What is the Purpose of the Church?
One of the biggest problems that we encounter today in the Christian church today is its purpose. Some local churches emphasize certain areas of ministry while ignoring other vital areas. In order to be effective we need to know the purpose that God determined for the church.
The Bible is very clear about the purpose of the church. In a nutshell the purpose of the church is relational. The church is a living body that relates to or interacts with people. The Bible teaches that the church has to evangelize non-believers. Also the church is to edify fellow believers in the body. Finally the Bible teaches us that the church ultimately will exalt and glorify God Almighty. A healthy church will always function properly in these three areas.
The Purpose of the Church
1. The relationship between the church and non-believers.
The church is to place an emphasis on world evangelism.
2. The relationship between the church and fellow believers.
The church is the place for growth and spiritual edification.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
1 Peter 2:1-2
2 Peter 3:18
The church is the realm of spiritual fellowship.
1 John 1:3, 6-7
The church not only proclaims divine truth but protects it as well.
1 Timothy 3:15
Titus 2:1, 15
The church is where strong spiritual leadership develops and matures.
2 Timothy 2:2
3. The relationship between the church and God.
The church is the place where true believers gather together to worship God.
1 Peter 2:9
The church is very precious since Christ purchased the church with his own blood.
1 Corinthians 6:19
1 Peter 1:18
The church seeks to learn and obey God's word.
It has been taught that the purpose of the church can be broken up into the three E's: evangelization of the lost, exaltation of God and the edification of the believer. There needs to be a balance between these three areas. For example, if a church places all of its emphasis on evangelizing non-believers, then it will become a body of immature believers because there isn't the edification of believers. Likewise, if a church focuses all of its energy on the worship of God, then it will become a shallow assembly and will be prey for false teachers. Finally, if a church places all of its emphasis on edification of the saints, it will quickly become a stagnant and lukewarm body, since new believers bring enthusiasm and life into the church.
While there are many different ways the church can exalt God, witness to the unsaved and build up the body of believers, the important thing to keep in mind is that we need a balance in order to be effective. Many commandments in God's word may overlap each area (i.e. the caring of the widows and orphans may be to both the saved and unsaved). We need to ask God for his direction and be submissive to the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). Be assured that the church of Jesus Christ will be victorious both universally and locally (Matthew 16:18; Philippians 1:6).
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