Summary: Such is “The Measure Of A Strong Church”, one that Functions like a BODY; Loves like a FAMILY; Praises like a TEMPLE; Submits like a KINGDOM; Is pure as a BRIDE
THE MEASURE OF A STRONG CHURCH
1. The practice of assembling with a church is important - Hebrews 10:24-25
a. Naturally, we hope the congregation we assemble with is a strong one
b. But such may not always be the case
1) In NT times, there were many good congregations
2) But some were not what they should have been - e.g., Revelation 2:4, 14-15; 3:2, 15-17
2. What, then, is the “measure” of a strong church?
a. Some might consider it on the basis of:
1) The building (or lack thereof)
2) The number of programs, classes, etc.
3) But a congregation can have all these things and still be dead!
b. I suggest a better measure is to be found when we think of the church in terms used in the Bible to describe it...
1) Such as “body,” “family,” “temple,” “kingdom,” “bride”
2) Granted, these are terms used to describe the UNIVERSAL
church; but I believe these figures of speech can help us to properly measure the strength of a LOCAL congregation
[In other words, a “strong” church is one that...]
I. FUNCTIONS LIKE A “BODY”
A. The Church is the Body of Christ - 1 Corinthians 12:27
1. As such, it is an organism, rather than simply an organization
2. You can have organization, but still not have LIFE!
a. E.g., a dead body
b. “the foot bone’s connected to the leg bone...” can just as easily be said of a corpse as with a living body
B. The Body Has Many Members...
1. Not all have the same function - Romans 12:3-8
2. Every member must appreciate his or her own function - 1 Corinthians 12:14-19
3. Every member must appreciate the function of others - 1 Corinthians 12:20-22
C. The Body Must Have Members Who Fulfill Their Function
1. Growth occurs when “every part does its share” - Ephesians 4:15-16
2. We understand that a chain is as strong as its weakest link
3. So a body’s strength is affected by weak and inactive members!
a. Injury or physical handicaps limit the ability of the body
b. Strong members may try to help out, but then that limits what other work they would normally do
[How each of us functions as a member of the body affects the strength of this congregation!
A strong church is also one which...]
II. LOVES LIKE A “FAMILY”
A. The Church is the Household of God - 1 Timothy 3:15
1. I.e., it is the “family” of God
2. Do we think of each other as “family”?
3. We should, in light of 1 Timothy 5:1-2
B. A Strong Family is One Where There is...
1. Concern for one another
2. Care for each other
3. Love for one another
C. To Develop a Sense of Family Requires...
1. A willingness to get to know one another
2. Taking advantage of opportunities to spend time together
-- As congregations grow, it becomes harder to maintain a sense of family
(But how well we one love one another will be a true measure of the strength of this church!)
A strong church will also be one that...]
III. PRAISES LIKE A “TEMPLE”
A. Temples of Old Were Built to Glorify the Being to Which They Were Dedicated...
1. The design of the structure itself was designed to praise
2. The sacrifices and services rendered in the worship also
B. THE CHURCH IS GOD’S TEMPLE TODAY - 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
1. We are both the “temple” and the “priests” who offer “spiritual sacrifices” - 1 Peter 2:5
2. Our purpose:to proclaim the praises of God - 1 Peter 2:9-10
C. How Do We Offer Sacrifice and Praise to God?
1. By lifting our VOICES in song and prayer - Hebrews 13:15
2. By doing GOOD DEEDS - Hebrews 13:16
3. By offering OURSELVES as living sacrifices - Romans 12:1-2
[How each of us praise God with our voices, body and service is a true measure of this church,Let’s be careful not to despise the name of the God we serve as a temple and priests (cf. Malachi 1:6-8).
And then consider that a strong church is one that...]
IV. SUBMITS LIKE A “KINGDOM”
A. We Are Privileged Members of the Kingdom of Christ
1. As were the Colossians – Colossians 1:13
2. As was John the apostle - Revelation 1:9
B. Subjects of a Kingdom Submit Allegiance and Obedience to the King...
1. Unfortunately, many churches are more like the kingdom of England
a. Where the king (or queen) is only a symbolical figure head
b. The true decision-making power is in parliament