Pastor Jonathan Falwell
Key verse: Ephesians 1:13-14 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
We’ve talked about why we must not allow ourselves to buy into the lie that it is not important to gather together as the visible church. (Hebrews 10). Last week, we talked about the definition of a church. What is a church, the “ekklesia” that the Bible describes. We are the body of Christ, all different parts but critical to the whole as we live out our lives as the church.
Today, let’s talk about the purpose of the church. If God “built His church” with the idea of being His own body, wanting us to get together regularly, knowing there is strength in numbers as we gather, then what exactly does He want us to do?
A church is an assembly of believers in whom Christ dwells, under the discipline of the Word of God, organized for evangelism, education, fellowship, and worship, administering the ordinances and reflecting the spiritual gifts. – Elmer Towns
Dr. Towns gives us a great definition of what a church “is”, today let’s talk about what a church “does.”
1. We give Him Glory
Ephesians 1:12-14 (NLT) God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. 13 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. 14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.
2. We bring Him Growth
a. Through the proclamation of the Gospel (Mark 16, Matt 28, Acts 1)
Colossians 1:28–29 (NLT) So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ. 29 That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.
b. Through discipleship (our own spiritual growth as well as others) Col. 2
Ephesians 4:14-15 (NLT) Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.
3. We celebrate Grace
a. Grace shown to us
Ephesians 1:6-8 (NLT) So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. 7 He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. 8 He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
Grace is the offer of God’s ceaseless presence and irrational love that cannot be stopped. It’s the flow of God’s power and presence and favor in your life from one moment to the next that enables you to do whatever it is God has for you to do. – John Ortberg
b. Grace shown to others
1 Peter 2:9 (NLT) But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
1 Peter 4:8-10 (NLT) Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. 10 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.
4. We recognize His Grip – His keeping power
Mark 16:15 (NLT) And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.
Hebrews 7:25 (NLT) Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.
1 Corinthians 1:8-9 (NLT) He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 9 God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.