Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
If you were to survey people about what Church is about you would get many different responses. Many people have wrong perceptions of the church simply because they have never taken the time to really examine why the church exist in the first place.
Some of the Purposes of the Church
John 13:35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
All the “One Another” passages in the Bible talk about how we should love and care for each other. The Church does exist for the members of it to care, love and meet the needs of each other.
Building each other up through our God given gifts
Ephesians 4:11-13 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds[a] and teachers,[b] 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,[c] to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
We each have gifts and talents that we should use and share with each other. We build each other up when we serve together. To not use and develop those gifts is robbing God, the church and even your own spiritual life.
Worship or Praise
John 4:24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Many passages about worshiping God and singing praises are throughout the Bible. Some churches focus only singing as worship although serving and reading Gods word are also considered worship.
As great as those things are, and there are many more we could list, there are commands we are given by Jesus Himself that cannot go undone.
All Authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Jesus Authority on Earth
- Authority in His teaching (Matthew 7:29)
- Authority in His words (Matthew 8:5-14)
- Authority over demons (Matthew 8:29-32)
- Authority to forgive (Matthew 9:6-8)
- Authority to pass on His authority (Matthew 10:1)
- Authority to Judge (Matthew 13:41)
- Authority to perform great deeds (Matthew 21:23-27)
The Authority Jesus is talking about having now is different because it has to do with position which He gave up when He came to earth.
Philippians 2:5-8 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[b] being born in the likeness of men.
When Jesus came to earth He humbled Himself and became a servant. When He comes again it will not be as a humble servant but a reigning King. He has complete authority that He had throughout all eternity, before He freely laid it down for us.
I have to make sure this point is clear because what people do is they make Jesus less than God. Jesus never gave up being God, He was just God in the flesh. The authority He has now is the authority He did have before He gave it up to come and die for humanity.
If you can picture Jesus giving God His authority to hold until He returned back to His rightful place then you will have a clearer picture of what Jesus did. He gave up His authority that He always had for a time in order to reach out to a lost and dying world.
For Jesus to say that all authority in Heaven and Earth has been given to Him means it is given back to Him. If Jesus has the authority then He is in charge. With that being said, Jesus now tells us what He wants us to do. This means that it is a command and not a suggestion.
1) The Command to Go
Therefore, go and make disciples from all nations
Because of His authority, we have a command that He is giving to us to go to everyone and tell them about Him. Jesus universal authority gives a universal mission that we as Christ followers are supposed to obey.
We are not to wait for the world to come to our door but we are to go to where they are. Many churches I have been a part of did more to entertain children then they did to reach a world that needs to know Him. If you really believe Jesus is the only way to Heaven which He clearly said in John 14:6, then you have to go and tell others about Him and the way they can come to Him. Acts 4:12 says that there is no other way that people can be saved except through Jesus Christ.
By going I am not saying that you should neglect any ministry at the church in pursuit of those who do not know Christ. It is a both/and scenario because we are called to disciple those who have accepted Him as their Lord and Savior. Churches tend to be focused on one or the other of these task, but both are there for a reason.
Churches sometimes focus on how many people were saved and baptized rather than on how many are truly growing in their relationship with God through discipleship. It is when we get focused on one or the other and not both that the church has little impact on its community and the world.
God does not desire anyone should perish (1 Peter 3:9) and He desires all men to be saved. (1 Timothy 2:4)
2 Corinthians 5:19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling[a] the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
All the other functions of the church exist to prepare us to go into the world and reach out to those who do not know Jesus Christ. The gifts we use, the building each other up, the ministering to one another is all to prepare us for going and being a part of our world to tell them about Jesus Christ.
If we have the mentality of only doing things at the church as our calling from Christ, then the church becomes me centered. What programs does the church offer me or my family? What style of worship service is there for me? When you are on mission with God to go out into the world you will come to church with a different mentality. You will come needing to be fed by the word of God and not entertained from the stage. The singing ministry will take on a whole new perspective for you as you listen, sing and pray. Small groups will be longed for and not looked at as another thing the leadership is asking you to do. Your ministry to other brothers and sisters in Christ will be renewed as you know you are there to encourage, train and lift them up to go into the world.
When we realize that everything we do is centered around our command to go, it will change how we look at our jobs, our schools, our neighborhoods and anything else we are a part of. We will see our daily routines in life as God ordained and that He has placed us there to reach those around us for Christ.
The problem with most people is they do not see the mundane as being God ordained. They only think as they sign up for a mission trip to go overseas ,helping the homeless ministry, or even serving at church as being on mission. We are on mission at home, in our neighborhoods, at work and whatever social things we are a part of.
Across the Hall (Home) Across the Street (Neighborhood) Across the County (Local Missions) Across the Sea (Foreign Missions)
See also: Luke 19:10; John 17:18; 20:21
2) The Command to Baptize
Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit
If you are a disciple or follower of Christ then baptism is not an option. To be baptized is to bring you into the fellowship, not with the church, but with the Trinity. Baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit means you are committing to the fellowship that has existed for all eternity. Jesus used the word singular “name” not “names” showing the Godhead as one.
Baptism is a pledge for all eternity. When you are baptized you are signing a contract with God. (A Covenant) You are telling God and the world that your life now belongs to Him. This is similar to a wedding ceremony. You can be committed to another without it but it demonstrates to the world that you are committing your life to them. Baptism does not save you it is only an indicator to others that you are saved.
Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
See Also: Acts 2:41; 8:38; 9:18; 10:48; 18:8; 19:1-5)
3) The Command to Teach
Teaching them to keep everything I have commanded you
Jesus own teaching ministry is to be taught to others. Our world has a hard time with this because the belief is that you should live and let live. Christ tells us there are truths that should be taught to others and as they are taught their lives should be changed.
We are not to hear sermons to say we heard them. We are to listen to sermons to change our lives. If the teaching is not changing you then either the teaching is weak or the application is weak. If you are being taught the things of God then your life should not be the same as it was a year ago.
What are you doing to insure that the teaching is applied to your life?
The word of God should change how we handle our everyday lives. The teachings of Jesus are not good ideas that only work if you are in Christian ministry. These are truths that should be applied to your every day lives. You cannot say, “That is not how the real world works”. Jesus created the world we live in and so what He is asking His followers to do is to live out the principles He has taught us.
When we teach the word of God we show people how they are supposed to live. The reason there is push back to the teachings of Christ is because people want to live their lives however they want.
John 14:23-24 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.
See also: Hebrews 5:9; Romans 6:17
4) The Promise
And Look, I am with you all the days, even until the very end of the age.
“I am” means “I myself am” always with you
The omnipresence of Jesus now goes with us wherever we are. This is why if you are in a meeting at work, or if you are in church, you can cry out to Him because He is with you.
The promise we all have is no matter where we are or what we are going through He is with us. Everything is Holy Ground because He is there. We do not pray for the Lord to come because His promise is that He is already here with each believer.
See also Hebrews 13:5
Have you thought about your mission to the world?
Have you been baptized? If not why not?
We can do a lot of things as a church but if we are not telling others about Christ, baptizing and growing them in their faith then we have missed why we exist