Final authority for the Church--

  Any church that you might consider joining should be judged by the same standard by which we, as Christians, are instructed to judge "all things" (I Corinthians 2:15): the Holy Bible. The Lord said in John 4: 24; "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." The Bible is the word of God, the truth, and should be the only authority recognized by your pastor. The Lord Jesus, writing to the "church in Pergamos," said that he hated the "doctrine of the Nicolaitanes" (Revelation 2:15). This is a doctrine of men whereby a number of churches look to an appointed authority above the pastor to govern the affairs of the church. The Bible speaks only of the church as a local assembly of believers who are led in spiritual matters by their pastor, who is also referred to as an elder or bishop or overseer (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4: 11, 12; I Timothy 3: 15; 5:17). The only one above and over the pastor is the Lord Jesus Christ, the "chief Shepherd" (I Peter 5:1-4).

  The primary purpose of the church should be to reach the lost in the world with the gospel. The Lord Jesus commanded his disciples, "go ye, into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). In order to accomplish this commission, the church must train men and women for "the work of the ministry" (Ephesians 4:12), and then send them out to preach and teach others. So first of all, the church must be preaching the "gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24), that men are saved by the grace of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and not by ANY work of righteousness that they can do (Ephesians 2:8, 9; Titus 3:47). Any church which supports the preaching of "another gospel" (ZT Corinthians 11:4) is "accursed" (Galatians 1:8).

The local church supports the missionaries that God calls, with prayers and finances.

  The pastor of the local church should be preaching the word of God and not the philosophies or traditions of men (II Timothy 4:2; Colossians 2:8; I Timothy 6:20). Today, there are many churches filled with people whose pastors who do not preach the true gospel, do not baptize my immersion, do not teach that the blood of Christ is the only thing that can wash away sins, and who stand behind their pulpits continually correcting and attacking the word of God. Remember, they that worship God must worship him in spirit and in TRUTH (John 4:24). This means that the Bible must be obeyed in the church, and that the church must operate and minister "according to the scriptures" (I Corinthians 15:3, 4). Therefore, let the Bible be your guide in finding a church.

The Church Statement of faith--

  You might ask the pastor to give you the statement of faith of his church. Among the many doctrines a true Bible believing church will believe are:

1.The salvation of lost sinners by the grace of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8,9).

2.The eternal security of the born again believer (John 5:24;6:47).

3.That the primary purpose of the church is to glorify God through the Lord Jesus Christ by fulfilling his commission to preach the "gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24) to "every creature" Mark 16:15).

4.The baptism of born again believers by immersion.

5.The literal, physical resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:9; Luke 24:36; John 20:19,20; Acts 1:11).

6.The premillennial return of the Lord Jesus Christ to take his church to heaven (I Thessalonians 4:16-18; Acts 1:11).

7. The second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to rule on this earth for a thousand years (Revelation 19:20).

  If the church you are looking at does not totally subscribe to these basic and fundamental Bible doctrines, you need to find a church that does. What all this amounts to is that you are not trying to find a church of YOUR choice, but a church of the LORD'S choice. Only in the right church will you be directed to find God's specific will and purpose for your life.

The power of God-

  If you are to have the power of God in your Christian life to the greatest extent, then you need to join a church where the gospel is PREACHED, "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God" (I Corinthians 1:18). Don't settle for a church with teachers who "by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple" (Romans 16:18). Paul warned us "that in the last days perilous times shall come" (II Timothy 3:1), and that "the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." 2 Timothy 4:3,4). The last days are upon us. We are living in perilous times. Seek the Lord's guidance as you search for a Bible believing, gospel preaching church which preaches and teaches sound doctrine.

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