God’s Purpose for His Church

Ephesians 4:1-3 ESV

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

If we are called by God, then we are called to belong to Jesus Christ with him as owner and master of our lives. We are called to be saints, which is a call to holiness and righteousness. And to be holy is to be separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being conformed to the likeness of Christ. For he called us out of darkness into his wonderful light.

We are called according to his purpose, and his purpose for us is that we deny self, die daily to sin and to self, and that we follow him in obedience to his will and to his ways. We are called to freedom from slavery to sin and to become slaves of God and of his righteousness. And we are not called to impurity but to holiness, for he called us to his own glory and excellence.

[Rom 1:6-7; Rom 8:28; Gal 5:13; 1 Thes 4:7; 1 Pet 2:9; 2 Pet 1:3; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23]

But the Lord also calls us individually to specific ministries which are our parts in the body of Christ and he gifts us with spiritual gifts for us to be able to do those ministries. These are not of human origin. This is not about natural talents or assigned ministries within institutional churches by people in the church. The gifts are of the Spirit. We can’t utilize them in the flesh. And the ministries are also of the Spirit and led by and directed by the Spirit.

So, we are to walk (in conduct, in practice, in lifestyle) in a manner worthy (fitting to) the calling to which we have been called. So, we will live holy lives, pleasing to the Lord. We will no longer walk according to the flesh, but we will walk according to the Spirit. We will submit to Christ as Lord and walk in obedience to his commands. And we will live lives different from the ungodly because we are now being made into the likeness of Christ.

We will not be proud but we will acknowledge that we are born into this world as sinners and that it is only by God’s grace that any of us can be saved from our sins and have eternal life with God. It is only by God’s grace that any of us are called of God to his service and that we are being used of God to minister his love and grace to other people. There is nothing in ourselves that warrants us receiving such wonderful grace from God.

And we are to exercise our callings and our giftedness within the body of Christ, not only in the power of the Holy Spirit, but also with meekness, which is a gentle-force or a gentle strength (power with reserve), not overpowering but not weak and wishy-washy. It is a balance of strength and reservation, but which never compromises truth or righteousness. Jesus is our example for how this should be accomplished.

We are also to be patient and bearing with one another in love. And patience is waiting for the right words or the right timing for something and not following our emotions but trusting in the Lord to give us the right words to say or to show us the right things to do and not going ahead on our own, full-force, and end up wishing we hadn’t. And we are to do this in love, which has to do with choosing God’s choices and obeying them in his power.

And we are to be being eager or diligent to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. And so we need to watch out for that word “unity” in our day and time and pay attention to how it is being used, for there is much talk of unity in our nations with the people of the world, and there is much talk of unity in institutional churches which is unity with marketing schemes.

So, make sure that the unity that you are being diligent to keep is unity of the Spirit of God and not of human flesh. For, if we have unity of the Spirit then we are first and foremost united with God and with his will and purpose and plan for our lives. We will be in agreement with him that we must forsake our sins and that we must follow him in obedience to his commands, and that he is to be owner and master of our lives.

And then we can be united with other believers in Jesus who are also united with God, which is unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. And this peace is not like the world gives, for it is not absence of conflict and it is not compromise of morals, values, beliefs and practices in order to not offend other people in the world or in the church who don’t agree with our standards for how we are to live.

Ephesians 4:11-16 ESV

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

We who believe in Jesus Christ with God-given faith are each individual parts of the body of Christ. We all have different gifts and ministries and callings and functions, but together we make up one body which is called “the church.” But this church is not a building. It is not a church denomination. It is not a civic organization or a social club or a place to go for good clean entertainment and for family friendly and fun activities.

We the people of God are the church no matter where we live and no matter when or where we meet or how often. For the church is universal. It is all over the world. It might meet in different places, like the church in Akron, or the church in Rock Hill, or the church in Deland, Florida, etc. but we are all one body no matter when or where we meet.

And the purpose of our gatherings together is not to entertain the world. It is not to reach marketing goals. It is not to have the best preacher and the best and coolest sounding praise band that really rocks the house.

The church is not for the world or to meet their felt needs. And it is not for the world so that the world will like us and so they will feel at home in our gatherings. If the world feels at home in our gatherings then we aren’t functioning like the church but just like the world, only maybe a little more sanitized.

The purpose of our gatherings is for the saints to gather together for the teaching and preaching of the Word, and for true biblical Christian fellowship which is about Jesus and what he wants for our lives. And it is for the saints to gather together for prayer and for the sharing of meals together and for communion in the Spirit of God.

And the purpose of our gatherings if for us, the body parts, to minister to one another so that we might all be encouraged in our walks of faith so that not one of us would be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness, and so we might build one another up in the faith to maturity in Christ so that we are all walking by the Spirit and not according to our flesh. And we are all to have a part, and each part is critical to the proper working of the body of Christ.

But sadly not many gatherings called “church” are actually operating as the body of Christ with Jesus as their head, but they have become partners with the world and with the government and with big business so that they are now marketing “the church” to the world, and so they have altered the gathering of the church to meet the felt needs of the people of the world. And so they have diluted the gospel so as not to offend the ungodly, too.

Thus, “the church,” for the most part, at least here in America, is not fulfilling her purpose for which God has called her, and so the body of Christ is suffering, and the body has become more worldly and now many within the body of Christ are blending in with the people of the world so as not to offend them with the gospel, and so we have a large portion of “the church” which is having no impact on the true salvation of human lives.

And this is because they have forgotten their first love. They have forgotten that Jesus is to be the rock of their hearts, and he is to be the one leading them and guiding them in the way that they should go. And they have forgotten that their goal should be to please the Lord even if it offends the worldly and the ungodly. And so this needs to change.

The church in America needs to be revived and to return to being the body of Christ with Jesus Christ as her only head (Lord and Master).

The Rock of My Heart

Lyricist: Bassford, Matthew W.; Psalm 73
Composer: Schales, Glenda Barnhart

My Lord, I need nothing beside You;
Without You, I could not have stood.
Your promise is my hope and my refuge;
Your nearness, my strength and my good.

When I was distressed and embittered,
By things I could not understand,
Your presence was continually with me;
You always took hold of my hand.

I know that Your counsel will guide me
In wisdom, devotion, and love,
And afterward You’ll call me to glory
To dwell in Your presence above.

My heart may be broken within me;
My earthly strength may depart.
But You are my portion forever,
You are the Rock of my heart.

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2 thoughts on “God’s Purpose for His Church

  1. I often wonder how many “Christians” in America are true Christ-followers. Of course, God knows people’s hearts, I don’t, but I expect it will be clearer when persecution hits. Once following Christ involves sacrifice and suffering, I suspect there will be a lot fewer of us. (I hope I’m wrong.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Annie, that is so true. Yes, I think a distinct line will be drawn in the sand and we will have to choose which side we are going to be on, for there will be no more game playing and vacillating between opinions. It will be one side or the other and the cost of following Jesus will become abundantly clear. And we will all have to make that decision which side we want to be on. I am hoping that increased persecution will actually revive the church and bring even more people to true faith in Jesus. Thank you for sharing what you did here.

      Like

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