A great need today is a body of churches that refuse to compromise and allow misconduct and wrong activities to flourish. The purpose of the church is to be a place where its members can grow “unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:13. Its goal is that each individual member be a temple, bringing honor and glory to God.
Today, people need a good role model to follow, and those in the church should have certain characteristics or qualities that would attract others to worship and to be a part of that church. We will look at some of the characteristics that should be reflected in the church worthy of worshipping in and being part of.
In I Thessalonians 1:6–10 it says, “And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak anything. For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.”
In this passage the Apostle Paul describes a congregation, a group of people putting into practice the instructions found in the Word of God. The members, ordering their lives according to God’s principles have been seen and witnessed by other people around. By their lives they set a good example demonstrating just what can be done when God is in control, providing direction and inspiration to others.
The Christian church has been very blessed with many role models found in both the Old and the New Testament.
We should ask ourselves the question, Whose path are we following? The path we follow influences others to follow that same path. If we are following Christ, our behavior, our conduct, the way we do business will witness for the Lord and others will follow that type of example. The Scriptures are very specific about the characteristics, or qualities of the role models we should follow. For instance, Moses, Elijah and Joshua in the Old Testament, all of these men represented God in all of their words and actions, becoming worthy role models and their influence touched many people’s lives.
If we do not learn to imitate Christ and to develop His character, His mind, His concepts, personality and have His qualities, another influence will overwhelm us to form characters where Christ will not even be in the picture. This is happening in the world today because the type of lifestyle many are living today only reflects the world. The majority are not willing to leave their comfort zone and move on to greater and higher things for the honor and glory of God. They are not willing to make the extra sacrifice and move away from the world’s approval because it is too uncomfortable to make that move.
Christ left His royal position, His home, His authority, everything to come here to this earth to receive rejection, insult and even physical abuse so that people could see the character of His Father represented. But the Lord left it all because He loved us. He left it all in the hope that He would find faith before He went to His Father, and when He comes back again He will find faith.
What type of reputation are you projecting right now around your community? Is it worthy of being imitated by others? Jesus told the Pharisees to their faces that they were hypocrites. He told them that they were so concerned about the outside that on the inside they were worse than anybody else. See Matthew 23:26.
Jesus said, “I will select people whom I can use who are willing to give me their lives, who are desiring to follow Me, and will allow Me to teach them how to be the people that I can use. I will be their God and this people that follow me will be My people.”
The Jews were chosen to be God’s special instruments to reflect God’s character but they went so far that they crucified the very One who could save them. However, the most astonishing and most powerful fact is that Jesus was not forced to be crucified. He was willing to give Himself voluntarily for all of the human race because He loved us.
Are you willing to leave your comfort zone for the honor and glory of God? The Lord promises that whatever you lose or give up here on this earth for My name’s sake, I will repay you. If you lose your life, I will give to you a new life. God gives us the assurance that if we will surrender all to the Lord now, to become a dwelling place for Jesus and the Holy Spirit, our future life is sure.
Paul says, “Ye were ensamples to all that believe.” I Thessalonians 1:7. We have the privilege of becoming Christlike examples to all around us. We can become role models for others, leading them to follow Jesus. Only when Christ is dwelling in us, when He is alive in our hearts, can we be the right examples and the role models that will influence others in the right way.
Paul says, “And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit.” I Thessalonians 1:6. Whether in times of turmoil or in times of trouble, you will have joy in your heart because you are asking God for your body to be a dwelling place, a temple of the Holy Spirit. When trouble comes, with joy you say, “Lord, come into my life. I know that I am in the middle of trouble, but even now, in the middle of all this turmoil, I am determined to honor and give glory to You, and to be your child and to reflect your character.” Hard times are the most difficult times to reflect God’s character because it requires a sacrifice. It requires obedience and requires faith in God. How much faith do you have for the Lord today?
We read in II Thessalonians 2:14, “Which He called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul here is saying to us that we need to follow our Lord Jesus Christ and to reflect His character.
The Corinthian church was a new church that was raised which came out from the middle of idol worship. They were baby Christians who fell in love with Jesus and they were reflecting that obedience, loyalty, and the faith of Jesus to all around them. As babies begin with milk, the apostle Paul says that the baby Christians should also drink the milk of the Word but when the Christian is mature, he should eat solid food. If you feed solid food to a baby Christian he will often choke, so there is great need of having a good understanding of what food is appropriate at all times so as not to discourage the baby Christian.
There are many people out of the church right now because they have choked. This often happens because the church is not being properly fed according to God’s principles. We have the responsibility to preach the present truth, not to compromise.
A church of believers worthy of imitating is a church teaching and practicing the truth and has a balance in church activities. Our God is a very organized and orderly God so His church is also properly organized and orderly waiting for His return.
Paul was very tactful in saying, “I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you.” I Corinthians 4:14. Often, new Christians can become extremists, or even go back to idol worship. The danger is always there so there is a need to stay faithful together and continue to grow together spiritually. Never fall into the delusion that you know it all and do not need to hear anything else. That is dangerous ground. When a person has confidence in himself/herself, he/she starts drifting and often does not even know it. We need to constantly stay connected, by way of communion with our Lord Jesus Christ, and to stay in unity for the honor and glory of God.
Paul commanded the Philippians to follow the examples of others. Philippians 3:17 says, “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an example.” In other words, follow the examples of those who are worthy and don’t follow the examples of those who are not worthy. Be wise. Paul said to follow the example of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God will, through the church that is worthy to imitate, direct you, teach you and show you the way to the Kingdom of Heaven. The true church of God is going to have trials. Trials are the method that God uses to make the church (His people) ready for the kingdom of heaven. If you are going through hard times and difficult moments you need to say, “Praise the Lord; He is working on me. He is making me worthy to inherit the kingdom of heaven.”
Daily consecration is necessary that He will work in and through us to reach out for His honor and glory. God can only work through consecrated people. When there is sin in the camp, God cannot work with the church. That is why the Lord told Joshua when Achan was in the camp, “I’m going to withdraw Myself from you because there is sin among you.” See Joshua 7:11, 12. On another occasion, the Lord says, “Joshua, tell the people to consecrate themselves today and tomorrow I will do wonders for them.” See Joshua 3:5.
If there is consecration today for the Lord, tomorrow, the Lord will do wonders for His people. We need to ask ourselves, “Lord, is there something in my life that is blocking the light from shining out in this community, or around the neighborhood where I live, or in my home? What do I have in my heart that is causing this place to be no longer a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit of God? Show me and give me your power to remove it, Lord. I want you to be the One to occupy this body, this temple that will give you honor and glory every day of my life.” When you truly consecrate your life to God, people will say, “I see something in this sister and this brother that I am really impressed to follow. I really want to know why I never see this person angry or cursing, or losing his temper. What is it that is making him happy all the time?”
Surrender to the Lord and let Him be your guide and then the whole church will be effective. Why? Then the church will grow because the image of Christ will be reflected in the countenance of each one in the church.
When Moses came down from the mountain after spending time with God, the children of Israel could not look at His face because it was so bright. He had been with God. The more time we spend together with the Lord, the more powerful, stronger and the more cleansed we will be, making the church more effective.
Today, we are in need of churches that will not compromise, but that will raise the standard of truth and bring honor and glory to God.
With Jesus Christ as our Lord and Master, we will be able to work together, understanding each other, loving each other, treating each other with respect and dignity and love. Our goal is to imitate Christ every step of the way; then the church will be firm, built on the rock. It will have one foundation, one purpose and one goal—to spread the Gospel to the world and to be ready when Jesus comes.
Do you want to go home? Let each person work together with his brother. We need to receive the Holy Spirit. The disciples were not ready to receive the Holy Spirit until they came together in unity. Only then were they baptized with the Holy Spirit. Our great need also is unity and the Holy Spirit.
What example are you being today? Make a commitment for the Lord today to make those necessary changes in your life so you will bring honor and glory to the Lord every day of your life and have the honor of being a role model worthy of imitation for others to follow.
Pastor Domingo Nunez is Director of Outreach Ministry for Steps to Life. He may be contacted by email at: domingonunez@stepstolife, or by telephone at: (316) 788-5559.