The church is the assembling of God's people; a concept created by God to enable his people to serve him and accomplish his will on earth (Hebrews 10:19-25).
Scripture reveals three fundamental purposes of the Church:
MINISTRY TO GOD
Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (Matthew 22:37). This love finds its expression in worship. This is the primary purpose for which God delivered his people from bondage (Exodus 7:16; 8:1 & 20; 9:1 & 13; 10:3), and God's Word continues to call his people together for this purpose (Psalms 95:6; 100:2; 132:7; John 4:23-24; Ephesians 5:19-20). In light of the contemporary church's tendency to equate worship with music, it should be noted that Scripture reveals worship to be a way of life (Romans 12:1). Songs of worship are a "sacrifice of praise" (Hebrews 13:15); and like all sacrifices they are acceptable to God only when they are an expression/celebration of a worshipful lifestyle (1 Samuel 15:22; Isaiah 1:11-17; Jeremiah 6:19-20; Hebrews 13:16; 1 Peter 2:5).
MINISTRY TO THE CHURCH
Jesus said that there is a second commandment which cannot be separated from the imperative to love God: "love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:38). The Church is instructed to do good to all people, but "especially to those who belong to the family of believers" (Galatians 6:10). Thus, loving one's neighbor must begin within the church. When God's people assemble, there is a special manifestation of God's presence (Matthew 18:22). This enables believers to build each other up by using the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12-14). In this way God uses the Church to accomplish his desire to mold a body of believers into the image of his son, Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:12-16; 1 Corinthians 12:12-31).
MINISTRY TO THE WORLD
As the Church is transformed into the image of Christ it is enabled to reach out to the world. The Church's ministry to the world is manifested in two basic purposes:
(1) To share the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. The final instruction that Jesus gave to his followers (known as the Great Commission) was to "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19). Believers are instructed to always be ready to respectfully and gently share the reason that they place their hope in Jesus (1 Peter 3:15). The Holy Spirit is promised to assist God's people in this endeavor (Acts 1:8; Luke 12:11-12).
(2) To show God's love through acts of compassion to anyone in need. The Great Commission should not be emphasized to the point that it eclipses God's desire to minister to the physical needs of the world (Matthew 25:31-46; Luke 10:25-37; James 1:27).
Read Ezekiel 36:1 through 39:29
Published: Aug 20, 2017
Walking through the valley of dry bones must have been depressing. This was a hopeless situation, indeed. A question came to the prophet right in the middle of the valley of despair. Basically, it was a question about whether or not God can work in hopeless situations.
He was baffled by the situation. Even before he had clarity about what God would do, the Lord used him to speak a word over those dry bones.
“This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life” (Ezekiel 37:5).
Something started to happen. The bones began to become attached to one another, and the breath came from the four winds, entering those lifeless bodies. There was fresh movement in a lifeless situation. It was a turnaround moment for those dry bones.
We need those turnaround moments in our lives, too, when God infuses us with fresh life and vigor. They come when we hear that fresh Word of God.
Prayer Suggestion: Lord, breathe fresh life into me.
Quicklook: Ezekiel 37:1–6