What makes a true Church – Part 1
When God calls and commissions men and women, He expects them to be single-minded in pursuing the mission. He expects courage, commitment and competence on their part. They should serve as a lighthouse, warning people about the danger of sin and hell. They should also watch over and monitor the spiritual progress of those that have come to follow the Lord. Such was the case with Paul the apostle. He carried out the Great Commission with passion to many places and suffered severe persecution as a result. Having learnt of the spiritual state of the Colossian church with which he had no previous contact, he was inspired by God’s Spirit to write to instruct and challenge them to be true, faithful, righteous and rapturable.
Though churches are proliferating everywhere, it is the congregation of people who are called out of the world of sin and evil that is regarded as the true church. Believers in the true church “are not of the world” but “chosen” by Christ, which reveals their calling, conversion, separation and consecration.
Thus, to be part of the true church, a chosen generation and peculiar people that exists to “show forth the praises” of God, requires a complete separation from the world of darkness and sin. Just as there is the true church, there are also false churches. In this category is to be found the nominal church of the spiritually dead.
There is also the Christ-less church of adherents who read the Bible, mention Christ’s name and practise religion, but do not believe and accept Him as pre-eminent. They are reminiscent of the Laodicean church (in the book of Revelation), whom Jesus said were on their own; He was not in their midst. Instead, He stands at the door, outside the church, knocking to be let in.
There is also the traditional church of people, who practise the doctrines of elders and traditions of men. Not converted, they read the word only in the church, but follow the society in lifestyle and everything else. There is no difference between them and those who do not go to church. There is also a Christ-rejecting church of people who hate, resist and reject the truth and true preachers of the Word of God. Usually, worshippers in such churches do not have conversion of life, conviction, consecration and commitment to the Lord. If you are found in such a gathering, you must quickly dissociate yourself from them.
The great concern of Paul the apostle is that the Colossian Christians should abide and uphold the truth. All believers that do not love, accept, practise, uphold or allow the preaching of the truth belong to a broad category of the truth-less church. Apostle Paul expresses concern about them and warns believers against embracing their falsehood.
People and churches that are bereft of the truth have replaced the Word of God with the traditions of men, worship of angels and fleshly practices. Others make spurious revelations, which they claim to have received from some angels, the basis of their doctrines. A so-called Christian leader who is thus deceived by the spirit of Antichrist and Satan with “lying wonders” should not be followed. Regular attendance at fellowship, change of dressing, getting engaged in Christian service without love for the truth and perfect hatred for error will make one an easy prey for the enemy.
Believers must not allow anyone, system or principles that are not in consonance with the whole teaching of the Word to destroy their faith in Christ. Some people have made a shipwreck of their faith because they categorise all churches to be the same and visit them at random. Wherever the truth is not emphasised to prepare people for heaven is a path to hell.
Further Reading (King James Version): Colossians 1:1,2; John 15:19; 2 Corinthians 6:17,18; 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 3:1; Galatians 5:2-4; Mark 7:7-9; 3 John 9,10; Colossians 2:8,16-18; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12; 1 Timothy 1:18,19; Philippians 3:18,19; Revelation 2:18-20-23;22:18,19; Colossians 1:1,2; Romans 1:7; Ephesians 5:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 3:12,13; Revelation 19:6-9; Luke 16:10; Acts 16:15; 1 Timothy 3:11; 6:2; Titus 1:6,9; 3 John 5; Revelation 17:14; Colossians 1:3-5; 1 Corinthians 13:13; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 5:8; Galatians 2:20; 5:6; 2 Timothy 2:16-18,23; Ephesians 1:15; Philemon 5; Titus 2:13,14; Hebrews 3:6; 1 Peter 1:3-5.