Characteristics of a True Church: Part 1

Posted by on Jun 7, 2009 in Rev. Serven

Text: 1 Timothy 4:6-10

Having focused in two previous sermons on the rise of the Apostate Church (vs. 1-5), let us now consider Paul’s teaching on the characteristics of a True Church (vs. 6-16). On the basis of this passage, and many others, the Protestant Reformers came to recognize that a True Church of Jesus Christ is characterized by “three marks”. They are:

    1. The true preaching of the Word of God (cf. John 8:31-32, 47, 14:23; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 1 John 4:1-3).

    2. The right administration of the Sacraments (cf. Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 11:23-30).

    3. The faithful exercise of church discipline (cf. Matthew 16:19, 18:18; 1 Corinthians 5:1-5, 13, 14:33, 40; Galatians 6:1-2).

(cf. Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, 576-578)

Hence, we should strive to make sure that our own church is faithful to these characteristics—not for the sake of boasting, but for the purpose of pleasing our Lord. Moreover, let us give thanks to God that by grace we can be a part of God’s ongoing work—the growth and expansion of the True Church.