Sunday, June 28, 2009

Grading The Churches

We had an interesting Sunday School lesson this morning, and thought I'd share a bit aboutit on here. The lesson was on the seven churches in the book of Revelations. Our teacher, Steve Goodenow, approached it a bit differently. He pointed out that all of the churches seemed to be judged in three areas: works, their love for God, and doctrine. He labeled them passion (love), purity (of doctrine), and productivity (works).

We then read through the portion of Scripture dealing with each church, and graded each church pass or fail in each of those three categories. If I remember correctly, Smyrna was the only church to get no condemnation in all three areas.

Steve made an interesting point. Even if the church was doing well in one or two areas, they were still condemned for lacking in the other area(s).

It made me wonder how my church - and your church - would line up in these three categories. Is God happy with our love for Him, our doctrine, and our works? If we can go by what was said to these churches, if we are coming up short in even one of the areas, God isn't going to be happy with the church.

This wasn't addressed in the class, but I had the thought hit me that we are so different in how we judge a church. When we are looking for a church, do we really take the above categories into consideration? Do put the church up to what the Bible says is a good church?

I am afraid all too often we look at the pastor. Is he interesting? How long does he preach? How comfortable are the seats? How friendly are the people? What can the church do for me.....And we get out our list of things that WE think make the ideal church. Yet God seems to look for three simple things. Does the church truly love Him above all else, do they have good works, and does their doctrine line up to the Bible?

Just something to think about.