Is your church a “Great” church? I believe that every church can be a great church, if they are willing. I have never wanted to be a part of a mediocre church. Honestly, that has never been an ambition of my life. I am so glad I had a great mother; I never wanted a mediocre one. I am so glad that I had a great education at a great University; again I never wanted to attend a mediocre place of education. I am extremely grateful for a Great Wife. I think you get the point. I want to be a part of a Great Church. I believe every church can be a Great Church. What makes a church Great?
(1)A Great Church begins with the Great Confession.
In Matthew 16 Jesus asks the apostles, “Who do people say I am?” After hearing some of the responses of people that were not accurate, Jesus asks them, “Who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter spoke for them and said, “You are the Christ.” And it is on that foundational confession that Jesus says I will build my church.
There will not be any confusion in a Great Church about Jesus. A Great Church knows that He is the only begotten Son of God; that He is 100% God, and that He became 100% man. A Great Church will know that He is the only way to God.(John 14:6) A Great Church is a fellowship of people who have confessed Jesus Christ as LORD.
(2)A Great Church obeys the Great Commandment.
A Great Church knows that nothing is more important than obeying the Greatest of all commands. Jesus was unmistakably clear when asked by a student of God’s law, “What is the commandment that stands above all others?” He quoted what Israel called the Shema. “Hear O Israel, the LORD your God is one, and you shall love the LORD your God with all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your mind, and all of your strength.”
When Jesus sent the letters to the seven churches in Revelation, he commended the church in Ephesus for its many good works, before noting, “I have this against you; You have left your first love.” He didn’t say they had lost it. When you lose something it is accidental. Leaving means they walked away from the Greatest of Commandments. He warned if they did not repent, they would forfeit their status of being a church. (Take away your lamp stand).
You cannot be a Great Church unless you are obeying the Greatest Commandment.
(3)A Great Church seeks to fulfill the Great Commission.
A Great Church understands that Christ left the church here to carry out His mission. We are His ambassadors. He sets the parameters of our mission. We do not have any right to adjust or change it to suit our own preferences. He commissioned us to carry the Gospel to every people group, and to make disciples. He told us to teach them to obey all He taught. He doesn’t say teach them to “know”.
A Great Church is a missional church. It is a church that understands the simultaneous responsibility of reaching Jerusalem (people near us and similar to us), Judea (people not as near, but still similar to us), Samaria (people relatively near, but not at all similar to us), and the Ends of the earth (people neither similar or near to us).
(4)A Great Church practices the Great Compassion.
A Great Church understands that Jesus said, “When you do it to the least of these” you do it to me. We practice the compassion that Jesus modeled. We allow Jesus to love through us. We help the hungry, and the orphaned, and the widowed, and the stranger. We do not overlook the immigrants or the prisoners. We live compassionately, and through our compassion become the hands, the feet, the incarnation of Christ in a suffering world.
Is your church a great church? It is as great as these four characteristics define it to be.