Note: This is part six in a series about the New Testament Church called The Church That Changes the World.
As we continue our series on building a church that changes the world, we have to decide whether we want a biblical or a traditional church. The church of the New Testament embodied five qualities that we can learn from if we want to build a biblical church: conviction, transparency, discipleship, purpose, and unity.
Watch this episode of One Quick Thought to learn more about how Jesus changed the world.
Five qualities of a Biblical church
- Conviction: God-focused, not people-focused
- Transparency: Honest, not hidden relationships
- Discipleship: Interdependence, not individualism
- Purpose: Evangelistic, not argumentative
- Unity: Growing, not splitting
1. Conviction: God-focused, not people-focused
“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.  You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you.  Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.  “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.  Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.  But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!  When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
John 15:1-8 NLT
But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting:  “Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them.
Acts 14:14-15 NIV
2. Transparency: Honest, not hidden relationships
Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.  Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.  This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.  Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.  Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.  He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
Ephesians 4:11-16 NLT
3. Discipleship: Interdependence, not individualism
Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.  When they saw him, they worshiped him— but some of them doubted!  Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.  Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:16-20 NLT
4. Purpose: Evangelistic, not argumentative
5. Unity: Growing, not splitting
I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.
John 17:21 NLT
- Which of the five qualities do you see you need to grow the most in: conviction, transparency, discipleship, purpose, or unity?
- What are some practical steps you and your friends could take to grow in those qualities this week?