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What are the distinguishing marks of a mature church?

Charles Empey

In Colossians 2:1-7 you will see these distinguishing marks.

In Verse 1, you see that such a church has a pastor who struggles in prayer and concern for the church.  

He is vigilant daily wherever he is to take such concern. He will study to feed them the Word and he will pray for them constantly. 

Paul says, “For I would that you knew what great conflict I have for you…” He wrestles for them in his heart.

In Verse 2-3, you will see that such a church has believers who possess encouragement and confidence, being knit together in love, embracing together the wonders of God’s saving grace, and all of them embracing that Christ is the source of all wisdom and knowledge.

In Verse 4, you see the mark of not being gullible and receiving enticing false teaching that draws them away from sound doctrine. They hold to the Bible.

In Verse 5, you see the mark of such a church as one that maintains a military-like discipline and order of life that constantly grows them in the faith.

In Verse 6-7, there will be the mark of walking in Christ, putting on daily the life of Christ in the way they talk and act throughout the day. You see Jesus in them come forth. They are grounded in the Lord, maturing constantly in Him, and always a thankful people unto Him.

The central theme interwoven through these passages of the marks of a mature church will be the preaching and exemplifying of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Society of our day not only has forsaken such a church, the churches themselves, in too many cases, have lost their way in such debates as music and youth programs and its true mission to the community and world missions themselves. 

The closing of churches in America and the forsaking of the pulpits of the land is frightening and is revealed in the insanity our country has come to. 

Priorities in the church and outside the church are no longer in line with the marks of true churches, true Christianity that I have listed. 

Just preaching and studying the Word of God is no longer attractive enough to even many professing Christians. 

The preacher’s attire comes under scrutiny as if it is something about clothing that must be what people look for to be faithful to a church. 

The music must be a certain way to attract people. 

The church must be entertaining and never convicting as to lifestyle, even if the Bible says the lifestyle is wrong. 

I’ve been told to keep that part of the teaching of the Bible to myself. 

Keep the sin and hell factor behind the curtains, never to be revealed as the potential of every unbeliever. 

One noted and popular pastor in America who has thousands following him says that half the New Testament is no longer valid and declares that he is not called to preach the gospel. He has millions listen to him and read his books around the world who never come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. There are more than him doing this. 

God said that He would have to enlarge hell (Isa. 14) because of this.  

Too many supposed messengers of God are leading people to hell instead of heaven.  

We’re losing churches, homes and our country to false religion. It’s not the music nor the programs, etc., the window dressing of a church that saves and keeps. 

It is preaching the Word of God unapologetically.

 

Charles Empey is the interim Pastor of Cove Baptist Church, Orange, Texas.