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Fulton County Gospel News

a work of the mammoth spring church of christ

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The Difference Between Live and Dead Churches

By Andrew Connally

There is no doubt that most of us want to be members of a live, growing and involved church. Most of us can easily tell the difference, and so can the Lord! In Revelation 3:1-6 the Lord speaks: 

And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard and hold fast and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shall not know what hour I will come upon thee. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Live churches have all kinds of problems—parking problems, lack of classroom teachers, etc. They always have more work, programs, mission opportunities, and other things that they can take advantage of—dead ones don’t! Live churches make constant demands on time, talents, abilities and monies. They have services, classes, gospel meetings, VBS, and other events to attend. They have people to visit, delinquent members to reclaim, drifters who need encouragement and admonition—dead ones don’t! Live churches are filled with those who are weak, neglectful, forgetful, and who need attention, but they are growing, they are concerned, prayerful and giving—dead ones aren’t! Live churches have preachers who are Book- and people-oriented. They have preachers who preach hard, exhort often, who aren’t scared to preach on hell. They know what’s going on in the world, in the church and in the lives of many brethren—dead ones don’t! Live churches have elders who stretch the budget yearly to help the congregation grow, they have sermons, write articles, teach classes, have mission plans and works to take every member to greater heights of service, sacrifice, and finally heaven—dead ones don’t! Live churches have members that respond to challenge: the challenge of new programs, budgets, missions, and always the word! They have people who evangelize rather than fossilize – dead ones don’t! Live churches fight error and know where it is found. They are compassionate and kind. They are not only gentle and loving but also bold and brave and afraid of nothing! They love God and hate sin – dead ones don’t.

Still, attending a “live” church does not guarantee one a home in heaven; there must be individual responsibility, obedience to God (1 John 1:6-10). Individually, much fruit must be produced (John 15:1-8); this is how our Father is glorified! Are you part that makes the church alive?

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