The Family of God
What is it about a church that makes it successful?
This week, I want to bear my heart in these few short thoughts. As of late, I have been very thankful for Truth Fellowship Live. As we consider churches, by normal measures used today. TFL does not have hundreds of people who attend each week. Nor do we have a million dollar budget. These are the common measures used to measure church success these days. But, going to a large church with all possible programs and money to spend does not make a church successful.
I have been in large churches and I have been in small churches. In all, the Bible tells us best what makes a successful church—it is not number of people or programs or money. Instead, it is faith, hope, and love. These are qualities that can be expressed in large churches and small churches. I am thankful that I have been in a number of churches that demonstrate these traits—Truth Fellowship Live being the latest. Colossians 1:3–5 says,
“We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel…” (NKJV).
In this passage, Paul is praising God for the Church is Colossae. This his thanksgiving consists of three components.
Faith involves the believer looking upward toward God. Faith is only possible because of the past-work of Jesus. This is the Easter season. Easter is the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, the heart of what we believe. Indeed, remembering the resurrection is vital for the health of the followers of Christ. God’s great compassion and love for the world resulted in Him sending His Son to pay the penalty for our sin by dying on the Cross. Easter is the celebration, not only that He died for us, but that He alone arose from the dead.
Love looks outward to others; love works in the present. Even though “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb 11:6), and “hope does not disappoint us” (Rom 5:5), nevertheless “the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor 13:13). The Colossians’ love extended to “all the saints” (Col 1:4), or all believers—probably not only at those in the church at Colossae but everywhere.
Hope looks forward to the future—hope anticipates the future. Faith and love “spring from” (because or on account of) “hope.” Hope is confidence in what God will do in the future. This confidence ultimately leads to a greater trust in God and a deeper love for others. The confident expectation of Christ’s return, called “the blessed hope” (Titus 2:13), influences believers’ conduct (cf. 1 Thes. 4:13–18; 1 John 3:3). Hope is laid up … in heaven because Christ, the essence of this hope, is there. Without Christ’s Ascension to heaven and His present intercession on behalf of believers, there would no hope. This message is the Word of truth of the gospel.
This trilogy of virtue—faith, love, and hope—is a favorite of Paul’s (cf. 1 Cor. 13:13; 1 Thes. 1:3) and Peter’s (1 Peter 1:3, 5, 22) because these are true measures of the success of a church.
Thanks to the TFL family
I am thankful to the small band of believers at TFL who have, to a person, demonstrated the success of this small church. During the difficult time we have faced in my household, these people have demonstrated their love for my family—my wife, my daughter, and me. Their honest concern for us has carried us along when I know I could not go another step forward. Thank you TFL.
What has impressed me even more greatly is the faith that the people of TFL have demonstrated. Seldom do we really understand how God is working and what His intentions are concerning us as individuals. The people of TFL have always had the confidence that our lives in Christ allowed us peace with God and access to Him (Rom 5:1-6). Even in my weakness, TFL lifted me up to remember His great love for us. Thank you TFL.
Most of all, the folks at TFL have spurred me on to keep the hope I have in God through Christ Jesus. I must admit that I have little hope regarding the future of my daughter—in this life. But if our hope was only regarding this life, we would have little to hope in. Our hope is in the future that God has promised to all who trust in Him. My daughter does trust in Christ, so no matter what happens in the future of this life, we are all eternally God’s people. Thank you TFL for bringing me back to the hope we have through Christ.
So, by the measure of the Bible, TFL is successful because it is actively demonstrating faith, love, and hope. Thank you TFL.
I hope you are going to a church that is successful. If not, you might want to consider TFL to find the faith, love, and hope.
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August 28, 2017 (1:12 pm)
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