On June 24th we looked at the numbers associated with church growth and particularly the score card that is utilized to determine a healthy church within SBC circles. (ACP – baptisms and additions). We noticed that not all churches are as healthy as they may first appear. While numbers are important they are not necessarily an indication of a true healthy and biblical church.
Over the next few weeks I want to look at what does constitute a true healthy church. The flow and outline were gathered from a sermon series preached By John MacArthur in Aug. of 1983. (The Anatomy of the Church)
1 Cor 12:12-31 – The Church as a body.
Over the course of the next few weeks we will identify the key components of the body and how they relate to the BODY OF CHRIST… THE CHURCH.
- Skeleton – Frame work
- Internal systems -Attitudes
- Muscles – Functions
- Flesh – Programs
All these (1-4) must be in place to be alive. You cannot exist without all of them being in place.
The Skeleton. Our structure, framework, support.
- Non-negotiable, Essential to the body.
- Rigid and unbending and the backbone of the church.
- Our foundation.
A high view of God. (Live for His glory)
Proverbs 9:9–10 –  Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. (ESV)
In building the church we should start with God and go from there.
Yet, where do we sometimes start today?
- The needs of people, what people want.
- What would it take for someone to come to church.
James 4:1–10 –  What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?  You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.  You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.  Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?  But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (ESV)
The absolute authority and sufficiency of Scripture.
- It is the Word of God (from cover to cover)
- Truth without any mixture of error
- It is sufficient to meet our needs
- We can trust it.
- It is enough
Baptist Faith and Message – Scripture – The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.
- Think of all the things that are important to us but not necessarily biblical.
- The list is extensive.
- Why do we tend to be so cautious and or concerned to do new things for the right reasons? Yet, we at times seem so willing to do things that clearly go against scripture.
- Our view marriage, lack of church support, leadership expectation.
- Doctrine is teaching. The teachings of Scripture. Devine teaching. Teaching from God.
- Not what one thinks or what one has always heard.
- BUT RATHER, WHAT GODS’ WORD SAYS.
- We need truths to hold onto. Truths to live by. Make decisions based upon. Place our hope upon.
1 Timothy 4:6–16 –  If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.  Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness;  for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.  The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance.  For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.
 Command and teach these things.  Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.  Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.  Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.  Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.  Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. (ESV)
Scott Swain. 27 Jan 17 – http://www.ligonier.org/blog/what-doctrine/
Doctrine promotes a number of ends. Sound doctrine delivers us from the snare of false teaching (2 Tim. 2:24–26; Titus 1:9-11), which otherwise threatens to arrest spiritual development (Eph. 4:14) and to foster ecclesiastical discord (Rom. 16:17). Doctrine serves God’s saving work both inside (1 Tim. 4:16) and outside the church (Matt. 5:13-16; Titus 2:9–10; 1 Peter 3:1–6). Above all, doctrine promotes God’s glory. Doctrine shines forth as one of the glorious rays of the gospel of God (1 Tim. 1:10–11) and, by directing our faith and love toward God in Christ, it enables us to walk in His presence and give Him the glory He deserves (1 Peter 4:11; 2 Peter 3:18).
2 Corinthians 7:1 –  Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God. (ESV)
- Standards and expectations according to God not according to the world.
- Not compromising biblical expectations and teaching.
- We are to be in the world, but not of it.
- Christ is the head – Eph. 1:22, 4:15
- Christ mediates His rule in the church through Godly leaders
- SOmeone has to be the leader. Who is it?
1 Thessalonians 5:12–13 –  We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you,  and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. (ESV)
Hebrews 13:7 & 17 –  Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. … Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. (ESV)
- We need to learn the importance of submitting our souls to the care of those the Lord has placed over us a His Shepherds to His flock.