You Have Been Married Twice. Believe It!

Every Christian has been married twice and the second marriage is always better than the first. Our first marriage is always terrible. Our second marriage is always not only better, but the best. How can we get out of our first and worst marriage and get into our second and best marriage? How can we remarry for the better?


American law has authority and dominion over us as long as we live but death frees us from the law’s authority and our obligation to obey it. That’s true whether it’s criminal law, civil law, tax law, etc. When we die, our relationship to the laws of America dies, it comes to an end. American law has no more concern with us and we have no concern with it. The general principle is that death ends the law’s relationship to us and ours to it.

What’s true of American law, is also true of God’s law, as the Apostle Paul explains: “The law is binding on a person only as long as he lives” (1). He uses the example of marriage to prove his point: “A married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage” (2). Therefore “if she lives with another man while her husband is alive” then “she shall be called an adulteress” (3). The law condemns her and sentences her. “But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress” (4).

The basic legal and biblical principle is that death ends the law’s authority, our relationship to the law, and our obligation to obey the law, and any penalty of the law for our disobedience.” That’s true of our relationship to human laws (like marriage laws) and our relationship to God’s laws. How can we get free from the demanding and condemning authority of God’s law? We are married to it as long as we live. As long as we are alive we are married to God’s law. We are bound to it, in a marriage relationship with it as long as we live, and only death can release us from this marriage and give us the freedom to enjoy a second and better marriage.

What is our first marriage like?


For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death (5).

It’s a loveless marriage

We are born in an unhappy relationship with the law. The law commands, criticizes, convicts, condemns, and curses, and hates us. It never praises, never compliments, never supports, never encourages, never appreciates, never rewards, and never loves. As a result, we hate it, argue with it, fight it, oppose it, ignore it, and even provoke it by doing the opposite.

It’s a lawless marriage

“Living in the flesh” means living in a human nature that is controlled and directed by sin. There’s a difference between “flesh” being in Christians and being “in the flesh.” Christians will have “flesh” in them as long as they live, but non-Christians are “in the flesh.” It’s not just that sin is in them but they are in sin.

When someone is “in the flesh” their “sinful passions [are] aroused by the law..” In other words the law provokes lawlessness. That’s not the law’s fault, that’s our fault. Because of our flesh, the law arouses, motivates, empowers, and encourages our sinful passions into hotter and greater sinful passions. Just like the dunghill smells worse when the sun shines on it, so our flesh smells worse when the law comes into contact with us. Just as the gentle stream turns into a raging torrent when the gorge is narrowed, so the law increases the power and current of sin. The law produces lawlessness. A law-marriage is a lawless marriage.

It’s a fruitless marriage

Because our flesh was rotten, the fruit of that flesh was rotten too, so rotten that it was deadly. It reeked of death, was worthy of death, and would end in eternal death. However good the fruit looks in an unbelieving life, it is dead and rotten to God (Rom.8:8).


Are you still married to the law? Do you not see how awful this marriage is: loveless, lawless, fruitless? How’s it working out for you? Do you not want a happy marriage, a better life?

Do you want out of this marriage? The only way out is death, but it’s a certain kind of death. It’s by union with the death of Christ. We “have died to the law through the body of Christ” (4). When Christ died, he was released from the law’s condemning power and authority. He was made under the law but satisfied all the demands of the law in his life and all the penalties of the law in his death. We cannot live that life or die that death, but Christ can and did. When we unite to him by faith, we are regarded as having lived his life and died his death. We are separated from the law as a way of salvation or sanctification. The law’s hold on us is dead. The law’s condemnation is dead. The law’s sentence is dead. We “have died to the law through the body of Christ” (4). The law is silenced. Its mouth is stopped. It’s claims are dismissed.


What does this second marriage look like?


It’s a loving marriage

Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another (4).

When death ends a marriage, the living partner is free to remarry, the law opens the door to a second marriage. When the law dies, we are free to remarry and belong to another. In this case, we are freed to be married to Christ and belong to him. We are his, happily his, all his. And he is mine, happily mine, all mine.

It’s a powerful marriage

But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code (6).

When we are married to Christ we are not only released from weakness, we are married to the one who rose from the dead, with all the power involved in that. The result is that we then “serve God in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.” When we were married to the law, we had no power to keep the law, satisfy the law, or escape the law’s captivity. When we marry Christ, he sends his Holy Spirit into our hearts with new light, love, and life. That completely transforms the way we serve and obey God. We have power instead of powerlessness. The law-marriage produced law-disobedience. Christ-marriage produces law-obedience. We obey not as a bargaining tool but out of love and gratitude to God. We are freed from the law to serve God with spiritual power.

It’s a fruitful marriage

In order that we may bear fruit for God (4).

Instead of grace killing good works, it produces them. Our first marriage had a barren womb, our second one has lots of children. Our first marriage was a bare orchard of dead trees, our second marriage is packed full with all kinds of fruitful trees.


Do you want to remarry? Why stay in such a loveless, lawless, fruitless, abusive marriage one day longer? There’s a new marriage waiting for you. Just say, “I do!” and it will change everything.

Do you want a fruitful life? Don’t be a bigamist. Many Christians are bigamists. They are truly dead to the law and united to Christ, but they live as if they are married both to the law and to Christ. They grasp Christ’s grace but often go back to the law’s clutches too. They have access to Christ’s forgiveness of sin and power to serve God, but they can still resort to their old marriage when they wallow in guilt or try to serve in their own strength. Trying to keep two marriages going is such an stressful and unproductive way to live. Be exclusively committed to Christ and you’ll enjoy full and free forgiveness and spiritual power to serve God and produce much fruit.

David Murray

Our Samaria

I sometimes wonder what the disciples were thinking when they said yes to following Jesus. Today we have the New Testament to let us know what we are getting ourselves into, but they did not have that. What did they have to go on? Jesus was already presenting differently than the Jews expected Messiah to come. He was born of parents who were not of a priestly tribe, raised in Galilee, and was essentially homeless. There were no fact-checkers and no blue check to verify His social identity. Without the knowledge of the gospel that you have today, would you follow this man? Yet the disciples did, and He took them through many life-changing experiences.

One of the most critical detours Jesus called His disciples to make on their journey was through Samaria to have a conversation with an unsuspecting woman at a well.

In John 4 we read about Jesus making a trip from the Judean countryside back to His hometown of Galilee. The most direct way to make the trip was to go through Samaria, but there was an issue. Jews and Samaritans did not get along. The tension between the two was so bad that if a Jew came into contact with a Samaritan, they would have to go to the temple to cleanse themselves before they were permitted to reenter society.

Jews making the journey from Judea to Galilee would travel seventy miles out of the way just to avoid Samaria. This had become their way of life; there was no questioning it, and there was no room for negotiation. Jews and Samaritans did not mix. Jesus was setting them up to go into the part of town where they were not welcome and where the negative feeling was mutual. A hard line had been drawn, a division that dated back for many years, and there was no hope for reconciliation. They just decided to be apart and stay apart.

We Need to Go Through Samaria Too

But Jesus told His disciples, a group of Jewish men, that they needed to go through Samaria this time. I love how the Bible doesn’t mention any resistance from the disciples, which makes me wonder what they thought about this: What do You mean we have to go through Samaria? Because we actually don’t have to go through Samaria. No one, no Jew, goes through Samaria, so why do we have to?

This was not an optional invitation for them, and it isn’t for us either. Jesus was about to carry His love outside the lines and go to Samaria to have a life-altering conversation with a woman who needed it. As followers of Christ we are to do the same.

The Messiah did not come for just a select few; He did not come just for people who looked like Him, grew up like Him, or spoke His language. Jesus came for all, and the disciples had a front-row seat to that.

This earth is not our home; we are on a journey to our heavenly residence, and there are some stops we must make along the way. There is no going around it — we need to go through it. If we are called, if we are truly living out the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations, then that means we must go where all people are and not just some people.

What’s your Samaria?

Jimmy Rollins

A King That Suffers

Through the reign of David, the role and responsibility of the king of Israel is beginning to become clearer. But still, what we have are not much more than a few disparate, disconnected shards of meaning. The king would represent. And the king would suffer. But what do those have to do with each other, and how do they lead to salvation? To be sure, Israel had an understanding already of vicarious suffering, of sacrifice—one thing suffering for another, dying so that another wouldn’t have to. But what does that kind of thing have to do with the king? It’s not at all clear. Sacrifice, representation, suffering, the kingship—all lying there like the shards of Narsil. What do they mean? And what do they become when you put them together? The answer to those questions would begin to come clear as the prophets revealed more of God’s plan and purpose.

By the end of David’s life, it was abundantly clear that he wasn’t the one who was finally going to bring salvation to the world. In his wake, the kingdom split, Assyria invaded the north, and king after king proved to be colossal failures to meet God’s standard for kingship in Israel. Through all these centuries, though—at least four of them—the prophets picked up these threads of kingship, union, representation, and suffering, and began to weave them together into a breathtaking picture of a King who would represent his people by suffering for them, and so save them from their sins. Let’s look at two places in the prophets where this picture is forged.

The book of Isaiah is composed of three smaller books that combine into one brilliant prophetic message. The first might best be called the book of the king. In it God reaffirms his determination, even in the wake of Uzziah’s awful death, to keep the now-piled-up promises of Genesis 3, Numbers 24, 2 Samuel 7, and Psalm 2 to send a Messianic King to set all things right.

But then there’s the second part of Isaiah, which we might call the book of the suffering servant. This second book describes a person, the servant of the Lord, who suffers in the place of his people as a sacrifice for their sins. But the shocker is that as you read Isaiah, you realize that this promised King and this suffering servant are one and the same person. You see? The shards are coming together. Through the book of Isaiah, you can start to see how the king’s representation of the people and the king’s suffering fit together. God’s promises to save his people would be fulfilled by a King who would not just suffer but would suffer as the representative sacrifice in the place of his people—for them, in their place. The book of Zechariah makes the same point, but with a dramatic image.

The book focuses on the two main offices in Israel—priest and king. To understand its message, though, you have to understand that since the fall in Eden, those two offices had been kept complementary but, with few exceptions, strictly separate. In fact, in large part it was forbidden for the king to perform the duties of a priest. When King Uzziah tried, God struck him with leprosy, and he died outside the city of Jerusalem in a village of lepers. So at the outset, Zechariah says—quite unsurprisingly at first—that God intends to save his people through those two offices, the priest and the king. The prophetic vision of Zechariah 3 introduces Joshua the high priest, and the vision of Zechariah 4 introduces Zerubabbel the governor (the closest thing Israel had to a king in the years following their return to Jerusalem). But then something astonishing happens: “And the word of the Lord came to me: ‘Take from the exiles . . . who have arrived from Babylon. . . . Take from them silver and gold, and make crowns, and set it on the head of Joshua . . . the high priest” (Zech. 6:9–11).1

Two details in those verses are intended to capture your attention as a reader. For one thing, notice that Zechariah is initially told to take the silver and gold and make crowns, plural—two of them. But then he’s told to take it—singular, one crown—and set it on somebody’s head. Whose head? That’s the second thing: Zechariah is told to crown not Zerubbabel the governor, but Joshua the high priest. Given the separation between king and priest, the crowning of Joshua is an absolutely stunning development, so much in fact that some scholars have insisted that Zechariah must have gotten the name wrong and it really was Zerubbabel who was crowned. But actually, that’s the whole point! The crowning of Joshua is an acted-out parable to show that one day, kingship and priesthood would be merged together—two crowns forged into one. No longer would there be a priest who would atone and perform sacrifices for sin and a king who would rule and represent and suffer. Instead, there would be a single, united priest-king who would represent the people by offering himself as a sacrifice for them.

Zechariah ends his book by driving all of this home, prophesying that the people of Israel ultimately would reject their King, pierce him, and run him through—and that, gloriously, salvation and redemption will result from his death. Just as water flowed from the stricken rock on which God stood, just as life resulted from the spilled blood of the Passover lamb, so the death of the King would bring salvation. Ultimately, that’s what being king meant; this is what the king does. He stands in the place of his people to absorb the wrath that should have fallen on them.

Salvation for God’s People

Of course all of this comes to its ultimate end and goal and fulfillment when the angel says to Joseph about his fiancée, Mary, “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). By the beginning of his ministry, Jesus was well aware that God had appointed him King of Israel, and he also knew what being king meant. To take the crown, to be the king, was also to be the suffering servant who would die to save his people. So he said in Mark 10:45 that he had come to “give his life as a ransom for many,” and in John 10:11 that he would “lay down his life for the sheep,” and ultimately in Matthew 26:28 that his blood was about to be “poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

Through Jesus’s sacrificial death on the cross and resurrection, the curtain in the temple is torn in two as people are brought back into God’s presence . . .

Even at his baptism, Jesus was marked out as the King who would die for his people. We saw in the last chapter how the words “This is my beloved Son” marked Jesus as the eternal Son of God and as the King of Israel (Matt. 3:17). But that second phrase—“with whom I am well-pleased”—is certainly God’s honest opinion of his Son, but it is also a quotation of Isaiah 42:1, which introduces the suffering servant of the Lord. Thus with those few words from heaven, God was setting on Jesus’s head the triple crown—the crown of heaven as God’s Son, the crown of Israel as the long-awaited Messiah, and the crown of thorns as the suffering servant who would save his people by representing them and finally dying in their place.

It’s wonderful, isn’t it, how all of these themes that make up the epic story of the Bible—God’s presence, God’s covenants, the kingship, and sacrifice—all weave together in various ways until they come to rest on the crowned head of Jesus Christ! You can see how it all comes together. Through Jesus’s sacrificial death on the cross and resurrection, the curtain in the temple is torn in two as people are brought back into God’s presence, the new covenant is inaugurated by which God binds himself to his people once and for all, and Satan—the dragon, that serpent of old—is fully and finally defeated by the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Greg Gilber

The Waiting Room

The King returns to his kingdom after a long journey. His castle stands tall. The banners flap above the fortress. The soldiers still wear his colors and speak his language. All is as it was, externally.

He first notices something amiss as he walks among the people. They still consult his precious book he left them — but not with one eye anxious for his return. The people keep many of his wise precepts, it is true, yet he himself is little sought after, little missed. He overhears prayer in his name, yet few gaze over the walls, pleading at the heavens for him to come again.

How many have made his return their lifelong psalm?

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
     and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
     more than watchmen for the morning,
     more than watchmen for the morning. (Psalm 130:5–6)

We have his laws, his book, his name, his people, his songs, his ordinances — but not him as he intended it to be. Have we really noticed? Have his good gifts become enough for us? Are you and I really waiting for him to return?

Behold, He Comes

The final picture of the church recorded in Scripture shows her in a posture of yearning. Her best hopes and expectations find summary in one word: Come!

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” (Revelation 22:17)
Come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20)

When the deep enchantments of worldliness wears off, we better hear this groaning of the Spirit within, crying out for Jesus to return to us. This alone is the consummation of heaven for God’s people:

Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. (Revelation 21:3)

Immanuel, God with us, is not just his Christmas name. This must be his everlasting name, lest our heaven live elsewhere.

A tearless eternity? Pointless, if the King of glory is not there to wipe sorrows away. Reigning on the throne of the cosmos? Child’s play, if we reign not with him. The death of death, the abolition of sin, perfection of life with angels and endless comforts? A cage and a prison, if Christ be not with us. The insistence at the bottom of every born-again heart, the one desire it will not be refused: Come, Lord Jesus!

Come Quickly

It is not enough for our faith to know simply that Jesus is coming back. Eventually works drowsiness and mischief in our hearts. Unintentionally, we banish him to the ever-Tomorrow, the distant Never. We no longer expect him anytime soon, so we drop anchor and make do without him. “Your kingdom come,” we begin to pray from memory, but not from the heart.

Thus, in the final chapter of Scripture, Jesus tells us more.

Behold, I am coming soon. (Revelation 22:7)

Behold, I am coming soon. (Revelation 22:12)

Surely I am coming soon. (Revelation 22:20)

He exclaims that he is not just coming, but coming quickly. This little adverb moves his return from inevitable to imminent, from someday to any day.

Jesus would have us waiting, expectant, peeking again and again at the clouds with childlike anticipation. Quickly sends us to live atop the watchtower, squints for his appearance upon the horizon. Jesus would not have his people take naps at the news of his return.

Stay awake — for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning — lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake. (Mark 13:35–37)

He wants us talking about his return, hoping in his return, praying for his return. He expects us to trim our lamps, prepare the house, and ready the Master’s favorite meal. He is coming back, soon.

Counting Time

How do we appropriate this revelation two thousand years later? Quickly, the scoffer thinks. Two thousand years stretches the word beyond credibility. How can we truly believe such a promise?

What is this but the insect speaking back to the mountains about time? The God spanning everlasting to everlasting — not the gnat of a few seconds — says quickly. The forest of Lebanon — not the housefly — bellows, “I come soon.” We sprout in the morning and die in the afternoon; his roots go deep. The Ancient of Days is his name.

The humble psalmist teaches Israel to sing to her Maker, “A thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night” (Psalm 90:4). The apostle tells us not to overlook this fact, “that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8). Generations of men have come and passed; his moon has only seen two nights. He “is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness” (2 Peter 3:9).

And he waits purposefully. He waits for the last sheep to come into the fold, and then he shall return. Yet his return will be swift and when most do not expect. As with the final days of Sodom and Gomorrah, or the last morning before the Flood, when he comes, all wedding planning, football games, and vacations will be rendered obsolete.

Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. (Revelation 22:12–13)

Men will reap what they have sown. Repent and believe.

For Love and War

Christian, your Lord comes quickly. Does this not speak of your Savior’s love?

As the Bride cries, “Come! Come! Come!” he does not respond, “Fear not; I will come back when I get around to it.” He doesn’t say he’ll add it to his list. He assures, “Behold, I will come with haste, with intention, in earnest.” Quickly lays this promise upon our hearts: “I will not tarry a moment beyond what is best.”

Once the last recipient of my crimson blood is washed, once the final sheep makes it into the fold, I will be there and bring you where I am. In a moment shorter than a lightning flash, I will be there. I will not walk. I will not delay.

Will he find us looking over the walls for his coming?

This world is not our home. We are not yet in our element. We open the window and send our dove to and fro about this earth, finding that it returns to us having found no solid homeland. But in a moment, the trumpet shall blast, the wall between this world and the next shall fall, and he will be before us, with us. The Lord of lords and King of kings, dazzling as the sun in all its strength. This present world will pass as a dream. We will look and shout and point,

Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him,
     that he might save us.
This is the Lord; we have waited for him;
     let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation. (Isaiah 25:9)

And Now a Word About Your Rewards

1 Corinthians 3:10-14

According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. (1 Corinthians 3:10–14)

Based on 1 Corinthians 3:10–14, I see three facts about our eternal rewards for serving God. Let’s review the first two facts I mentioned yesterday, and then I’ll complete the list with the third.

First, most rewards are received in heaven, not on earth.

Second, all rewards are based on quality, not quantity.

Third, no reward that is postponed will be forgotten. Make no mistake about it, the Bible clearly teaches that each of us “will receive a reward” (1 Corinthians 3:14). God doesn’t settle His accounts at the end of every day. Nor does He close out His books toward the end of everyone’s life. No, not then.

But be assured, fellow servant, when that day in eternity dawns, when time shall be no more on this earth, no act of serving others be it well known or unknown by others will be forgotten.

You don’t have to be a courageous soldier in battle or a well-spoken statesman to be remembered. You can be a “nobody” in the eyes of this world, and your faithful God will, someday, reward your every act of servanthood. Rewards may be postponed, but they will not be forgotten forever.

Unlike many people today, God keeps His promises.

Chuck Swindoll

A Prayer for the Church

Dear Lord,

We come before you today with humble hearts, grateful for the love you have shown us through your Son, Jesus Christ, and the gift of the Church, His bride. We give thanks for the life we experience in the church, where we find community, love, and support. We are grateful for the people you have placed in our lives, who have encouraged us and helped us grow in our faith.

We recognize that the Church is not just a building, but a living body of believers, united in Christ. We ask that you use us as a part of this larger body to show your love to others, to be your hands and feet in the world. Help us to see beyond our own needs and desires, and to focus on the needs of others.

We are thankful for our local church and for the larger universal Church. We pray that you would guide and lead us by wisdom and inspiration to make our churches what you want them to become. May our churches be places where people can come to find hope, healing, and peace. May they be places of worship, where we can gather together to honor you and give you praise.

Lord, we know that the Church is not perfect, and we ask for your forgiveness for the times we have fallen short. Help us to be patient with one another, to show grace and mercy, and to work together to build your Kingdom.

We thank you for your love for us and for the Church, and we pray that we may always be faithful to you. May our lives be a reflection of your love, and may we always seek to follow you in all that we do.

In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

What Does God Look for in a Church?

When it comes to the size of a church, it’s important to remember that God’s love is not based on the size of the congregation. As Jesus said in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Therefore, the size of a church doesn’t determine its value in God’s eyes.

However, there are certain characteristics that God desires in His church, regardless of its size. Let’s look at some of the teachings from the New Testament that highlight what God approves of in a church.

  1. The Church is the Body of Christ: The New Testament teaches that the Church is not just a building or an organization, but a living organism made up of individual believers who are all part of the Body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:12-14 says, “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.” God wants His church to function as a unified body, with each member playing a unique and important role.
  2. Love: The New Testament emphasizes the importance of love in the church. Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). Love is not just a feeling but an action. We are called to love one another sacrificially, just as Christ loved us. This kind of love is not limited to those within the church, but extends to all people, even our enemies (Matthew 5:44).
  3. Worship: The Church is called to worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:24). This involves not just singing songs, but offering our whole lives as a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1). In worship, we acknowledge God’s greatness, express our gratitude, and seek His will for our lives.
  4. The Word of God: The New Testament teaches that the Word of God is essential for the health and growth of the church. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The preaching and teaching of the Bible should be central to the life of the church, as it provides the foundation for our faith and guides us in how we should live.
  5. Mission: God desires His church to be on mission, sharing the Gospel with those who have not yet heard it. In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus gives the Great Commission: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” This mission should be carried out both locally and globally, as we seek to reach people from all backgrounds and cultures.

God’s desire for His church is not based on its size or outward appearance, but on its inward characteristics. A healthy church is one that functions as the Body of Christ, loves sacrificially, worships in spirit and truth, is grounded in the Word of God, and is on mission to reach the lost. As we seek to follow these teachings, we can trust that God will bless and use our churches, regardless of their size.

What Does the Bible Recommend for Church Growth?

There are several recommendations in the Bible for how a church can be grown. Here are a few examples:

  1. Preach the Gospel: The Bible teaches that the Gospel is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16). Preaching the Gospel and sharing the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ is essential for growing a church.
  2. Build Relationships: The Bible teaches that Christians should love one another and build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11). Building strong relationships and fostering a sense of community is important for creating a welcoming and supportive environment for church members.
  3. Practice Hospitality: The Bible teaches that Christians should show hospitality to one another (1 Peter 4:9). Welcoming visitors and making them feel at home in the church is important for attracting new members and helping them feel connected to the community.
  4. Provide Opportunities for Service: The Bible teaches that Christians should use their gifts and talents to serve others (1 Peter 4:10). Providing opportunities for members to get involved and make meaningful contributions can help them feel more engaged and invested in the life of the church.
  5. Pray: The Bible teaches that prayer is powerful and effective (James 5:16). Praying for the growth and well-being of the church is essential for seeking God’s guidance and blessing.

By focusing on these principles and seeking God’s guidance and blessing, churches can thrive and make a positive impact in their communities.

Not Too Big, Not Too Small, Just Right

According to a study by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, the majority of churches in America have less than 200 in attendance. In fact, about 60% of churches in the United States have less than 100 people attending each week, while only about 10% of churches have over 500 people in attendance.

This trend has several implications for churches in America.

Firstly, smaller churches may struggle with limited resources and financial constraints. These churches may have difficulty funding essential programs and activities, and may struggle to provide adequate facilities for their members. This can create a challenging environment for church leaders, who must find creative ways to manage limited resources while still providing meaningful engagement for their members.

Additionally, smaller churches may struggle to attract and retain younger generations. Younger generations tend to prioritize more contemporary and engaging worship experiences, and may be less likely to attend churches that don’t offer these experiences.

Smaller churches may also struggle to provide opportunities for meaningful engagement and community-building, which can be important for attracting and retaining younger members.

Despite these challenges, smaller churches can also offer unique advantages. Smaller churches may provide a more intimate and close-knit community, which can be especially appealing for members who value a strong sense of community and connection.

These churches may also provide more opportunities for members to get involved and make meaningful contributions, which can be particularly rewarding for members who want to make a difference in their community.

Overall, while the majority of churches in America have less than 200 people in attendance, this trend has both advantages and challenges for churches.

By focusing on building strong relationships, fostering community, and providing meaningful opportunities for engagement and service, churches of all sizes can thrive and make a positive impact in their communities.

Does Holding the Line Make a Difference

How does conformity to biblical doctrines and principles play a role in growth or decline in churches?

The role that conformity to biblical doctrines and principles plays in the growth or decline of churches is influenced by various factors.

On one hand, some churches that adhere strictly to biblical doctrines and principles may attract members who value traditional and conservative beliefs. These churches may provide a sense of community and belonging for members who share similar beliefs and values. For example, churches that adhere to traditional teachings on topics such as marriage, sexuality, and gender roles may attract members who prioritize these beliefs.

On the other hand, churches that are too rigid in their adherence to biblical doctrines and principles may struggle to attract and retain younger generations who may have different perspectives on social and cultural issues. These churches may be perceived as outdated or irrelevant by younger generations.

In addition, the way in which churches communicate their adherence to biblical doctrines and principles can also play a role in their growth or decline. Churches that focus solely on strict adherence to biblical teachings without offering a sense of community and meaningful engagement for members may struggle to attract and retain members. Conversely, churches that focus on building strong relationships, fostering community, and providing opportunities for meaningful service and engagement may be more successful in attracting and retaining members.

Overall, while conformity to biblical doctrines and principles can play a role in the growth or decline of churches, it is just one factor among many that influence the success of a church. Churches that prioritize building strong relationships and providing opportunities for meaningful engagement for members while also staying true to their beliefs and values are more likely to thrive and grow.

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