Jesus Christ wants His church to be strong. Daniel’s prophecy of the church stated that “in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed” and that it would “break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (Daniel 2:44). In the days of the oppressive Roman empire the church of Christ was indeed a force to be reckoned with. The early Christians “went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). When told not to preach anymore in the name of Christ, the apostles’ reply was, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Their allegiance to God was truly exemplary for “daily in the temple and in every house they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ” (Acts 5:42). The strength of the church could not be overlooked; years later the church of Christ is described as “these that have turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6).

Reader friend, the church must also be strong today. Consider the following characteristics of a strong church.

A MEMBERSHIP TAUGHT IN THE WORD. Paul told the Ephesian elders, “I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you...,” and then stated, “For I have not shunned to declare unto you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:20,27). To teach the whole counsel of God includes teaching Christians the principles and commands by which we are to live while making a clear distinction between right and wrong, truth and error. God said of His people of old, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hos. 4:6). When the Lord’s people are not fed a balanced spiritual diet, spiritual weakness and the inability to discern good and evil will be the result.

A UNITED MEMBERSHIP. There is strength in unity. “And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a three-fold cord is not quickly broken” (Eccl. 4:12). Paul exhorted Christians to be “perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgement” (I Cor. 1:10). He also admonished, “...let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing” (Phil. 3:16). However, the Lord does not desire just any kind of unity. The unity He desires and requires is to be based upon the Truth; i.e., the Word of God. Many today call for unity at the cost of compromising the truth. The Lord’s church in many places has lost her distinctiveness because of elders, preachers, and brethren in general who are willing to overlook doctrinal error in order to have “unity.” God is not pleased with such! Anything less than unity based upon the Truth of God’s Word is not pleasing to God.

A DEVOTED MEMBERSHIP. When members of a congregation are devoted to the Lord and His Cause, then that church will be strong. One cannot read very far into the book of Acts before learning that the early Christians were devoted to Christ. “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine...and all that believed were together and had all things common...and the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul...they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 2:42,44; 4:32; 8:4). Paul wrote, “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:10,11).

By Jimmy Ferguson October 5, 2008

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