First of all, I would like to establish that the building we worship in is not the Church. God has, by His word and Spirit, formed one holy and universal Church. The Church consists of those who have been called out of sinful humanity, born anew from God and separated for Christian service. As seen in the Scriptures, the Church of Jesus Christ has several unique functions which are essential to its nature. The Church must be an instrument of evangelism, offer a system of support for its membership, be an agent for service in the world, be an agent for change in society and serve as an arena for worship and celebration.
The Church, with all its functions, is operated under the sovereignty of the written Scripture. No person or practice contrary to the express teaching of the Scriptures is to be held final in the Church. The Church does share the authority of the Scriptures when its message is faithfully preached and obeyed.
The Church of Jesus Christ is set apart to offer acceptable worship to God, to maintain fellowship and ministry within itself and to proclaim the gospel message to men of all nations. The chief tools of the church’s mission is preaching and teaching. The proclaimed gospel draws and disciples men to Christ, firmly rooting them in Christ’s provision for salvation and scriptural guidelines for life.
The first mission of the church is evangelism, which Christ initiated in his commission to his disciples, “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:19); “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:15); “And repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). All three of these writers cite Christ’s commission, relating its importance. These were some of Christ’s last words on earth, relating the importance of evangelism. If this commission of our Lord is to be carried out, the principle of evangelistic multiplication later commended by Paul will have to become a reality of the Church.
According to the Apostle Paul’s challenge, if we are to effectively entrust the gospel to the faithful of this generation, we must act upon the reformation message that all believers are called to be ministers. With this scriptural objective in mind, leaders of the church must come to see their disciple-making roles in light of Paul’s words to the Ephesians: “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:11-12 ESV).
Then, as men and women come to faith, the ministry of teaching plays a big part as leaders equip our faithful, available, and teachable church members to be Christ’s ministers. They must be helped to carry out the God-given work for which they were created (Eph. 2:10).
The greatest proclamation is that the Church was purchased with the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:28). We are the Church.
Pastor Jake StirnemannAugust 9, 2017