Firstly, let’s define “church”. I am referring to the true body of Christ, not an organization with the label ‘church’ on it. I’m referring to people, individuals who make up the body of Christ. This means that the Church is made up of only Christians, not a mix of different religions. Colossians 1:12 says that the saints are the ones who will receive the inheritance. In the context of this verse the word “saints” is referring to those who have heard and believed the gospel of Jesus Christ. In Colossians 1:26-27 God’s Word says that the mystery of the gospel has been shown to the saints. Not everyone understands or accepts the gospel, those who reject God and His plan for salvation are not part of the Church.
Church by definition is a group of Christians who come together and worship God and have fellowship with each other. In II Corinthians 13:11 Paul says that the members of the Church are to be like-minded. This means that they all believe the same thing. If the Church was made up of all different beliefs this would be impossible. Also if unbelievers made up a substantial part of the Church it would not be possible for the Church to be like-minded.
So what is the purpose?
Is it to bring in the unchurched and get them saved? Is it to build more churches for the unchurched and then build more churches and then build more……? Is it to feed the poor? Perhaps start special interest programs catering to depression, eating disorders, infertility, family and friends of homosexuals, post abortion, singles groups, singles retreats, and separated men and women etc. Is it a numbers game? NO!
The Church’s purpose is to equip and build up the saints. That is, to cause those who are already Christians to grow in their walk with the Lord. Ephesians 4:11-15 makes this clear. In these verses God’s Word says that the job of the pastors is to equip and build up the saints so that they will mature to the fullness of Christ. This is an interesting concept, according to this verse the main job of the pastor is to minister and help believers, not to be an evangelist.
It is the duty of every Christian to evangelize whenever possible, in season and out, to feed the poor, whatever you are lead to do but these things are separate from the intention and purpose of the church set forth in the early church.
As Christians we should be going to the unsaved and giving them the good news ourselves, we should not be relying on our pastors to be evangelists and do our job for us!
Christians have gotten very lazy. We are too afraid to witness to our unsaved friends so we invite them to Church and hope that they will be saved there. We need to get up off our seat and do our job, it is our job to go into all the world and preach the gospel!
Because we have gotten to where we expect the pastors to do the witnessing for us we are trying everything we can think of to get unsaved people to come to church. This has lead to a very serious decline in the standards that churches are setting. Churches are compromising right and left in order to keep their attendance high. Pastors are not rightly dividing God’s Word. They are only preaching on the easy subjects so as not to offend anyone. When God’s Word is preached strait and not compromised it will offend people! Jesus was not very popular with a lot of people because he did not beat around the bush, He said it like it was.
In closing I will say, the Church is the body of Christ, made up of Christians. The coming together of the saints, which we call “going to church” is meant to be a time when Christians are built up and prepared to go out and witness to others. The Church must never compromise in order to draw in more people, if this happens it means that the members of that church have already lost the vision that Christ had for them. The Church must be a pillar of truth, (I Timothy 3:15) and since truth is everlasting and will never change, neither should the Church’s views and standards!
A side note:
It’s funny….the early church left everything, their homes and family to go out and preach the gospel. They left everything and had nothing. Its’ funny that today’s evangelists gain the world and it’s riches by doing the same thing.