What should a church be doing?
There are so many local congregations trying to do the exact same thing as others, but without working together. The New Testament is full of aspects that the church should fulfill. Any normal Christian will tell you that the purpose of the church is to fulfill the Great Commission. Matthew 28: 19-20 says “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.” Acts 1:8 says “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." It is clear from the last words of Jesus that we are to reach as many as able with the Gospel, disciple them, baptize them, and turn them into disciple makers.
But is there more the church is to be doing? Many churches emphasize outreach, but they tend to neglect the other areas of the New Testament that teaches other aspects for the church to accomplish. The church is supposed to reach, but there is many more “jobs” the church needs to accomplish.
BEAR ONE ANOTHER'S BURDENS
Galatians 6:2 says “Bear one another's burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.” The church, if you remember from last week, is made of people who proclaim to be followers of Christ. It is the people, not the building, field, or wherever they meet. They are to work together to lift up each other and bear each other’s burdens. Life is hard. With the support of other believers, life can be easier. Human nature says to take care of number one. Pride says to carry your load alone. God says to help carry the burdens of others. To put the verse in context, Paul spoke in verse one about helping a brother in trespass. Verse three he speaks about laying aside pride so you don’t fall as well. We as believers are to help each other with the burdens we carry because we are the family of God.
CARE FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NO ONE
James 1:27 explains “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” Orphans have no parents, and many times no one to care for them. They are all alone. The church is to help carry their burden as Jesus would.
1 Timothy 5:3-16 speaks about serving widows. Verse 3 states “Honor widows who are really widows.” Paul is making a distinction between a widow (who has just lost her husband) and a widow (who has no husband, no kids, no family). Paul taught that young widows should remarry in order to not give a foothold for Satan. Let them remarry and have kids. The older who have children or grandchildren should seek help from them before coming to the church for help. The true widows he speaks of are those who have nothing and are older. These are the ones the church is specifically supposed to support. Quick side note, this does not mean the church cannot help those other widows, but just that they are not the primary goal for this ministry.
1 Peter 3:15 says “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be prepared with a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;” The church is here to strengthen its members. As Peter explained, one way this is done is by helping them prepare to share their faith or give a reason as to why they believe. Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus they are to “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12). The word translated as perfecting in the KJV can also be translated as “equipping.” It carries the idea of giving someone else the tools they need to complete a task.
Ephesians 4:12 also mentioned another aspect of strengthening members. That is the “edifying of the body of Christ.” To edify means to build up. That is giving encouragement to others. That would be like a coach giving good advice to his pupil. He wants his pupil to win. He wants them to overcome the adversary. As a church, we are to edify each other so we can each overcome the adversary that wants us to fail.
There are many aspects that can be included here. A few are Prayer, gathering together, and breaking bread. Hebrews 10:25 says “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together.” Acts 2:42 says “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” A few verses later says that they were all unified and together. They had things in common. They prayed. They spent time in fellowship daily worshiping God as one.
ULTIMATE REASON FOR THE CHURCH
The ultimate reason for the church is to glorify God. The church is the hands and feet of God. 1 Corinthians 12 explains the diversity within the church as a body. Verse 27 says “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” Every believer is not the same. Each one has different talents, different gifts, and different personalities. They are themselves and whether they are the hands, feet, ear, nose, or arm, they have a specific calling on their life. When they fulfill that calling, they do so through glorifying God. 1 Corinthians 6:20 says “glorify God in your body.” 1 Peter 4:16 explains that even though a Christian may suffer, let him glorify God.
Everything the church does needs to bring glory to God. Everything it does needs to point others to the God who created all. They are not to glory in themselves, but God and Him alone.
Feel free to leave questions, comments, or concerns.