I often hear/read phrases like,”I love my church”, “Great church!”, “Wonderful church”, “I’m so proud of my church!”, etc. Really? Why? What makes a church good, great, or wonderful? Have you ever thought about that? Saying it’s so doesn’t make it so.
Why you like a particular church is an important question. Is it because of the pastor’s powerful preaching, or the sensational singing, or the friendly folks, or the camaraderie of the congregation,or the beautiful building? Sadly most folks don’t have a clue when it comes to determining whether a church is good or not. Most people make that determination based on whether or not they enjoy the services– without any consideration for what it believes.
While this could lead to a discussion about numerous doctrines, let’s just stick with one– what does your church teach about salvation? Do you really know? Does it teach that that baptism, or works of any type are necessary for salvation? Does it teach the doctrine of eternal security– that you can never lose your salvation? Naturally we could go on and on with this line of questioning, but if a church is wrong about this there is nothing good about it. Any church, regardless of it’s name, that teaches that which is contrary to what the Bible teaches about salvation is not a place where you ought to be. Those who are guilty of this are condemned in the strongest possible language in Gal. 1:8-9 “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. As we said before, so say I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”
We hear a lot of talk about joining the “church of your choice“, but you better be careful about the choice you make! It could be fatal. Religion is the biggest enemy on the face of the earth. Those who teach a false gospel deceive people into believing a lie that leads to their eternal damnation. This is a matter that you cannot afford to be wrong about. And being sincere about your beliefs or dedicated to your church is not good enough. If what you believe about salvation is not according to the truth you will spend eternity in a devil’s hell, separated from God forever. Only the truth will set you free, and the truth of the matter is found in Eph. 2:8-9 “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.”.
Dear friend, don’t assume that you are hearing the truth because the pastor is eloquent, or because grandpa and grandma were members of the church, or because it is the most popular church in town. There is too much at stake for you to be wrong. Do as the Bereans did, they “…received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11). If you have a Bible in you hand there is absolutely no reason for you to be confused in you head or troubled in your heart about the way of salvation–God has made it perfectly clear. Here was Paul’s answer to the jailer’s question, “what must I do to be saved?”— “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved..” (Acts 16:31). Any church that adds or takes away anything from that statement is guilty of heresy and you ought to get away from it as fast as possible. Think about it.