What is the Objective of the Church?
Have you ever heard the sayings, “If you aim at nothing you’re sure to hit it” or “If you fail to aim, you aim to fail!”? In fairness, the problem is that we either don’t have objectives or don’t know how to set them.
But do we need to have objectives? Some people budget everything, others seem to get by without budgeting! Whether we have personal objectives or objectives for our family, is our own choice, but when we are joined to a company or a group, there must be some point or objective for being there.
God has set objectives for His people
- Joshua was given a command from the Lord to lead the children of Israel over the Jordan. (Joshua 1:2)
- Abram was commanded by God to leave his home and go to a place the Lord would show him. (Genesis 12:1)
- Moses was commanded by God to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt. (Exodus 3:10)
- Even the Lord Himself had an objective for His life on earth; to seek and save that which was lost! (Luke 9:51)
Has God currently given us any objectives? Yes! He has objectives for all of us, both individually and corporately! He has a plan, He has the power, He has the people, He has the ultimate purpose! (Ephesians 2: 10)
What is the church?
Who are we? What are we supposed to do? We talk about “going to church”, we talk about “churches”, we hear about people being “churched” or “unchurched”. When we attend a meeting on Sunday morning, are we in “church”? What is the “church” anyway?
The Greek word for church in the NT is Ecclesia, originally that word meant an assembly called out by the magistrate, or by legitimate authority. It was, in this last sense, that the word was adopted and applied by the writers of the New Testament to the Christian congregation.
The ‘church’ is a group of people called out by the highest of legitimate authorities – God Himself! And….called out for a particular purpose!
The “out called” ones
They are just ordinary people from every walk of life, just like you and me. These are the true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. They have trusted Him for salvation and now belong to the ‘church’, which is in fact, simply a group of believers in Jesus Christ.
The people are indwelt by the Holy Spirit individually and who, as a group, become the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit and knowledge of Him is key to the major truth for this age
The forgotten event
At ‘Christmas’ God the Father sent the Son to this earth to die for the sins of mankind. At ‘Easter’ God the Son died on Calvary’s cross for all of our sins. But there is another vital, and often missed event!
Fifty days after the Passover, God sent the Holy Spirit to indwell, witness through and teach, lead and guide those believers. He is the guide to all truth. He will point us to Christ and He will provide the power for service. (Zechariah 4:6, Psalm 127:1)
Peter shared the gospel and many were eternally saved! The answer was, ‘repent – change your mind on the basis of the information you have received…be baptized….and save yourselves from this generation.’
The power of the Holy Spirit
Having received the promised power of the Holy Spirit they all immediately began to share the gospel! Many souls were saved and asked, “what shall we do?” Obviously, they could do nothing towards their salvation because, as Peter had just explained, Christ had done it all.
These real Christians assembled together in what we call “assemblies.” Why? What is the purpose of the assembly? We don’t need to guess on this one because there is a clear pattern:
A new beginning
In Acts 1 we find 120 weak, powerless and no doubt anxious, believers gathered to wait for the Holy Spirit to come, as the Lord had promised. In Acts 2:42-43 we find the clear reasons why Christians assembled together and why they continued steadfastly in this vital pursuit!
They all became actively involved and continued steadfastly in the four vital areas of New Testament church principles! These are not denominational preferences; they are New Testament church principles!
(By definition a principle is a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning, for example, “the basic principles of Christianity.”)
- The apostle’s doctrine: they were taught the Word of God by Spirit-led teachers.
- Fellowship: they enjoyed Spirit-led fellowship in all that they now had in common. The emphasis was the Lord, His will and work!
- Breaking bread: they were led by the Holy Spirit in remembrance and worship of the Lord together. Worship literally means: to ascribe worth, to speak about the Lord, who He is and what He has done!
- Prayer: they engaged in Spirit-led prayer together.
If these four vital areas are to be covered adequately it will involve a great deal of time, effort and commitment. We may well find that when we add witnessing and life in general to this, we may have to sacrifice some other activities!
The result of all this was and is that the objective was achieved: many more souls were saved! That was and is the objective of the church!
Evangelism – salvation – learning – fellowship – worship – prayer – evangelism!