When I was saved in 2017, after reading all the way through the New Testament for the first time ever in my life, the Holy Spirit convicted me about what kind of church I should be attending. I was not a Born Again Christian until the age of 42 and had been attending church for most of my life. When I married my husband, who was a Christian, I started attending church every Sunday with him, unless I had to work. I never heard the Gospel in any of the churches I attended. Not only did I not hear the Gospel, but the churches I attended were, what we would consider today WOKE. Meaning that they preach more about social causes and unity rather than the Gospel. They have women pastors, deacons, and elders. They worship, worship music, in other words the music portion of the service is longer than the preaching of God’s Word. And I grew up in the Catholic cult, which has MANY heretical teachings of it’s own. They claim to be the true church, even though they do not follow the God of the Holy Bible. So how does one choose a good church? And why are you staying in the church you are in? These are two questions I will attempt to answer in this post. I pray it will be convicting to you.
Let’s address the second question first, why you are attending your church? There are many reasons why people stay in bad churches or put up with bad doctrine and the Bible does address this!
Reason #1– 2 Timothy 4:3-4, says, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
It is very true that people do not want sound doctrine, they just can’t tolerate it. They don’t even want to read the King James Bible because it’s either to difficult to read or they don’t want to take the time to study it, even though it’s the only Bible in English that is an accurate word for word translation. Or other’s will dismiss certain doctrines because they don’t like what it says, and make excuses by saying that doctrine was for that time period. In many cases they would rather go along with the cultural whims then the Biblical doctrines. They pile up books, watch TV programs, or attend churches that teach easy to hear doctrine, cotton candy, myths, and fables.
Not only do these people choose not to go to a doctrinally sound church, they will attack you for doing what the Bible says. They will call you a Bible bully, they will say you are from Satan, they will call you judgmental and divisive. You will get called a pharisee, unloving, or recently for me a liberal. Instead of searching the scriptures, they are offended and will attack you. They never think that maybe God is making their conscience feel guilty.
Reason #2– 2 Timothy 3:1-2, says, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, and unholy. We are certainly living in the last days. And this could very easily be reason, number one in fact, and ties into reason number one. Men are lovers of themselves! They are proud and covetous. People attend churches for their own selfish desires and preferences. They boast about how great they are and that they just need to be themselves (this is code for…I can sin when ever I want). They are defiantly covetous! They not only attend churches that tickle their ears, they want to know what they can get from church for themselves, it’s all about me, myself, and I. Whether it’s the coffee bar, some “fun” kids, program, or mind numbing music with rock and roll or rap style type music, it’s all about their wants and desires. They preferer to go to a church that looks like a night club, they don’t want to look different then the world! They don’t listen to their parents who they think are just old and outdated and have no idea what they are talking about. They are not thankful that their parents love them enough to give them boundaries and guidance, they blame them for their problems instead of looking at their own rebellion against God. They do not want to be holy as God is holy. They don’t want to be separate from the world. They blasphemy God in word and in deed. Their number one person in their lives is THEMSELVES, and their PRIDE!
Reason #3-Matthew 16:24 &26, Jesus said to his disciples, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? People do not want to take up their cross in the biblical sense. Many people actually use this verse out of context, but this means to deny your own wants and desires to completely do the will of God, no matter what it may cost you. In Matthew 10, Jesus is speaking about persecution to His disciples, warning them and us of what is to come. He told them they will be hated. In Matthew 10:21, it says, “And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. 22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. 24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. These verses remind us of taking up our cross and following our Lord Jesus Christ, no matter what the cost! People do not want to do this, they would rather be liked and loved by the world then by God. Many people will not leave a church because their family and friends are there. They don’t want them to be angry. They don’t want to say anything to the pastor about his heretical teaching, why? Self love….if we are honest. Sometimes we will say, “Well, I don’t want to cause division in the church.” Ok? But if you are addressing the false teacher or the heretical doctrine you are not causing division, they are! Your job is to say something in love and gentleness. Expose the false doctrine and the sin it brings. Then you are to mark and avoid this pastor and warn others! Call out false teachers by name like Jesus did! Take God and His Word, seriously, this is eternity at stake! But unfortunately people don’t want to do this. Yes it’s uncomfortable, but we still have to do it by the power of the Holy Spirit. If you attend a doctrinally sound church you may be convicted and people don’t want conviction, they want fellowship, peace, and unity at all costs even though this goes completely against God’s Word! In fact it is of Satan, for even he disguises himself as an angle of light.
Reason #4 is stated in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 says, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.
This verse is talking about the tribulation and the anti-Christ, but before he comes there is a falling away. I think we see this more and more everyday. It’s been happening for 2000 years, but it has grown exponentially, even in the past 4 years! There is so much apostasy, false teaching, and bad doctrine one can hardly keep up with it. But, if you take God’s Word literally, you will know that this is to be expected.
HOW TO CHOOSE A CHURCH
Now that we know why people do not go to good churches…How do we decide on a biblical church to attend?
#1 The correct and complete Gospel is shared, and you MUST believe that Jesus is God. John 10:30 Jesus said, “I and my Father are one.
John 1:14 says, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Isaiah 9:6 says, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
John 20:28 Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God, speaking of Jesus. There are many more verses that show the deity of Jesus, but here are a few.
You must believe that Jesus was born of a virgin and conceived of the Holy Spirit. In Luke chapter one the Bible says that the angel Gabriel went to a virgin named Mary. In verse 31 he said she shall conceive in her womb, a son, and his name will be JESUS. In John chapter 1:13, it says Jesus was born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. In Matthew chapter 1:20, it says, “The angel of the Lord came to Joseph and appeared to him in a dream and said, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.”
And this bring me to the next belief your church MUST have about Jesus. In Matthew 1:21, the Bible says, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sin.” You must believe that Jesus is God and he died for your sin. John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh to the Father but by me.” You must believe that you are only saved by Jesus. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast. Jesus is the only way to be saved. Understanding the Gospel is the difference between Heaven and Hell for all eternity! If you do not have the right Gospel you have a damnable Gospel. In the book of Galatians the apostle Paul makes this point very plainly by saying, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed!!! Then he goes on to say this point again. Galatians 1:6-9. These wicked men that preach another gospel will have to answer to God some day for lying and spreading a false gospel. In Matthew 10:14-16, Jesus is talking to his disciples and telling them about the wolves in sheep’s clothing and how they will not hear your words, and not to worry about it. Jesus said it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment then for these brood of vipers, false teachers, and Satan worshipers. These are men that are deceitful and will be judged by God more harshly, for spreading falsehoods.
Finally you must believe in your heart that Jesus rose from the grave on the third day conquering sin and death! Romans 10:9, says, “That if thou shalt confess with they mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, then thou shalt be saved. You MUST believe this. If you do not then our faith is in vain and death still has a sting. 1 Corinthians 15:14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching in vain, and your faith is also vain.
#2 Eschatology is the study of end time events and prophesy. This is also a very important doctrine. While this does not effect Salvation it can lead to a different gospel, so I say this with caution. For example if you are a Post Millennialist believes Christ will return after a period of time and there will not be an actual 1000 year reign of Christ. Many Christians that do not have a biblical view of proper eschatology are usually Calvinist or Charismatic. The danger is that some Christians are always worried about the mark of the Beast. If you take this mark you are not a Christian and will be in Hell. In Revelation 14:9-10 it says who ever takes the mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God. John MacArthur, a Calvinist, said that if a Christian takes the Mark of the Beast they will still be in Heaven. It’s simply not true, and this is a different Gospel, people who are doing this are worshiping the Anti-Christ and rejecting Jesus. Or if you are part of the New Apostolic Reformation, you believe you must work to bring Jesus back. This could lead to a different gospel of works. I am not going to get into to much on this post about these false movements.
So here is the proper eschatology according to the Bible.
#3 Your church must be dispensational. There are different types of dispensational doctrines and you can study this out, but some Christians do not believe in dispensations. Dispensation just means different ways God had worked or administered through out time. It’s very clear that God is working in different ways from the Old Testament to the New Testament. For example, Jesus is the payment for sin in this dispensation we are living in right now. In the Old Testament there had to be animal sacrifices. Same God different dispensations, different ways of atoning for sin.
#4 Your church must NOT adhere to Replacement Theology!!! Replacement theology is the belief that Christians have replaced Israel. Not true and unbiblical. In Genesis 12:2-3, God tells Abram that He will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great: and though shalt be a blessing. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. This is speaking of the nation of Israel and it has not changed. Israel is God’s chosen people that He uses to bring about His plans and purposes. The Bible says if you are not a Jew that you are a gentile. In Galatians 3:28, the Bible says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all on in Christ Jesus.” In this passage it is speaking of two groups of people. Jew or Greek (gentile), no where does it says that gentiles are replacing the Jewish people. In Romans the Apostle Paul writes in 11:1, “I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. In Romans 11:8 it says, (According as it is written, God hath given them the sprit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. We are living in the dispensation of the gentiles. God has allowed their eyes to be darkened so they can not see, Romans 11:10. This does not mean the church has replaced Israel. I know of Jewish people who are saved and have trusted Jesus as their Savior, but for the most part God is focusing on other nations. This was another consequence for the Jewish people’s unbelief. In Romans 11:20, God says, “Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.” In other words, Gentile, be not prideful because God is punishing Israel, who is the natural branch of the Olive Tree, but fear God, least you be not spared. God is not done with Israel yet, and will turn His focus back on them during the 7 year tribulation. If you go on to read Roman’s chapter 11 you will see that God plans on saving the Jewish nation when the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
#5 Your church must believe in free will and that God came to save everyone, in other words your church must NOT hold to the TULIP doctrine. All of the doctrine of Calvinism and Tulip is heresy! Below is a link to Robert Cogdon Ministries, he does an excellent job explaining Calvinism and it’s problems according to the Bible.
#6 Your church must believe in the Rapture. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, says, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Luke 17:34-37, says, “I tell you, in that night there shall be two men (this means two people, not homosexuals) in one bed: the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together: the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field: the one shall be taken, and the other left. Revelation 3:10, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Mark 13:32, But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. 1 Corinthians 15:52, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 1 Thessalonians 5:9, For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, this wrath does not mean Hell but the Tribulation according to the context of the rest of the passage.
#7 Where did your pastor go to seminary? This can tell you a lot about how they are teaching their flock.
#8 Does your church practice church discipline? Matthew 18:15-18, “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Titus 3:9-3:11 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth , being condemned of himself. 1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I have written unto not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner: with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that ae without? do not ye judge them that are with in? But them that are with out God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. ! Corinthians 5 the entire chapter.
#9 If your church ignores Bible prophesy and eschatology. Avoid this church!
#10 If they do not expose evil or call our false teachers by name. Ephesians 5:11 And have not fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 1 John 4:4 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are got out into the world. Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them!
I pray that if you are a Christian you will study and apply these biblical principles to your life so you can grow in Christ and be of like mind with Him. God wants you to grow in wisdom and in knowledge of him so you will not go apostate. Hebrews 5:11-14 states, “Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God: and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age , even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. James 1:22, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.