Figuratively, the church is the actual body of believers ("body of Christ" - Romans 12:5; Ephesians 4:12) who by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (John 3:16), who died on the cross for their sins (Romans 5:8), and rose again (1 Thessalonians 4:14); they have repented of their sins (Acts 20:21) and put their trust in Christ alone as the only way of salvation (John 14:6) and only hope of eternal life (John 5:24). They have been marked by God with the seal of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14), Who dwells in them (Romans 8:9-10; 1 Corinthians 12:13).
The local church is a gathering of the body of Christ, who meet together to: fellowship (Acts 2:41-42), worship God, receive instruction from God's Word, and participate in church ordinances: communion (the Lord's Supper - Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:17-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-24; Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 11:17-33) and baptism (Matthew 28:19-20; Romans 6:3-4; Acts 19:1-5; Acts 2:41; Acts 8:26-40). The mission of the local church is to glorify God (accurately represent and reflect Him in everything) by leading believers toward maturity through worship, instruction, fellowship and evangelism. Jesus Christ is the head of the church (Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 5:23).
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Nine Marks of a Healthy ChurchThe 9 Marks of a Healthy Church
The Deliberate Church
Mark Dever & Paul Alexander
To Be or Not To Be a Church Member, That is the Question
The Master's Plan for the Church
Handbook of Church Discipline
The Meaning & Mode of Baptism
Additional Book Resources
1. Expositional Preaching
This is preaching which expounds what Scripture says in a particular passage, carefully explaining its meaning and applying it to the congregation. It is a commitment to hearing God’s Word and to recovering the centrality of it in our worship.
2. Biblical Theology
Paul charges Titus to "teach what is in accord with sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1). Our concern should be not only with how we are taught, but with what we are taught. Biblical theology is a commitment to know the God of the Bible as He has revealed Himself in Scripture.
3. Biblical Understanding of the Good News
The gospel is the heart of Christianity. But the good news is not that God wants to meet people's felt needs or help them develop a healthier self-image. We have sinfully rebelled against our Creator and Judge. Yet He has graciously sent His Son to die the death we deserved for our sin, and He has credited Christ's acquittal to those who repent of their sins and believe in Jesus' death and resurrection. That is the good news.
4. Biblical Understanding of Conversion
The spiritual change each person needs is so radical, so near the root of us, that only God can do it. We need God to convert us. Conversion need not be an emotionally heated experience, but it must evidence itself in godly fruit if it is to be what the Bible regards as a true conversion.
5. Biblical Understanding of Evangelism
How someone shares the gospel is closely related to how he understands the gospel. To present it as an additive that gives non-Christians something they naturally want (i.e. joy or peace) is to present a half-truth, which elicits false conversions. The whole truth is that our deepest need is spiritual life, and that new life only comes by repenting of our sins and believing in Jesus. We present the gospel openly, and leave the converting to God.
6. Biblical Understanding of Membership
Membership should reflect a living commitment to a local church in attendance, giving, prayer and service; otherwise it is meaningless, worthless, and even dangerous. We should not allow people to keep their membership in our churches for sentimental reasons or lack of attention. To be a member is knowingly to be traveling together as aliens and strangers in this world as we head to our heavenly home.
7. Biblical Church Discipline
Church discipline gives parameters to church membership. The idea seems negative to people today – “didn’t our Lord forbid judging?” But if we cannot say how a Christian should not live, how can we say how he or she should live? Each local church actually has a biblical responsibility to judge the life and teaching of its leaders, and even of its members, particularly insofar as either could compromise the church’s witness to the gospel.
8. Promotion of Christian Discipleship and Growth
A pervasive concern with church growth exists today – not simply with growing numbers, but with growing members. Though many Christians measure other things, the only certain observable sign of growth is a life of increasing holiness, rooted in Christian self-denial. These concepts are nearly extinct in the modern church. Recovering true discipleship for today would build the church and promote a clearer witness to the world.
9. Biblical Understanding of LeadershipChurch Emphasis
What eighteenth-century Baptists and Presbyterians often agreed upon was that there should be a plurality of elders in each local church. This plurality of elders is not only biblical, but practical — it has the immense benefit of rounding out the pastor’s gifts to ensure the proper shepherding of God’s church.
- Mark Dever, 9 Marks.org Visit 9 Marks to learn more
We emphasize the TRIUNE God
Ephesians 1:3-14; 1:17-23; 3:16; 4:30; 5:18; 6:17-18
We emphasize the SCRIPTURE
Ephesians 6:17b; Colossians 3:16; II Timothy 3:16; II Peter 1:3-4
We emphasize the CROSS
Ephesians 1:7; 2:13; 2:8-9
We emphasize a serious view of SIN
Ephesians 2:1-3; 4:17-19
We emphasize the BODY of Christ
Ephesians 3:21; 1:20
We emphasize WORSHIP
Ephesians 1:3-14; 4:1
We emphasize PROGRESSIVE SANCTIFICATION
Ephesians 4; Colossians 1:28
- Cornerstone Baptist, Roseville, MI, cbcroseville.org
Church Principles and Governing Core Values
The Biblical principles which we will not compromise but will use to define our ministry.
We Value Prayer
Eph. 1:18; 3:14-19; 6:18; Colossians 4:2-4 - Prayer expresses our utter dependency upon God.
We Value People
Eph. 1:4, 18-19; 5:25-30 - Jesus died for people, not brick, mortar or programs. People reflect the image of God in a way that buildings and programs cannot.
We Value Equipping People
Eph. 4:11-16 - Training every believer to minister to one another is God's plan for maturity, unity and growth.
We Value Integrity
Eph. 4:15; 4:1; 5:8-10, Col. 3:9, Prov 28:13, I John 1:6-10 - A genuine relationship with God demands that a believer deals with his sin rather than covering it and therefore has nothing to hide in his private life.
We Value Family
Eph. 5:21-6:4 - Families, growing God's way, are essential to individual stability and to the health of the Church - both present and future.
We Value a Servant's Spirit
Matt. 20:26, Col. 3:17, Eph. 4:2,16; 5:1,25 - Giving of ourselves to meet the needs of others is our response to God's mercy and grace. A servant's spirit should be evident in all believers, especially those in leadership.
We Value Stewardship
Eph. 2:10; 5:15-17, 22-6:9; 6:7-8, Col. 3:2 (thinking, talent, time and treasure) - Everything that we are and have belongs to God. Our response should be to use it all to please Him.
We Value Caring
Eph. 4:2, 31-32; Col. 3:12-13 - As believers respond to each other with compassion, concern and forgiveness, Christ is exalted and the Church grows in unity.
We Value Communication
Eph. 4:15, 29 - The Church, like the human body depends on all its parts working together. Loving and honest communication is required among all believers.
We Value Unity
Col. 3:15; Eph. 4:1-3, 11-13 - We are in union with all who have accepted Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior and should treat them with love. In our local church, practical unity is based on our understanding of God's Word and philosophy of ministry.
We Value Dependence Upon The Holy Spirit
Eph. 1:13-14; 17-19; 3:16; 5:18; 6:17,18 - We cannot grow spiritually without the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
We Value Our Personal Responsibility To Evangelize Lost People
Matt. 28: 19-20 - Each believer has the awesome responsibility of communicating the message of God's grace with lost people because God wants lost people to be saved.
- Cornerstone Baptist, Roseville, MI, cbcroseville.org
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