Posted by: pastortomvabeach | July 21, 2015

Thought For The Week July 26, 2015

The past week has been a fantastic physical and spiritual experience. The physical part was six days of construction labor working on renovations projects at Trinity Bible College in Ellendale, North Dakota. The spiritual part was working alongside the faculty and staff of Trinity and resonating with the vision of training the next generation of Christians who will carry the witness of Jesus Christ through the 21st century. The passion with which Trinity’s leadership serves is contagious and humbling. As always happens on missions trips, I came back different! In a good way!

Continuing in our presentation of the most basic beliefs of the Assemblies of God, it is probably appropriate that we come to number ten, which is “The Church and Its Mission.” I say appropriate because the past Sunday, I shared a message entitled, The Church R Us.

As I mentioned on Sunday, the church is not an institution, nor a building. According to the Bible the church is people, all people who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ as the only way to be free from sin. The Bible calls the church the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23); the dwelling place of God through the Spirit (I Corinthians 6:9); and the flock of God (I Peter 5:2). Every Christian is an integral part of the church as Paul shows in I Corinthians 12:12, as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.

The church, the body of Christ exists on earth with the mission of leading every person who is apart from Christ into a relationship of faith in Him and redemption from sin. Jesus made this clear just before he ascended into heaven. He said, Go…and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you (Matthew 28:19-20) and, you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8). We call this the Great Commission and it is Jesus marching orders to the church.

This mission is the same for every church and every Christian since we are the church. Local church bodies will express this mission in ways that fit their context and help to motivate the people in that local body. The Assemblies of God expresses the mission this way: the priority reason for being of the Assemblies of God as part of the church is: 1. To be an agency of God for evangelizing the world. 2. To be a corporate or unified body in which man may worship God. 3. To be a channel of God’s purpose to build a body of saints being perfected in the image of His Son.

At Christian Chapel we express the mission like this: Making Jesus Known. Our role as the church (you R the church) is to make Jesus known everywhere we may be, whether it be gathered to worship; organized to train, teach, and build of the body of saints; in our homes with our families; or in the marketplaces of life where we interact with those who don’t know Jesus. We want to be known as people of Jesus so that He is known by and in our lives. If we are about that in every phase of life, the Great Commission will be fulfilled and many will find faith in Christ, forgiveness of sin, and entrance into the body of Christ, the church.

The importance of the church cannot be underestimated. As individuals we carry the presence of Christ with us and represent Jesus in the world. Because of this some professing Christians choose to practice their faith isolated from and independent of a local church body. This is not only disobedient to a very specific command in the Bible, let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 13:24-25), but it also puts them in danger of deception and attack from the enemy. When we are not connected with other believers, “considering” them so we can “stir up love and good works”, accountable to others, we are more susceptible to lies that can lead us astray. There is simply not one example in the New Testament of a Christian who was not connected to and submitted to a local body of believers. We need each other.

The other benefit of connecting with other believers is that we have a better chance of actually carrying out the Great Commission if we work together to connect with and reach out to the world around us. Paul tells us He…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…the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love (Ephesians 4:11-12, 16). The body of Christ is meant to work together, everyone joining in to use his or her gifts, to ultimately grow the body both in numbers and in maturity. How can that happen if I am isolated from the body?

God’s design for His people is worship, edification, and encouragement in the company of other believers. This teaching is vital to a well-rounded Christian life. So the question is: are you connected to a local body of believers, whether that be Christian Chapel or another body? What gifts has God given you that should be used to assist that local body to grow and carry out the Great Commission? Think about it.

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