Summary: Examines the purpose of the church and believer’s individual responsibility.
THE DESIGN AND FUNCTION OF THE CHURCH
In preparation for this message, I did a study and found that the first time the word “church” is used in the Bible is in the passage we just read. Matthew 16:18 is the first verse in the Bible where we find the word “church” used. In that verse, Jesus promises to build His church and He says, “The gates of hell will not prevail against it.”
Imagine that! Jesus said the gates of Hell could not stop His church, could not win against His church, could not win against His Bride. The gates of hell themselves could not stop the church’s progress.
Sadly, I am afraid today that it isn’t the gates of hell that are prevailing against many churches. I am afraid that many churches are failing, are having trouble today because we have forgotten our purpose, we have forgotten our mission. We have forgotten why we exist.
Win Arn, a leading church consultant conducted a survey:
He surveyed members of nearly a thousand churches asking the question, “Why does the church exit?? The results? Of the church members surveyed, 89 percent said, “The church’s purpose is to take care of my family’s and my needs.? For many, the role of the pastor is simply to keep the sheep who are already in the “pen happy and not lose too many of them. 89%. Can you believe it?
This morning, I would like to share with you the ingredients that go into, that are required of a true church.
Now, there are many buildings in our community and across our nation that have people meet in them every week. There are many buildings with “church” written on a sign in front of them, but that does not make them a church any more than writing “university” and placing it on a sign in front of a daycare center makes it a university. You can call a pig a horse, but that doesn’t make it run any faster. There are certain things that make a horse a horse and there are certain things that make a church a church. This morning I would like to share with you the requirements, the expectations Jesus has of His church.
First I would like you to see with me the commission of the church.
I. THE COMMISSION OF THE CHURCH
In these verses Jesus gives the purpose of the church and some of the steps to fulfilling that purpose. In verse 18 Jesus says:
Go and do what? Make disciples.
The Commission of the church is to make disciples.
I believe that we as a church are leading people to the Lord. I believe we are being salt and light in the world. I believe we are helping people to grow, but I fear that we are not producing many true disciples of Jesus Christ.
We may do many things as a church. We may sing together. We can reach out. We can visit. We can encourage one another and do all of those other things, but if we are not making disciples, we are not fulfilling the commission Jesus gave us.
Now, many of you would probably consider yourselves disciples. Let me give you 7 marks of a true disciple and as I do, let me ask you to put a check mark by the ones that accurately describe you. True disciples:
1. Embrace salvation by grace through Jesus Christ
2. Learn and understand the principles of Christian living
3. Obey God’s laws and commands
4. Represent God to the world
5. Serve other people
6. Reproduce themselves in Christ, become more like Christ.
7. Worship God with sincerity, intensity, and consistency. (Adapted from 2000-2001 Seminar notes by George Barna)
In order to make disciples, we must first, be disciples. The commission of the church is to make disciples.
As we think of the church and our commission, we must also look at the functions a church and its members must be involved in order to fulfill our commission. I believe there are 7 primary functions a church and its members must be involved in.
II. THE FUNCTIONS OF A CHURCH
1. Worship – The first function of the church and of Jesus’ disciples is worship.
> Matthew 4:10 …Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him.
My friends, worship should be a priority in this church and in the life of every believer, in the life of every disciple of Jesus Christ. We are to worship regularly, faithfully, and with all of our heart.
> John 4:24 God is spirit, and His worshippers must worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Let me ask you my friend, when you come for “worship services” on Sunday morning, are you worshipping Him in your spirit or are you just going through the motions? Have you prepared your heart? Have you gotten the rest you need so you won’t be so easily irritated and distracted by the people you encounter before the service begins? Have you asked God to let Him be pleased with you and your worship during the service?