Monday, May 17, 2021

We Have Purpose

Over the next several weeks I will be sharing what the purpose of the church is and why it exists. Before we start, there are some things that we must understand concerning the church. The church is not a parenthetical revelation which came due to the failure of the Jews to recognize their Messiah through unbelief. God had the church in mind before the foundations of the world. In Ephesians 3 the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul reveals the mystery of the church, "To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places,  according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Ephesians 3:8-11)

Several times the New Testament mentions the two ethnic groups that encompasses all of humanity, Jew and Gentile. However, Paul tells us, "Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God." (1 Corinthians 10:32) God in His eternal plan has brought forth another ethnic group in which He is at work combining both Jew and Gentile, "For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, (Jew and Gentile) and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, (Jew and Gentile) thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body (The Church) through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father." (Ephesians 2:14-18)

This third ethnic group as mentioned by Paul is "the Church of God." The word church is a translation of the Greek word "ekklesia' which consists of two other Greek words, "ek" which means out of and "Kaleo" which means to call. Thus the word ekklesia literally mean, "the called out ones." So, the church consists of every person, regardless of nation or culture who through Christ "are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy." (1 Peter 2:9-10) The church has been called out of the world, (John 15:18-19), out of the flesh (Galatians 5:13, 16-18) and out of the devil's dominion (Colossians 1:13-14) for a fourfold purpose.

The four main purposes of the church's existence are, to worship God, build one another up in love, win souls and make disciples, and uphold and enforce Jesus' triumph over Satan and his kingdom. As we progress in this series we will explore each of these areas which concerns the purpose of the church's existence that will help us see if we are truly flowing in what God has called the church to be. It will also give us a benchmark do what God called Jeremiah to do if need be, that is, "to root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down..." the worldly concepts that have crept into "the church of God" so that we through the Holy Spirit can "build and plant." Jesus said that He would build His church, so the question we must ask ourselves, "Is Jesus really building His church or are we building what we think is the church?"

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