Weekly Teachings by Erik Momsen
The Purpose of the Church
(And any other)
by Erik Momsen
“I feel it is my duty. God won’t bless me if I don’t go. I feel guilty if I miss church. Sunday is not the same if I don’t go to church.” All these are partial reasons why people belong to and go to church, but it is not the church’s or your purpose. This, the largest organisation in the world, must have and define its primary purpose. Without this we will lose our way and slump into religious traditionalism and become irrelevant.
The clearest and simples description of the life of the early church is found in Acts 2:42-47.
"They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe and many wondrous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone who had need. Everyday they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
How is that for a church constitution?
Rick Warren in “The Purpose Driven Church” sets out five purposes of the church, i.e. Worship / Relationships / Witness / Walk, and Work.
Jesus says to satan, “Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.” (Matthew 4:10, cf. Deuteronomy 6:13). This is the greatest challenge before us and the church. In modern humanity the individual sets himself above all others and things . Humanity has gone through a process of ascribing more and more authority to the great “I”. Family, community, society, government and God are less and less determinative of my life and actions. Most worship “self”. This was also satan's primary fault.
Peter tells us, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.” (1 Peter 3:15) A gathering of people who have “set apart Christ as Lord” attracts the presence of the Holy Spirit, and this attracts spiritually hungry people.
“They devoted themselves to ... the breaking of bread and to prayer”.
“Everyday they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread ... praising God”.
The passage in Acts 2 speaks more about their togetherness than anything else:
They devoted themselves to ... the fellowship, to the breaking of bread.
All the believers were together and had everything in common.
Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone who had need. Everyday they continued to meet together in the temple courts.
They broke bread in their homes and ate together.
The church can and should be the true family because God is the Father. Nuclear families can only become agents of blessing and grace as the Holy Spirit joins them into His larger family.
Greatest commands are to love God and our neighbour. We practice this truth firstly in the church and then in the world.
If we have experienced the life changing work of God in our lives, we will tell someone. Be a witness of what God has done! Jesus said we will be His witnesses and Peter encourages us “Always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15)
Just as the life of any family is in the children and without them the family will literally die and be buried, so too the life of any church is the new believers. Y ou will also act like a spiritual baby until you have a spiritual baby to look after.
“The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
A car manufacturer tells us “Life a journey, enjoy the ride”. The Christian life is also a journey but it is not a free ride. It is a walk. The early church was called “The Way”. I suppose “The Way of Jesus”. It is a walk of learning biblical truths and then applying them. You also only arrive when they nail the coffin closed. It is a life of learning.
“They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching.”
If Jesus could say “I did not come to be served but to serve and give my life” (Mark 10:45), then our aim is also to serve and make a difference.
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
“They gave to anyone who had need.”
Date Added: 2008-09-12
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