Posted by: rcottrill | August 30, 2009

Lord’s Day Meditation – The Ideal Church

We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father (I Thess. 1:2-3).

I’m sure there are many characteristics that could be listed if we were describing the ideal church. Among other things it should be Christ-centred, and have:

  • A saved membership
  • A spiritual leadership
  • A soundness of doctrine
  • A servant lifestyle

And by various means, it should provide for:

  • Exaltation of God (worship)
  • Edification of believers
  • Evangelism  of the lost

But our text gives us three qualities that are essential in all of this. And what an ideal to aspire to! Not that the Thessalonian church was perfect, but they exhibited some exemplary qualities that each local church should have. And there might be a link between vs. 2-3 and vs. 9-10.

    ●    The work produced by faith was initially turning to God from idols.
    ●    The labour prompted by love was serving the living and true God.
    ●    The patient endurance inspired by hope involved their waiting for God’s Son from heaven (i.e. anticipating His return).

Gene Getz in his writings emphasizes these three qualities–faith, hope, and love–as essential to the life of the local church (see his book, The Measure of a Church). The three are mentioned in close proximity several times in the New Testament (cf. I Cor. 13:13). They constitute things that will be evident in a healthy church. And it is striking that Jesus, as far as the sacred record goes, spoke only to three people by name, after His resurrection.

  • To Mary He gave new hope (Jn. 20:16-17).
  • In Thomas He instilled faith (Jn. 20:26-29).
  • In Peter He prompted love (Jn. 21:15-17).

These are characteristics each of us should exhibit and develop in our Christian lives and, as that happens, they will also be seen in the fellowship of believers, to the glory of God.


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