Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever
When we can rightly assume that those within a church are regenerated, and that those who are regenerated are committed to the church, then the New Testament images of the church can be vividly illustrated in our congregations. In His goodness, God has called us to live out the Christian life together, as our mutual love and care reflect the love and care of God. Relationships imply commitment in the world: surely they imply no less in the church.
In the third commandment (Exodus 20:7; Deuteronomy 5:11), God warned His people not to take His name in vain. Far from simply prohibiting profanity, this command prohibited taking God’s name upon oneself in vain, emptily, to no purpose, or to a wrong purpose.
This command is for us in the church. Many churches today are sick. We mistake selfish gain for spiritual growth. We mistake mere excitement for true worship. We treasure worldly acceptance rather than live so as to incur worldly opposition. Regardless of their statistical profiles, too many churches today seem unconcerned about the very biblical marks that should distinguish a vital, growing church.
The health of the church should be the concern of all Christians, particularly of those who are called to be leaders in the church. Our churches are to display God and His glorious Gospel to His creation. We are to bring Him glory by our lives together. This burden of display is our awesome responsibility and it is our tremendous privilege.