God has ordained a pattern for the New Testament church in His word. Churches that seek to please Him must heed His word on every matter, from worship to organization to moral behavior. The purpose of the church is to glorify God (Eph. 3:20-21), so let us consider some habits that will help us to honor and glorify Him more.
The Habit of Crucified Lives — “Love not the world…” (1 John 2:15). The church is NOT something we do; rather it is something we are. The called-out people of God are to make a habit of rejecting the value system of this present world and embracing the values of God (Col. 3:5-17). Highly effective churches emphasize internal character and a righteousness that comes from the heart (Matt. 5:3-20).
The Habit of Zeal — “Zeal for Your house has eaten me up” (Ps. 69:9). The church at Laodicea was condemned for being lukewarm (Rev. 3:14-22). Jesus cast out the money changers in the temple because of zeal for what is holy (John 2). Being zealous means that we are supremely concerned (“boiling over”) with the will of God (Matt. 26:39).
The Habit of Balance — “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it…” (Deut. 4:2). It’s easy to emphasize some commands while neglecting others. Some congregations emphasize relationships but not sound doctrine. Others emphasize ministry among the members but not leadership or personal holiness. Would we not be wise to emphasizeall the things that God teaches in His word? That’s what it means to be truly balanced.
The Habit of Evangelism — “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few” (Luke 10:2). Churches that please God make a habit of finding and cultivating prospects. Every person in the church touches the life of a lost soul in a way that nobody else does. What will the saved do with such an obligation? If the Gospel really is good news, why would the church be ashamed of it (Rom. 1:16)?
The Habit of Involvement — “The thing you do is not good; both you and these people who are with you will wear yourselves out… you are not able to perform it by yourself” (Exodus 18:17-18). Just as Moses could not judge every matter in Israel alone, so it is foolish for the work of the Lord’s church to be done by just a few. Truly sound churches seek to involve people in the Lord’s work (cf. Acts 6:1-7).
The Habit of “Owning” the Work — “No church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only” (Phil. 4:15ff). Sound churches do not send money to mission fields without fervent prayer. Too easily mission efforts can become, “out of sight, out of mind.” This was evidently not the case in Scripture, however. Sending money to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a matter of fellowship (Phil. 1:5ff). It’s useless to give without really loving the work of the Lord (1 Cor. 13:3). Sound churches make sure their funds and their hearts are in the right place.
The Habit of Dependence — “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). Sound churches make a habit of depending on God. Their prayers reflect a desire to see God’s will done on earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:9-10). Their speech always gives credit to God, being filled with boasting about God’s will being done (cf. 2 Cor. 8:1-7; Gal. 6:14). Truly sound churches genuinely believe that without God they are wholly insufficient. Nothing significant is ever accomplished in this life without God’s powerful hand (Phil. 2:12-13). —JB