1 Corinthians 16:13-14 "Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love."

Thursday, May 31, 2012

What does church mean to you?

St.Vitus Cathedral Prague, Czech Republic
There is much talk today about the purpose of the church. Does the church exist to feed the poor, help the helpless, give shelter to the homeless; or, is it there to give the gospel message of salvation through Jesus to a lost and wayward world? Some believe that the church only helps those that are within her doors. If you are not a regular member, giving offerings and tithes, then there really is no help for you. I am not a person of extremes so I believe that the church should be somewhere in the middle of all that. 

I have had the privilege of teaching through the book of Ephesians for our Sunday night REVIVE Bible study meetings at our house. Ephesians 4 is most often quoted when people talk about "doing" church. 

Let's first look at Ephesians 4:11-12. Paul is saying that Jesus gave some of us the gifts to be leaders in a church. Their offices were apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastor-teacher.

Why? Verse 12 gives us the reasons "for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." These people that Jesus chose for these positions were there to serve the people that Jesus had given to the church. David Guzik said "The purpose of these gifts of leadership is also clear. It is that saints (God’s people) might be equipped for the work of ministry (service), so that the body of Christ would be built up (expanded and strengthened)." 

Are you being built up at church? Is your pastor-teacher feeding you the whole counsel of God? There is a large responsibility that falls upon the leadership of the church, but the saints must also be responsible. They must come to church with open minds, hearts and Bibles ready to learn all that God has for them. Chuck Smith said about these verses “The primary purpose of the Church isn’t to convert sinners to Christianity, but to perfect (complete and mature) the saints for the ministry and edification of the Body.”

Why is it important to be built up in the Word of God at church? Paul tells us in verse 16 that only when the whole church is functioning together will we see true growth, both spiritually and numerically. It is when each person in the body of Christ comes together and uses the spiritual gifts that God has given them. Paul says "by which every part does its share." Are you doing your share? Are you serving at the church that you attend? Do you know what your spiritual gifts are that God has given you?

By doing all these things in the church, it will naturally flow over into our everyday life. Being a servant within the walls of the church will motivate you to be a servant in your own community. Jesus said that He did not come to be served but to serve others. Jesus is our example of ministry, being a servant. 

So, I believe that the church leaders are there to equip those in the body for service. Those in the body (and the church leadership) are to be serving those outside the church, the poor and destitute among the fallen world. But, their first concern is for their spiritual well-being and then for their physical needs. We are to be beacons of light to this fallen generation. We are to do good works so that when people see them they praise God in heaven. 

My hope is that whatever church you are attending, you are being taught the Word of God first and foremost. The Bible is God speaking to us, period. My hope is also that by learning about God and His love towards us, you will then be motivated by that love to good works for others. 

We must remember to keep the main thing - the main thing...Jesus. 

Grace and Peace, 

Bob, Suzanne and Bobby Scott

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