This is in response to reading the linked article. The term megachurch =
applies to those churches that are not biblically sound but push towards =
a coming together of all religions and away from Christ. and does not =
point towards the biblical mega churches that proclaim Jesus Christ
Defining the biblical church
The church and how we got here.
http://www.realtruth.org/articles/418-trotm.html (A good article on the growing mega church)
The mega churches are growing at an alarming rate while mainstream churches are declining
Small churches are being replaced with renovated malls, movie theatres, and community centers filled with professing Christians.
Who are the people that fill these gathering places?
Are they a part of the body of Christ or are they a part of the church?
There is a difference!!!!
One opinion is that they could all be a part of the church without being a part of the body of Christ.
They could be those who were not truly converted but taught to repeat a prayer and say a few words and everything is going to be fine yet their hearts are not changed and they tend to live like it ? they can be called ?shallow converts?
Then you have those who were truly converted by Jesus ? Their hearts are *****ed and they have repented and they are walking with the Lord ? they can be called ?deep Christians.
While I believe that both constitute a church I can assure you that it didn?t just start in our times.
Acts 8 The shallow conversion
4 Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. 5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. 6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 And there was great joy in that city.
The Sorcerer?s Profession of Faith
9 But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great, 10 to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, ?This man is the great power of God.? 11 And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time. 12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. 13 Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.
The Sorcerer?s Sin
14 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, 15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
18 And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles? hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, 19 saying, ?Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.?
20 But Peter said to him, ?Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! 21 You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. 22 Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.?
24 Then Simon answered and said, ?Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me.?
25 So when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.
Acts 8 The deeper conversion
26 Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, ?Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.? This is desert. 27 So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, ?Go near and overtake this chariot.?
30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, ?Do you understand what you are reading??
31 And he said, ?How can I, unless someone guides me?? And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 The place in the Scripture which he read was this:
? He was led as a sheep to the slaughter;
And as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
33 In His humiliation His justice was taken away,
And who will declare His generation?
For His life is taken from the earth.?[b]
34 So the eunuch answered Philip and said, ?I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?? 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. 36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, ?See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized??
37 Then Philip said, ?If you believe with all your heart, you may.?
And he answered and said, ?I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.?[c]
38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. 39 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.
In both episodes, each man when through the same things, yet the difference was the state of each persons heart
Either our question is ?What is in it for me or what is in it for God??
Who was truly converted?
Was it about the state of our sinfulness or to feel better about our situation?
This leads me to ask the question
Who and what is the church for?
Who was it created for?
Is it for the lost or for the child of God?
Is it for both?
Can both dwell in it together?
The answer to that would be ?Not willingly for fellowship but for spreading the gospel of Jesus?
2 Corinthians 6:13-15
Whose church is it and who needs it?
And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
The unsaved don?t need church ? they need Christ!!!!
5 Thomas said to Him, ?Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way??
6 Jesus said to him, ?I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
The Father Revealed
7 ?If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.?
The body of Christ needs the church.
We need the fellowship with each other.
We need the worship to God.
We need the instruction in doctrine.
We need the exhortation to live holy
We need the commission to go out to reach the unsaved
But how do we define a biblical church in an age of mysticism and meditative Christianity where people are looking for God everywhere He is not!
How do we reflect a biblical outlook on an age and cultures that is filled with cookie-cutter big-box mega churches that entertain and amaze people while all they need is the simplicity of Christ?
1) It is Spirit organized ? Acts 2:38-47
1 Corinthians 14:26-40
Many folks are leaving the church in order to start home-churches or no church at all in order to find Jesus. Some do and some find more than what they bargained for.
Why do these folks want to leave?
Is it a good thing or a bad thing?
Some say that church is boring; some say that it is not relevant today. Some say that it is pagan. Some like the entertaining churches better.
The truth is that we do need order in church because the alternative is chaos but we don?t need order for orders sake ? we can?t make it so orderly that we become comfortable and we quench the spirit.
2) It is organic ? Acts 2:38-47
It is grown out of the people ? the community ? the body of Christ.
3) It is headless ? Jesus Christ is the head of the body ? He is the head of the church
Ephesians 1:10-23, 5:23
4) It is biblical in it?s doctrine ? Acts 2:42
The thing to look for ? What kind of gospel is preached there?
Is it an easy gospel? One in which God loves you no matter what so just be yourself!
Matthew 7:13-14 (New King James Version)
13 ?Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Is it relevant to culture?
Does it focus on your needs only or your biggest need ? Jesus Christ and the need for salvation?
Does it have a biblical outlook on sin?
When you say, ?God made me that way,? you are telling a lie
When you have someone say, ?I was born that way,? they are telling the truth.
The truth is that WE ARE born that way. The homosexual, the bi-sexual, the adulterer, the liar, the thief are all born that way ? in sin. We are all born under and in sin, not because we sin but we sin because we are already a sinner and the only one who can cleanse us form sin is Jesus Christ!!!
Does it have an easy gospel message?
Is this a seeker sensitive Jesus?
Is this a positive message Jesus to tickle the ears?
Is Jesus trying to meet this young man?s needs?
Did Jesus love this young man?
And yet He let him walk away. Would we?
5) It is together in it?s fellowship ? Acts 2:44-47
Jesus chose 12 people of varying backgrounds to follow Him and I He did so from the evidence of scripture.
They learned to be with Jesus
They learned to walk with Him
They learned to follow Him
They also learned to walk with each other, to serve one another, and to love one another
Denominations ? ?To make a name for?
A large group of religious congregations
One of a series of kinds, values, or sizes
A name or designation, especially for a class or group
We are powerful when we come together (Genesis 11:1-8) 1 Corinthians 12:14-31
But this power has been watered down by divisions because we don?t have the last ingredient 1Corinthians 13 ? LOVE
6) It is a Spirit ?driven church
Not purpose driven
Not program driven
Not popularity driven
Not personality driven
Not people driven
7) It is God-centered in its worship
We are here to worship God and glorify His Son. He is our only audience
This is a sacrifice to Him not entertainment for others or us
8) It is Christ-centered in its doctrine
Jesus is lifted up! His gospel is preached! He is completely in both Testaments
Jesus came to finish redemption
He came to be an example of how to be a Kingdom citizen
He came to establish His church ? the body
9) It is worldly-minded in its commission
10) It is discipleship-minded in its focus
The cults assign a mentor to help each new convert. They study with them and teach them the doctrine of that cult and they are available when needed.
Why can?t we, the body of Christ, we who have the truth, why can?t we do the same with each new babe in Christ?
Why don?t we teach and preach the simple doctrine of the Godhead to begin with.
1) God the Father
His relationship to mankind
2) God the Son
His relationship to mankind
3) God the Spirit
His relationship to mankind