Jul 28, 2005

What Is the Church and Why Should I Care? - Part 5

V. The Church Has Three Ministries that the Lord Has Givenit to Perform

We conclude our study on the nature of the church by discussing her mission. The mission God has given the church is that she fulfill three vital ministries—a ministry to God, a ministry to believers, and a ministry to the world.

(1) Ministry to God: Worship. The first and foremost purpose of the church is to worship God. The Bible has a lot to say about worship. The place to start is with Jesus words to the Samaritan woman: "God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). To worship in spirit means to worship God with a sincere heart, a heart that loves him and desires to please him. Only believers can worship God in spirit. To worship in truth means to worship in accordance with God’s Word; to worship only as God instructs us to worship.

(2) Ministry to Believers: Edification. The church has been given the responsibility to build up believers in their faith (See Matt. 28:19-20; Eph. 4:11-12; 1 Thes. 5:14-15). Helping others grow in Christ is not just the duty of pastors. All Christians are commanded to encourage each other, warn each other, comfort each other, and uphold each other. There is no such thing as a "Lone Ranger Christian." Without the help of other believers, a Christian will wither up and die! This is why the Book of Hebrews says, "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching" (Heb. 10:24-25). Here we are reminded of the importance of helping each other grow in Christ. But notice that this duty is connected with the command to not neglect assembling together. The saints cannot be edified if the saints don’t meet!

(3) Ministry to the World: Benevolence and Missions. We are to reach out to the unbelieving world with benevolent concern; to work for justice in the world and to care for the sick and poor in his name (Matt. 25:31-40). Even more importantly, we are to minister to the world through missions, by taking the gospel message to our families, our neighbors, and to the ends of the earth. We seek to evangelize the world and bring into God’s kingdom people from every tribe and nation. As Jesus said, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations."

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