|The Church -
by Pastor Paul Van Noy
Last month we examined the message of the Gospel and discovered
that those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ are born again.
(Available on-line at www.goodnewsnorthwest.org) We are “called
out” of darkness, sin, and death; and “called into”
fellowship with the Lord. As born again believers, we join others
and form a spiritual family. This Family of believers is called
the Church. The church is not an organization developed and led
by men but is a living organism lead by and built by the Lord Himself.
Jesus said, “I will build My church, and the gates of Hades
shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
This month we will examine more about the Church and how God uses
us in the world. The Bible tells us, it is God’s will that
every believer join with other members of the spiritual family for
united worship, instruction, fellowship and encouragement. Those
who refuse to gather, are resisting the leadership of the Bible
and work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
Many people think of the Church as a building. It’s common
to hear people ask, “Where do you go to church?” In
this context they are asking where they attend a gathering, or what
denomination they affiliate with. The Church is not an organization
or building made of sticks and stones. The Church is not a denominational
segment of the body. (Some erroneously believe their denomination
or group is the only true Church.) The Church is the organism God
is building, made up of the people He has called to Himself - from
every tribe and nation.
What “In the World” is God Doing with the Church?
God desires that we all come to maturity in Christ. Therefore,
He has placed us in the “body.” He has given us gifted
leaders to assist us in our growth. The purpose is to bring us to
a place of fruitfulness in ministry. (Every believer is called and
gifted for some specific responsibility and usefulness in the world
today.) We are witnesses unto the Lord; God uses us to give glory
to His name, reach those around the world with the gospel and benefit
others believers as they grow. We are uniquely called and set apart
for this blessing.
Paul the apostle said, “Now you are the body of Christ, and
members individually.” (1 Corinthians 12:27) “And He
(God) Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists,
and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for
the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till
we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the
Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the
fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-13)
You Are the Ministry Team.
We are living in a period of history called the Church Age. In
this dispensation, God has chosen to use the Church as His ambassador/s
to represent Him and serve on His behalf. As Believers, we are called
as one body, working together, for the glory of God.
As a unique and specifically called people, we are designed and
created by the Lord with an intended purpose. A person who goes
to a church building and assumes this is part and parcel of the
Christian experience has missed the beauty of being the Church.
We are called out from sin and death, to serve the Lord, to minister
to one another, and reach out to the rest of world in Jesus name.
By the work of the Holy Spirit, the teaching of Scripture, and the
leadership of the Church, we are equipped and developed into mature
saints, prepared for ministry.
In part, you have come to know Jesus and are a member of the Church
because someone took the time to share God’s love and plan
of salvation with you. By God’s grace, you have been given
the greatest gift available to man. It is important that you share
what you have come to enjoy with others so they to may know Jesus
and enjoy eternal life. Jesus told His disciples to "Go…
and teach all nations…" (Matthew 28:19) You will be encouraged
as you see your friends and family come to know the Lord. Share
your faith and watch the Lord work in your life. Daily, as you surrender
to the Lord, He will use you and develop your function in ministry.
You are an Ambassador for Christ!
Next month we will look at the local church (noun) and we will
discover more about churching (verb) with those in the family.
Blessings to you all, Pastor Paul