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Seeking the Family of God

  1. Am I In Christ?
    7  Digging Deeper
  2. What is the Kingdom of God?
    3  Digging Deeper
  3. What is the Church?
    5  Digging Deeper
  4. Why Are There So Many Different Christian Religions?
    6  Digging Deeper
  5. How Can I Know the Will of God?
    4  Digging Deeper
  6. How Do I Pray?
    5  Digging Deeper
  7. What is Worship?
    6  Digging Deeper
  8. What is the Significance of the Lord’s Supper?
    5  Digging Deeper
  9. How Do I Become Like Christ?
    6  Digging Deeper
  10. What if there is no New Testament Church Near Me?
    5  Digging Deeper
Lesson 4, Digging Deeper 2
In Progress

After watching this video, what mindset must we have when searching for a church home? What should be the determining factor when selecting a church home?

The first question and the most important criteria in choosing a church or accepting any religious belief or practice is, “Is it true? Is it according to God’s word, the Bible?” But some may ask, “Who’s truth?” In matters of faith and doctrine, there is only one truth: Jesus. He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Jesus answers the question, “What is truth?” when he prayed to God the Father, “Your word is truth” (John 17:17). If a church is not true to Jesus and his word, then it makes little difference how popular the church is, how many people are members of it, if I like it or how does it make me feel. Without Jesus, we “can do nothing” meaningful to God (John 15:5).

We enjoy freedom of religion. Anyone can start a church and freely teach and practice anything that is not illegal. A church can be popular, influential, have plenty of money, occupy a beautiful, spacious building, enjoy entertaining worship, and give people what they want, but not be pleasing to God. If we are not pleasing to God, we are following ourselves and the ideas of men. Honesty and sincerity are essential in pleasing God, but they alone are not sufficient.

World religions that do not accept Jesus as the Son of God and his death and resurrection as the means of our being right with God have millions of adherents that are honest and sincere but that alone does not make them right with God. The world had plenty of worship, priests, temples, ceremonies, and religion before Jesus came into the world. If those things were sufficient, then Jesus did not need to come to earth, teach and live as he did, die on the cross and be resurrected to be Lord of heaven and earth.

Jesus came to bring true righteousness, truth and genuine, God-pleasing faith and service. Listen to some of his words: “He said, ““If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32); “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6); “The true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.  God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24); “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:8-9).

The doctrines of men are those that we devise from our own thinking and imaginations. They are traditions that we like that satisfy our desires. About these Jesus said, ““Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up” (15:13).

Jesus spoke in the verses above about “truth” and “true worship” and about “vain worship” and “the teachings of men.” In Athens, the Apostle Paul spoke to the honest and sincere, learned teachers and philosophers who worshiped idols. He kindly, but persuasively, said that their worship was based on ignorance of the true God (Acts 17:30). In the church at Colossae, there were some who added teachings about food and drink, asceticism, belief in visions, worship of angels, and other things devised in their minds. Paul wrote about these worshipers and said they were not “holding fast” to Jesus. Their religion, he wrote, was based on “human precepts and teachings” and was a “self-made religion” (Colossians 2:16-23).

Belief of and commitment to the truth of Jesus and his word must be foundational if we are to please God. We are not to add our own ideas to the authoritative teachings of Jesus and his apostles. Neither are we to refuse what he has said and practice a “cafeteria-type” religion where we take what we like and forget what we don’t like (Revelation 22:18-19). This principle of accepting and obeying the truth, without adding to it or subtracting from it, is taught throughout the Scriptures. About 1400 B. C., Moses told the Israelites,

Listen to the statutes and the rules that I am teaching you, and do them, that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you.  You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you (Deuteronomy 4:1-2).

God gave Joshua, the successor of Moses, the same type of instructions:

Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (Joshua 1:7-8)

Some four hundred years later, the book of Proverbs records this warning against adding to God’s words: “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar” (30:5-6).

The Scriptures (the “holy writings” now found in the Bible) are “inspired by God” (NIV) or “breathed out by God” (ESV). They are given by God to completely teach and guide us for everything that we need in serving him. The Apostle Paul affirmed, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

On one occasion, some religious leaders asked Jesus a question to entrap him. Jesus responded by asking them a question, “The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?” (Matthew 21:25). That’s a good question to ask about anything we believe, belong to, or practice in religion, “Is this from heaven or from men?” If it is from heaven, it is approved in the word of God, either by a specific statement or a Biblical principle. If it is from men, it is of human origin and not from God. These are the only two sources of belief and teaching. Wouldn’t it be wise before you accept any religious idea, belief or practice, to ask the question that Jesus raised, “Is this from heaven or from men?”