The first thing to look for in a church is, does it teach the Bible? The Bible is a divinely inspired book and can be trusted from cover to cover. II Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, (what to believe) for reproof, for correction for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Jesus warns us to “take heed lest any man deceive you” (Mark 13:5). In his prophetic discourse recorded in Mark 13, he gives us a four-fold warning (Mark 13:5,9,23, 33). Christ is there speaking of Himself and his return. These things certainly apply also to standards for a church, what to look for in finding one.
First, we are not to be deceived by human claims of spiritual authority and prophetic insights. This because there would come many deceptive teachers claiming to be the returning Christ. When Christ does return, all His saints will know beyond question, for they shall all “meet the Lord in the air” (I Thessalonians 4:17).
The second warning tells us to be prepared for persecutions (Mark 13:9). This because “In the world you shall have tribulation,” and “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (II Timothy 3:12).
His third admonition warns of false Christs and false prophets who will even “show signs and wonders” (Mark 13:22-23). Many will be deceived unless they remember that neither prophecies nor exorcisms nor other wonderful works suffice for acceptance by Christ, if those who perform them are “workers of iniquity” (Matthew 7:22-23).
The fourth “take heed” is a sober warning against trying to predict the time of His return. “Take heed, watch and pray: for you know not when the time is” (Mark13:33).
Such a warning is pointless if certain prophesied events must take place first, for then there would be no need to watch for Him. In the same discourse, as reported in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus gave a final such warning, speaking of this very danger.
“Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be over charged … with… cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unaware” (Luke 21:34).
The church is the “pillar and ground of the church. Paul writes about this in one of the Epistle to Timothy. A church that is a Bible church stands on the truth of God’s Word — in faith and practice. If it does not, it is a social organization.
If you have a Bible question write to Pastor Lenard Huebscher Grace Baptist Church, 12721 75th St. North, Stillwater, MN, 55082 or call 651-430-3132. www.stillwaterbaptist.net