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The Marks Of A God Pleasing Church

What kind of church pleases God? It is a church that seeks to honour Him and His word, and to share His concerns. It will, therefore, have the following:

A. Beliefs and Concerns

1.The church accepts the Bible as its supreme authority, knowing that all revivals have come only to those who believed it. (Ps.119:160, 2Tim.3:16, 1Pet.1:23-25, Ps. 138:2, Mt.5:17-20 etc.,)

2. The church believes in the greatness and holiness of God; the sinfulness of man, the judgment of God; the reality of heaven and hell, and the need for everyone to be born again of the Holy Spirit. (Is.40:12-17, Ps.145:3, 1Pet. 1:15-17, Rom.3:23, Mt.15:19, Rom.11:32, Mt.13:40-42, 2Thess.1: 6-9, Rev.20:11-15, Jn.3:5, 1Pet. 1;3 etc.)

3. The church honours Jesus Christ as the Lord of the church, knowing itself accountable to Him. (Col.1:13-18, Jn.15:5, Rev.1:10-20, Rev.2:4-5, Rev.3:1-5, Rev.3:14-21, etc.)

4. The church honours the Holy Spirit as God, giving him His rightful place as the source of all wisdom and power.(Lk.3:16&21-22, Lk.24:49, Jn.16:8-14, Rom.8:5-17, 2Cor.3:4-11, Zech.4:6,etc.)

5. The church believes in the priority of evangelism, and has a continuing evangelistic programme believing that all people need to be saved, and all people can be saved. (Mt.28:19-20, Acts 2:40-47, Lk.24:46-49, Rom.3:23-26, 2Cor.5:14-15, 1Tim.2:3-6, 2Pet.3:9, Jn.3:16, Rev.22:17, Is.55:1-3etc.)

6. The church believes in the necessity of holiness, without which no one will see the Lord; that all Christians have to be saved from the power, as well as the penalty of sin; need to practice self denial and not love the world.(Heb.12:14, Heb.10:26, I Jn.2:6-10, 1Thess.5:23-24, 1Jn.2:15-17etc.)

7. The church teaches the New Testament truth about baptism, and practises it. By the power of the Holy Spirit, it brings people to conviction of sin, calls them to repentance and baptism, for the forgiveness of their sins and the reception of the Holy Spirit, dying to sin, and incorporation into the body of Christ. (Acts 2:37-38, Acts 22:16, Rom.6:3-4, 1 Cor.12:13, Gal.3:27, Col. 2:11-12, 1Pet.3:21, Mk.16:16, etc.)

8. The church warns people of the danger of becoming lukewarm and falling away, as the New Testament does, teaching them to abide in Christ, and stay fervent in spirit. (Jn.15:6-8, Acts 20;31, Heb.10:26-39, 2Pet.2:4-10, Rev.2:10, Rev.3:1-6, Rev.3:11-13, Rev.3:14-22,etc.)

9. The church teaches that every believer should seek and use the gifts that the Holy Spirit wants to give to each one. (Rom.12:4-8, 1Cor.12:1-11, Eph.4:11-16, 1Pet.4:10-11, 1Cor.2:12)

10. The church shows its obedience to the word of God by honouring parents and older people, and by making sure children and young people are respectful and obedient. (Ex.20;12, Ex.21:17, Lev.19:32, Mal.1:6, Mt.15:4-9, Eph.6:1-4, 1Tim.5:1-2, 1Pet.5:5-6,etc)

11. The church believes in the power of prayer, having at least one prayer meeting every week, (which all members are expected to attend), with an emphasis on praying for evangelism, revival and awakening.(Js.5:16-18, Lk.11:5-13, Eph.6:18-20, 1Sam.12:23, Ps.80:1-7, Ps.85:4-6, Gen.18:17 -33, 2 Chron.7:14, Is.64:1-3, Hab.3:2, 1 Thess.5:17,etc.)

12. The church accepts the teaching of the New Testament regarding loving our enemies and praying for them, etc., and, therefore, will never condone war or violence. (Mt.5:44-48, Jn.18:36, Rom. 12:17-21, Heb.11:36-38, Heb.12:1-3, 1Pet.2:19-23, 1Pet.3:9-14, etc.)

13. The church is concerned about the persecuted Church, prays for them at every service, (which is the least it can do for its brothers and sisters who are suffering all the time,), and seeks to meet their needs.(Rev.3:2, Eph.6:18-20, Lk.22:31-32, 2Cor.11:28-29, 2Thess.1:11-12 etc.)

14. The church is concerned for the whole of Godís creation; the environment, where it is spoilt and polluted, people and animals who are suffering. It stands against all cruelty, and seeks to stop it. (Ps.24:1-2, 1Cor.15:39-41, Gen.1:26-31, Gen.2:18-20, Ps.104:1-35, Ps.50:10-11, Ps.145:1-21, Ps.147:4-20, Ps.148:1-14, Ps.107:33-38, Prov.31:8 etc.)

15. The church accepts its responsibility before God to the local area and to the nation, to declare the word of God, especially where it conflicts with official policy, to warn people of the dangers of going against the word of God, and hold them accountable before God for their actions. (Ps.2:1-11, Is.3:11-26, Jer.2:9-13, Mic.3:8-12, Mt.11:20-24, Rom.1:18-32, Acts 17:22-31, 2Thess.1:5-10,etc.)

B. Services and Meetings:

In its services and meetings the church will:

1. Provide a link to eternity, so that all who enter, encounter God in Christ. It should be a place where all unbelievers can come in comfortably, but should always leave in consternation about their souls and their eternal destiny, and where everyone is humbled, convicted and challenged by the Holy Spirit.

2. Seek the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, above everything else. Therefore He has to be acknowledged, honoured and sought at the beginning of every service, so He can do His work of conviction, witnessing, faith giving, illumination, guidance, sanctification, empowerment for service, etc. and the leaders must be open to Him all through the service, and be willing to change anything at His direction. (Ex.33:15-16, Rev.2:7, Jn.16:8&13, Rom.8:14, Acts 13:2, Acts 16:7, etc.) )

3. Affirm the greatness and holiness of God, and honour Him by coming before Him ; a) with reverence, fear and humility, and only through the mediation of the Cross,(Eccles.5:1-2, Is.66:1-2, Heb.10:19-22, Heb.12:12-29) ; b) dressed in one`s best clothes, as befitting priests presenting worship to a Holy God and to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords ; (Ex.28:1-43, 1Pet.2:9, Rev.1:5-6); and c) with hymns and songs that i) centre on His greatness, power, holiness and mercy, ii) concentrate on seeking His face, and iii) open the worshippers up to God, for Him to do His work in their lives. The glory of the Lord should fill the place, and the church should not be satisfied with anything less. (Ex.40:34)

4. Show its honouring of the Lord Jesus Christ by preaching the Cross, and proclaiming Him as the only way to God and the only sacrifice for sins.(Acts 4:10-12, Heb.10:19-22, Col. 1:27-28, 1Pet.1:18-21etc)

5. Show the importance it attaches to prayer by having many times of prayer during each service, with prayers of adoration, confession, thanksgiving, petition and intercession; earnestly pleading with God to destroy evil, save people from going to hell, and intervene in the affairs of this world.

6. Show its honouring of the truth of Godís word by the leaders speaking directly to the people about their sins, stabbing people awake, disturbing consciences, and leading them to conviction, repentance, holiness and a radical change of lifestyle. (Mic.6:8, Ez.33:1-9, Acts 2:36-42, Acts 20:27-31,etc.).

7. Show its honouring of the word of God by having at least two good Bible readings in every service, one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament.

8. Show its honouring of the Lordís Day by having a morning and an evening service every Sunday.

9. Show its honouring of what God has done in the past by having a balance in every service between the great hymns of the past, (especially those from times of revival), and modern songs.

10. Show its respect for God and for people by those taking part publicly, speaking clearly, reverently, and with authority, for God. (Deut.5:1, Deut.6:4-7, Neh.8:1-8, Mt.7:28-29, Acts 2:14,etc.)

11. Show its honouring of the historical facts of Christianity by celebrating the major Christian Festivals of the Incarnation, the Passion, the Resurrection, the Ascension of Christ, and the coming of the Holy Spirit; and show its acknowledgement of the faithfulness of God and our continual dependence on Him by keeping a Harvest Festival each year, especially as God has commanded it, and it is of permanent importance, (Gen.8:22, Ps.103:1-5, Ps.104:10-15, Ps. 107:31-43, Ps.119:90-91, Lam.3:22-23,etc.).

12. Show great passion in worshipping the one and only true and living God, motivated by a jealousy for His honour and glory; great earnestness in praying for His kingdom to be established and extended; great concern over all the sin and wickedness in His world; great sorrow over the persecuted body of Christ; and great joy over the wonder of His grace and all the privileges of the gospel.

C. Summary: a God pleasing church will show that is is a place of:

Depth - where the whole mind and will of God is sought and taught, especially His desire for holiness of life. (Heb.5:11-6:2, 2Tim.3:16-17, Heb.4:12-13, 1Cor.2:6-16, 1 Thess. 5:23-24, 1Pet.1:13-21,etc.)

Breadth - where there is a concern for everything that God is concerned about; the spread of the gospel, the destruction of sin, the elimination of all injustice, cruelty and wars, the right stewardship of His creation, the strengthening of the Suffering Church, the removal of all false religions that do not honour His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ; and the spread of righteousness throughout the earth. ( Mt.28:18-20, 1Jn.3:8, Mic.6:8, Is.58:6-9, 1 Tim.2: 1-6, Gen.1:31, Ps.67:6-7, Rev.3:2, Eph.5:18-20, Phil.2:9-11, Tit.2:11-14, Is.49:5-6, etc.)

Authority - where the leaders speak with the authority of God, and the word of God is proclaimed with boldness, against every kind of irreverence, disobedience and sin. (Mic.3:8, Amos 7: 10-17, Mt.7:28-29, 2Cor.10:5-6, etc.)

Life and Joy - where there is an openness to the Holy Spirit, a desire for His power and His wisdom, earnest praying for revival, (with a willingness to pay the price), a deep thankfulness for what God has done, and a looking forward to all that God is going to do. (Zech.4:6, Rom. 8:6-11, Eph.5:18, I Thess.5:19, Jn.16:13-14, Rom.15:13, Phil.4:4,etc.)

Reality - where the presence of the Lord is sought above everything else, where honesty with God is insisted on, where people mean every word they say or sing, and show it. God hates hypocrisy. (Ex.33:12-16, Ps.27:8-9, Hos.14:1-2, Jer.29:13, Mt.5:23-24, Mt.6:1-6, Rom.12:9, 2Cor.4:2 etc.)

Obedience - where the word of the Lord is obeyed, and the worship of the lips is backed by the lives of the worshippers. (1Sam.15:22, Is.1:13-17, Jer.7:1-10, Mt.7:21-23, 1Cor.13:2, Mic. 6:8, 1Jn.3:4-7, etc.)

D. Some questions to ask about your church:

(adapted from questions by David Wilkerson)

Is the greatness, the glory and the holiness of God acknowledged and experienced in the services? Is everyone present aware of his or her unworthiness before Him, and aware of the amazing grace of God in Christ? Do people respond to someone being born again of the Spirit by praising God because He has remembered the dust of the ground? (Rom.11:32-36, 1Pet.5:6, 1Pet.2:9, Gen.2:7, Ps.103:14)

Is the tangible, piercing manifest presence of Jesus evident in the services and meetings? Do the people melt before Him, weeping over their sins, and rejoicing in the awesome forgiveness and peace He brings? Do they go to their knees in all consuming adoration of Him? (Eph.3:17-19, 1Pet.1:8)

Does the fear of the Lord dominate every thought, every desire and every word? Is all sin and idolatry rebuked? Are Godís standards held up for all to see? (Acts.2:43, Acts 5:11, 2 Cor.5:11, 2 Cor.7:1)

Is the Bible preached with power and authority as the Word of God? When the Bible is read or preached, is it like a sharp two edged sword, revealing to everyone their innermost thoughts and desires, so that no one is able to hide from God? (Heb.4:12-13)

Do visitors sense the presence of Jesus in your services? Does the aroma of His holiness permeate the atmosphere? Are there tears of intercession for those who have not bowed the knee to Jesus? Are there cries of brokenness, with a sincere desire to put all things right? Are the believers broken with the sins of their friends and neighbours and relatives going to hell? And are they rejoicing every day over sinners brought out of darkness into His marvellous light? (Acts2:37, 2 Cor.5:13 & 20, Rom.9:1-3, 1Pet.2:9)

Are people being changed from one degree of glory to another, as they see the glory of God? (2Cor.3:18)

Are there prayers for God to pour out His Spirit and transform the whole area, so that places of drinking, gambling and amusement close down, as peopleís minds, mouths and bodies are cleaned up by the Holy Spirit? Are there prayers that the Lord and His house and His Day will be honoured as they should be? (Acts 17:16, Jn.16:8, Acts19:18-19, 1Cor.5:9-11, Tit.2:11-14)

Are miracles of healing and salvation being seen? (Acts 2:43)

Is Jesus really Lord in His church? Is He exalted over all, and obeyed? (Phil.2:9-11, Jn.14:15, Jn.15:5)

Is the Holy Spirit honoured? Is He changing the lives of everyone present? Is the mind of the Spirit sought for all decisions and His power for witness? Are there times of quietness set apart for prayer and fasting, to hear what the Spirit says to the church? (Rev.3:22, Acts 13:2)

Are the Lordís concerns made the concern of every worshipper? Are there prayers at every service for the Suffering Church and for particular individuals in those churches? (Heb.13:3) Are there prayers at every service for Godís suffering world, that the cruelty to people and animals, and the despoiling of His creation will stop? (Rom.8:19&22, 1Tim.2:1-4)

Is everybody in the service, from the youngest to the oldest, aware of, and in touch with, the reality of Almighty God? Do all the children and young people listen attentively and take part fully in the service, knowing that they need the salvation of Christ as much as anyone else? (Rom.3:21-24, 5:12)

Do all the people love to have the Word of God taught to them, as it is always fresh and life giving? (Acts.2:42, Jn.6:63)

Does the love of Christ so dominate peopleís hearts and lives, that they generously give and share all that they can? (Acts 2:44-45, 2Cor. 8:1-5)

Do people willingly commit themselves to work for the Lord, to spend and to be spent, no matter what the cost? (Ps.110:3)

Are people drawn to the services and meetings like a magnet, knowing that God is there? (Acts 2:6,1Cor.14:24-25).

Does everybody go out from the service changed by their experience, knowing they have been in the Lordís presence, and not wanting to leave? (Ps.16:11, Acts 2:46-47)