In his book, "Theology for Disciples" (1996, 1989), Gilbert W. Stafford tells us that the Ekklesia of God is "an assembly called out of the general population for a particular purpose or cause" (pg. 157). The church started by Jesus Christ can be thought of in this way. We, as believers and followers of Jesus, have been called by Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, to show Him to the world, and to tell everyone we meet about the Kingdom of God. We are commanded to go out into the world and make disciples of all peoples and nations (Matthew 28:18-20 When Jesus came near, he spoke to them. He said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. So wherever you go, make disciples of all nations: Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to do everything I have commanded you. "And remember that I am always with you until the end of time.").
As the Body of Christ, the church is to go out into the entire world and proclaim that the Kingdom of God is here. It is our responsibility to let others know that Jesus is risen from the dead, and had indeed entered history two thousand years ago to show us that He is the Lord of all creation, and also that the future of all mankind, whether to us it looks like it or not, is firmly in His capable hands. The church is commissioned by Jesus Himself to teach that redemption from sins can only come through Him and Him alone.
We, as the church, are a body of people who have been reconciled to God through the atoning work of His Son, Jesus, on the cross of death. As His followers, God calls us into fellowship with him to let the world know that He loves us and wants us to be His people.
The true mission of the church of Jesus Christ is to preach the good news (Gospel) that forgiveness of sins is at hand even today. Bringing Jesus' message of life and salvation to the world at large is our first priority. We are to show God's love and mercy to all human beings because they are all God's creation, and to help them see that God is a God of love and not of anger. But, by Jesus' own command, the most important task of all that we are to accomplish for Him is to make more disciples that He can use to spread the Kingdom of God on earth before Jesus returns at the end of the age.
While we are waiting for Jesus to return, we are to keep the Gospel moving forward. We must not confine ourselves to our church buildings; we must not keep the salvation of Jesus Christ to ourselves, or keep Him in a gilded box that we open up every now and then to remind us that Jesus is ours and ours alone. The commanded mission of the church of Jesus Christ is to bring Him to the world, so that everyone may have a chance to respond to the Holy Spirit's call of redemption and life.
In the beginning of the church, all believers had a relationship of belief and trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. They didn't always get it right, and occasionally had to be corrected by others who had a much deeper relationship with Jesus, as whole church more than the individuals that made up the church. Together, they supported each other with goods and services when needed in the community whether they were believers or not. The church also supported the Apostles whenever and wherever the need existed, as they traveled the countryside speaking of Jesus. They gave all of themselves toward Jesus' mission, whether it was money, food, clothes, or a place to stay when traveling. But, most importantly, even today, we are a church waiting for our Lord and Savior to come back and usher in the fullness of the Kingdom of God.
Today, how do we as a church live in a culture that is slowly destroying itself because it will not give into God's call for repentance, and not become a victim to the culture ourselves? There is only one answer to this question that will satisfy our God in Heaven: "Follow me," Jesus said. If the church of Jesus Christ continues to focus its efforts to continue the mission of salvation for all people squarely on the Lordship and guidance of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus gave to us to help us do His work, then we will remain apart from the culture around us.
This is not always easy, because Satan is continually attempting to draw believers back into the world by the world's many temptations. Be it TV, movies, beauty, food, drugs, alcohol, Satan will use these things to get us back into his kingdom so that our Christian testimony will be tainted just enough that people will no longer listen to our message. Only by remaining open to the Holy Spirit's leading can we overcome the Devil and his evil ways. The culture can only do to us what we allow it to do to us. God's strength and wisdom are the tools we need to defeat Satan at every turn, so that our testimony as a church can be free from the stain of sin, giving the world nothing to throw back at us in the way of wrongdoing within the church.
Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We, as His people, must always remember that we can do nothing in our own strength. But, with the strength and power of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the church of Christ can help save the lives in our communities and our culture one sinner at a time.
Stafford, Gerald W. (1989, 1996). Theology for disciples: systematic considerations about the life of Christian faith (pgs. 157-167). Warner Press
Scripture taken from God's Word 1995, God's Word to the Nations Bible Society. Database 2008, WORDsearch Corp. All Rights Reserved.
Bobby Bruno was saved 15 years ago in a way that left him no doubt that Jesus wanted him to reach others with His great and abounding love. He started writing at the age of 12 and hasn't stopped since. He achieved Associates Degree in Biblical Studies from Ohio Christian University in early 2014.
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