The Purpose of the Church

Mar 30, 2017   //   by Nel Sewraj   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Why did God set up His Church in the earth? Many pastors differ in their opinions, and most Christians have no clue. In the 90’s Rick Warren’s book “Purpose-Driven Church” relegated the purpose of the Church to evangelism, fellowship, prayer, worship, ministry, discipleship and so forth. But these are the functions of the Church – not the purpose. Purpose is different from function. Purpose is what God made the Church for. It is the original plan of God for His Church. Function, on the other hand, is what something is used for. It is the activities assigned to the Church.

Satan is always out to hijack the purposes of God. Right from the beginning in the Garden, he thwarted the nature of man to hijack God’s purpose for him. Now Satan is doing the same with the church. He has convinced man to use the Church to serve himself. Megachurches and megastar pastors have become the icons of modern Christendom. The Church today is more about the people than God. We must return God’s Church back to Him and restore God’s purpose back to His Church.

So here are the 10 original purposes of God for His Church:

1. To reveal the government of heaven (or God) on the earth

The Church is called to pray in this manner: “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven (Matt.6:10) because the Church is a glimpse of God’s government in the heavens. The Church is called to make God’s government in the heavens visible on the earth. The Church first establishes God’s government within the people and through them into every domain of society.

God’s Church must be portrayed as regal and royal in the eyes of society. Society must admire our order, ranks and authority as the Church. That’s why rebellion, lawlessness & anarchy in the Church has to cease. The world is full of dishonour, disorder and breaking of ranks. So believers cannot perpetuate the same. Everything we do must be governed and ordered well. So, have a well-ordered life, family and marriage. Order the way you think, speak and carry yourself in your dealings and associations.

2. To reveal Christ as the standard and measure of all things

Christ is the standard & measure of all things (Col.1:15-16; John 1:1-4). All “success” must be measured against Christ. His standards are the only valid standards. He is the measurement of all things because He is the cornerstone.

Accordingly, His Body which is the Church, is the standard for everything that takes place in the earth. The Church is the standard-bearer for the non-Christian world (1 Cor.14:24-25 “But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all…And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth”). When non-Christians look at our lives, families, how we manage & use our resources/ finances & so forth, they must feel so deficient that they will say: “Let’s go up to Zion & there learn the ways of God.” (Isa.2:3)

3. To be the voice of God in the earth.

The Church is the conscience of society. Therefore we must speak up & throw light on everything happening around us. The Church should never shrink back, barricade itself off or refuse to be a voice in society. What God is saying to you and your Church must get out.

We must hear what the Lord is saying & go and tell them: “This is what the Lord told us…” Tell the non-Christians too; many will turn to God when we do. The Church must be able to speak into people’s lives at any time and in any place. After all Christ came to give people life in abundance and not salvation only. The Church is all about being God’s voice in the earth.

4. To extend and expand God’s kingdom into every domain of society

The Church is called to invade every domain & penetrate every strata of society. In Daniel 2:34-35, 44 we read about the stone that was cut out by the hand of God. It struck the statue and became a great mountain that filled all the earth. In 1 Peter 2:6 the stone is laid in Zion, which is the Church. The purpose of the Church is to strike every other kingdom and fill the whole earth with God’s Kingdom.

We should never limit Kingdom expansion to the four walls of the local Church. It goes beyond. Our members must get out into every domain of society and change the world. They must be trained to take over in the domains where God has positioned them, whether in education, business, politics and so forth.

5. To manifest the manifold wisdom of God against principalities and powers

Eph. 3:10“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”

Eph.6:11 speaks of the “schemes of the enemy”. Verse 16 speaks about “the fiery darts of the enemy.” The wisdom of God that proceeds from the Church has the power to override and shut down the schemes & fiery darts of the enemy.

Church members must be trained to win battles in the spirit world and not in the natural. In the natural the enemy has power over them. But in the spirit, they have power far above all principalities & powers. Therefore, they must take their problems to the spirit world & deal with them there. This approach provides permanent answers and will eliminate the need for draining counselling sessions.

6. To become the dwelling place of God

1 Tim.3:15 says that the Church is the house or dwelling of God. The Church is not built for our gatherings, programmes & services. It is built for God. So, He must descend when we gather. When we meet, He manifests among us and moves freely in our midst. God must descend from the heavens and dwell among us. The God-factor is essential. He must be there. Or else it is only us, and that is not enough.

The Church is God’s dwelling place. “Dwelling” means to make a place home; to live and express oneself freely & with no restrictions. We cannot put God under house arrest in His own house! Is He able to manifest in any way He wants in your Church? Can He express Himself freely? If He can then we have built the Church accurately.

7. To break dividing walls between peoples, tribes and nations.

The Church is not a melting pot of cultures. The Church is where every culture is broken & only Kingdom culture prevails. Christians must learn to break everything that is outside heavenly culture. We cannot act or think like an American, African, European, Indian, upper class, low caste and so forth. In Acts 6:1, the Grecian Christians & Jewish Christians began to measure themselves against one another. This is not Kingdom behaviour.

The Church should not be dominated by one single culture for this divides the Church (Eph.2:14“For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation”). Neither should the prevailing culture of the city or environment (e.g. the socio-economic conditions) be dominant in the Church. Only the culture of the Kingdom must be present.

Kingdom culture is the dominant culture and we must work towards that culture alone. We are not a multi-cultural or multi-racial Church. We are a heavenly Church. The Church is created by Him & He is heavenly. The culture of the Church is therefore a heavenly culture (i.e. Kingdom culture). We need to raise a Church that understands that every dividing wall is broken: culture, age, gender, status and class.

8. To fulfil the pledge of the Father to the Son

Acts 2:34-35 – The Father’s pledge to the Son was that He would make all His enemies His footstool. This is mentioned in Psalm 110:1: “Sit at my right hand…until I make your enemies your footstool”. But how will God do this? Through His Church. “The LORD will send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies!” (Ps 110:2).

God is using us, His Church, to fulfil this pledge to bring every enemy under total subjection to Christ. The purpose of the Church then is to complete & finish Christ’s final battles with His enemies (e.g. sin, sickness, satan, wickedness). The Church will also deal with, and destroy, the final enemy of Christ: death! That’s why the Church cannot become preoccupied with fighting its own personal, internal or domestic battles. Members must rise above their personal battles so they can take on the enemies of God.

9. To express the covenant relationship between God and man.

Abraham walked in such a level of covenant with God that God worked with Him as a “friend of God” (James 2:23; 2 Chron.20:7; Isa.41:8). He was God’s friend and ally. The Church must manifest this dimension of life and covenant with God.

God moves on our behalf when we walk in covenant with Him. He attests to our covenant with Him with signs, wonders & miracles. God will manifest and reveal that He is present with us when we keep covenant with Him, just as He did with Elijah on Mt Carmel.

Even the witchdoctors, diviners and sorcerers in the world manifest supernatural powers because they choose to covenant with demonic spirits. In the same way, when God manifests in His Church, everybody will recognise that we are His friend, ally & partner.

10. To sum up all things in Christ, both in heaven and on earth.

Eph. 1:9-11 “having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself…that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him…In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.”

God’s ultimate goal is to gather all things in heaven and earth together in Christ. Through His Church God will bring everything in subjection to the Christ. The Church is called to pull everything and align it to Christ. If the Church is called to align all things to Christ, it must itself be accurately built and aligned to the head of the Church.

To take hold of the powers of the air and change your city, the Church must be built strong. Nothing in your environment can change until the church is built accurately, enabling it to rise to a position of power. This is God’s purpose for His Church: that your entire city and nation be changed and adjusted to the measure of Christ.

Concluding Remarks

Whatever God wants to do in your city and nation, He is going to do it through His Church. This is the reason why the Church needs to be built accurately and aligned to God’s original purposes for it. When such a Church is built God will shift the dynamics of the entire city around it.

Do you want to see the transformation of your city? Are you ready to lead your city into the destiny God has for it?   Then build the Church according to God’s original purpose.

 

(This is an adaptation of a discourse by Dr Jonathan David)

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