Some time back, I received a note asking, “What would be a sound church?” I think this is a good question since churches on earth can be described as “sound” or “unsound” when we compare their works to what the Bible says churches ought to be doing.
The contrast between “sound” and “unsound” is simply a contrast between something that is healthy and something that is unhealthy. In this case, we observe the difference between a church that is spiritually healthy and one that is not. If we at Loop 287 are interested in being a healthy church, let’s spend time in the Scriptures and compare what we are doing with what the Bible says the church must be doing (James 1:22-25). What are some biblical characteristics of a sound church?
- A sound church is composed of Christians who follow Christ’s word as their only law and practice (Colossians 3:17; 1 Peter 4:11).
- A sound church is devoted to doing as the apostles did in worship (Acts 2:42; 20:7; Ephesians 5:19; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2).
- A sound church practices corrective discipline on those who walk disorderly (1 Corinthians 5:4-5; 2 Thessalonians 3:6).
- A sound church won’t accept just anyone as a member but will ask questions and allow them to ask questions in return (Acts 9:26-28). The truth has nothing to fear.
- A sound church knows the truth, will defend it, and will spread the truth wherever possible (1 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Timothy 4:2; Jude 3).
- A sound church won’t be involved in unauthorized ways of handling the Lord’s money, such as the support of orphan homes or benevolent societies from its treasury (Philippians 4:15-16; James 1:27).
- A sound church realizes “the kingdom of God is not meat and drink” (Romans 14:17). Thus, she will not be like the denominations in support of “food, fun, and frolic” to “win” people to them (Romans 1:16).
- A sound church remembers her first love (Ephesians 4:15; Revelation 2:4).
- A sound church is one whose members revere Christ (Acts 4:12).
- A sound church doesn’t tolerate or coddle worldliness among the members (2 Corinthians 6:17; 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15).
- A sound church wears the name of Christ (Acts 20:28; Romans 16:16).
- A sound church is organized correctly, having no connections to any other organization. A sound church can be scripturally unorganized for a while. This clearly happened in the first century. There were no men qualified to be elders or deacons at first (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5). But there comes a time when, in order to be sound, a congregation must be scripturally organized, having elders to oversee the local group, deacons to serve, and saints to do God’s will, and be under the oversight of the elders (Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:2-3).
- A sound church has members who love one another (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). In loving one another, it’s evident to the world that we’re the disciples of Christ (John 13:34-35; 1 John 4:7-11, 21).
The foregoing characteristics give us a taste of what a sound church looks like. In light of what we’ve learned in these passages, let’s examine ourselves and ask whether or not God would consider us a “sound” (spiritually healthy) church meeting in Lufkin, TX? God has given us the blueprint. Will we accept it or not? The answer to this question will determine whether we indeed are a “sound” church, a church “of” (belonging to) Christ.
Adapted from Jarrod M. Jacobs