Tuesday, June 13, 2017
The Purpose Of The Church
In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus gave what is known as the Great Commission, a brief statement about the purpose of Christians and the church in the world. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
The word teach in verse 18 is translated from a Greek word meaning to disciple, to cause to become a student, and speaks of winning a person to Christ. That the KJV translates it “teach is especially significant, indicating that we win people by demonstrating and teaching them certain basic principles and causing them to want to be followers of Christ, not just to avoid eternal damnation. This is exactly what is indicated in Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Once they have become believers, we are to baptize, or immerse them in the basic doctrines so that they understand the roles of each member of the trinity in their salvation.
Finally, we have to go beyond the basic doctrines listed in Hebrews 6:1-2 in our teaching. “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. “ Only then will the church be fully prepared to fulfil the Great Commission, according to Hebrews 5:12-13. “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.”
To enable the church to reach this point, God has provided various positions in the church, as Ephesians 4:11-16 tells us. “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”
Ephesians 2:19-22 tells us the teachings of the Apostles and prophets provided the basic foundation for the church, centered around Jesus Christ and his teachings. “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”
Once the doctrinal foundation had been laid, evangelists, or as we call them today, missionaries carried the gospel to peoples who had never heard, laying a foundation for local churches. Pastors and teachers then build on that foundation, to finish the job. The goal is to bring every Christian to such a relationship with Christ that they are fully equipped to live the Christian life and to win and teach others, so that the church is able to edify or grow itself without having to depend on other churches for leadership or support.