What makes a strong Church?

If we love the Lord we of necessity must love His church and want to see it grow and prosper.  We think of some churches as being strong and others as weak.  But what makes the difference? Some make the same mistake that Samuel made when selecting a king for Israel.  Some of us may use the wrong criteria in determining whether the church where we worship is strong or not.
1 Samuel 16:6-7 (ESV) “⁶When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.’ ⁷But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.’”
God’s measurement of a strong church and man’s idea often differ.  Take, for instance, the church at Laodicea in Revelation 3:14-18.  We learn some valuable lessons here:
A church rich in worldly wealth is not necessarily a great church.
A church which has a beautiful and expensive meeting house is not necessarily a great church.
A church may not be truly strong or great that has a large membership
A church may not be strong even though they have a reputation for being
Two other churches from Revelation 3 further teach us that appearances and reputation don’t equal strength in the eyes of the Lord.    
Revelation 3:1 (ESV) “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.”
Revelation 3:7-8 (ESV) “⁷And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens. ⁸I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”
A strong church is one then that is well taught in the Word of God; whose members are faithful to the Lord.  A church cannot be stronger than its individual members.  Furthermore, a strong church enjoys unity among the membership and is rich in good works of faith.  It’s a glorious privilege to be a Christian, a member of the body of Christ.  Along with that membership comes a serious responsibility of helping maintain the strength and integrity of a local congregation to the glory of God.    We should strive to be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem of being a divided assembly.

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