How to Find A Good Church
What are you looking for in a church? How can you find a good church? For some, it’s the programs. If the church has an excellent children’s ministry or an exciting youth ministry, those are the most important things in selecting a church. Or if they have good music that makes you feel religious, that’s the key to a good church. Or it may be the sermons. They need to be like my wife, short and sweet. Or finally, it’s the facilities. A church needs to have a nice building with comfortable chairs.
Yet when studying the Bible, the church was not identified by any of these characteristics. The New Testament book of Acts is the Church history book of the Bible. The Church is not described by its ministries, its music, or its building, but by its people. That’s the church. It is the people of God. In fact, the word translated “church” is the Greek word ekklesia. It is made up of two words: The prefix ek, which means “out of” and the verb kaleo, which means “to call.” The church is those whom God has called out of the world of sin and into His assembly of saints. The Greek concordance records 114 occurrences of ekklesia. The word predominately refers to the local church, referring to assemblies of Christians meeting in various cities. Many of the New Testament epistles were written to churches located in cities such as Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi, Colosse, and Thessalonica.
The word also designates the universal church, which refers to all believers everywhere. This leads us to the most important question: How can you become a part of Christ’s church? You cannot do this on your own. You cannot be placed into the universal church by your personal efforts and achievements. The Bible calls these things “good works” and teaches that no one is made right with God by the works of the flesh (Ephesians 2:9; Titus 3:5). The only way to become a part of the church is “by grace through faith” (Ephesians 2:8; Romans 5:1-21). You must admit your sin before a holy God (Romans 3:10,23), accept that Jesus Christ died on the cross for sin (Romans 5:8) and rose again on the third day (Romans 10:9-10), and trust in Him as your personal Savior and Lord (John 1:12, 3:16; 1 John 5:11-13). Acts 16:31 simply states: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.”
When you come to personally trust in Christ as your Savior and Lord, you become a Christian and a member of the universal church.
Throughout the book of Acts, you see that after a person was saved, they were water baptized (Acts 2:38,41, 8:325-38, 10:44-48). Water baptism is an outward expression of one’s inward faith. Though water baptism cannot and does not save, it is the first step of obedience for the newborn child of God. Water baptism follows the example of Jesus Christ Who was baptized (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-23). It also fulfills the commission that Christ gave to His disciples after His glorious resurrection (Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-11, 18-20).
After a person was saved then baptized, they attended a local church. They assembled together with other believers for worship, instruction, fellowship, and evangelism (Acts 2:40-47). Herein lies the four major objectives of a Biblical church. These objectives are cross-cultural, cross-denominational in spite of church’s style or size. There are the specific avenues through which the church is to carry out the purpose of glorifying God.
In Acts 2:42, you see a body of committed, worshipful people. The verse says that the people were “continually devoting themselves.” The word “devoting” connotes a steadfast, single-minded fidelity. Worship was not half-hearted or convenience orientated, it was focused and intense.
Their worship included “the breaking of bread and prayer.” The Lord’s Supper or Communion is the second ordinance of the church (the first being water baptism). The Bible teaches that Christ instituted the Lord’s Table in the Upper Room, the night before His crucifixion (Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26). The church partakes of the bread and cup in remembrance of Christ’s death on the cross.
The church assembles together for instruction, which is seen in the phrase, “the apostle’s teaching.” The strong emphasis of the church is upon Bible preaching and teaching. The people heard theology and doctrine as it applied to practical living. The more one learns the Bible, the more one learns about God, the more one learns about how God desires us to live. The emphasis of Bible teaching is not just upon intellectual knowledge, but upon the study and application of God’s Word (2 Timothy 2:15, 3:16-17; James 1:22).
Thirdly, the church assembles together for fellowship (acts 4:34-35). The Early Church were a caring people who loved one another (John 13:34-35; 1 Corinthians 12:26; 13:1-13). They ministered to one another by meeting each other’s needs.
And finally, the church assembles together for evangelism. Acts 2:47 says: “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” This is the dynamic, life changing message of the church. We want to see people saved from sin and placed in the church by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. There is only one way to heaven and it is through Christ Who said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through Me” (John 14:6). The Bible teaches that every person is on one of two roads. “Enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). If you choose the narrow gate, God will place you in His universal church.
After your salvation, go and find a good local church committed to worship, instruction, fellowship, and evangelism.