invest in something that contributes to your growth.

Ever find yourself talking or thinking negatively about your own body? Or spending time with people who are less than encouraging? Reading or watching things that aren’t uplifting or edifying?

We need to stop pouring energy into things that defeat our spirit, and start spending time investing in things that contribute to our growth.

A great place to start investing is in God’s Word. We often take for granted the treasures found within the Bible! Take a look at God’s will for your life by taking the time to dig into God’s Word!

Here are three incredible ways that God uses the Bible to help us grow:

  • The Bible will teach you: 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Encouraging, edifying, and filled with wisdom, God’s Word is given to teach us. You can’t grow if you don’t learn, so why not spend some time equipping yourself for God’s will in your life?
  • The Bible will give you peace: Jesus told the disciples in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” There is no peace like the peace that God provides. In Philippians 4:7 we’re reminded that “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
  • The Bible will encourage you: Keep in mind Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Do not be discouraged! Encouragement is the opposite of discouragement, and throughout God’s Word, we are commanded to encourage one another: “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11) One way that the Bible will encourage you is through the testimony of other Christians who’ve gone on before you! Consider the earthly ministries of Ruth, David, Moses, Noah, Esther, Naomi, and countless others! The Bible is filled with the testimonies of other real life Believers who have gone through this life before us. We can read about their challenges, their triumphs, and ultimately be encouraged by their lives.

Invest in something that contributes to your growth. The Bible is a great place to start!

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