Summary: We need to relearn what being the church of Jesus Christ is all about.
August 14, 2011
Text: Matthew 16:13-20
Subject: The Church
Title: I Will Build My Church -The Fourfold Function of the Church
Last week we finished a five part series on the Great Commission. If you stop and think about it the whole purpose of the Great Commission is for the Church of Jesus Christ to be established by faith in the power and authority that has been given to us.
This week I want to begin to look closer into what it really is that the church is supposed to be. And I want to do that by focusing on the core values of this church and then continue on with the fourfold purpose of the church. Then we will continue the series next week by talking about the vision of the church. Finally, we will end up by revisiting our sixteen fundamental doctrines. I believe it is vitally important for each of you to know and understand what it is that we as a church believe.
Let’s look at the core values of our church. We are a church that “Loves God, Trusts God, and Loves people”. If you connect the dots between our core values and the Great Commission we just finished studying, you see that one goes hand-in-hand with the other. If we truly love God then how can we disregard the command to go and preach and make disciples? If we trust God then wouldn’t we trust Him to empower us with His Spirit and confirm the message we are taking into the world with signs following the way He said He would? And if we love people the way we say we do, how can we refuse them the right to hear about what God has done for them?
Ok, so we have established that our core values are tied to the Great Commission. Now I want to look at the fourfold function of the church. Here they are in not any particular order of importance.
1. The church exists as an agency for evangelizing the whole world. That involves personal evangelism as well as the call to send and support missionaries to every nation.
2. The church exists as a place where believers can come together to worship God corporately.
3. The church exists to provide believers the opportunity to grow in their faith through teaching, preaching, and the administration of the gifts of the Spirit.
4. The church exists in order to help provide for the needs of others by displaying the compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In Matthew 16:13-20, 13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.
Lord, open my eyes to see and my ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.
… I will build my church …
As we go through these for purposes for the church’s being, I want you to understand that these are not four suggestions posted on the Assemblies of God website as things you can do to make church better, these are biblical commands that are given to you and to me so that Jesus can build His church through us and that church will beat down the doors of hell.
Are you ready?
I. EVANGELISM. Turn over to Luke chapter 4. I want you to see something for yourself. In Luke 4 Jesus is in His home synagogue and is getting ready to speak to the congregation there. He begins by reading from the prophet Isaiah chapter 61. I want you to notice the very first thing that Jesus reads and in doing so connects His ministry to it. Luke 4 verse 18, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to… What? to do all kinds of magic tricks to entertain people… To make the religious leaders mad every time we get together… No… he has anointed me … to preach good news to the poor. Right after He left the synagogue then He began His healing ministry, but as He did in Mark 1 we see this, 35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” 38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” 39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons. So when Jesus commanded the disciples to “GO!” and preach the good news, make disciples, work signs and wonders… He was only telling to do what He had done before. Did you ever think about this – if Jesus said that we are to go and preach the “good news” doesn’t that mean then, that there must be bad news as well? The bad news is what happens to those who fail to trust Jesus. Don’t people need to hear the terrible truth about their eternal fate that comes from a life lived without Christ? Jesus told us to go and He has given us everything we need to be effective as witnesses. Our going is directly connected to our teaching others to do the same things He has commanded us to do. OK, so who is going to build His Church? Jesus said He would. We have to stop and look at the dynamic of this chain of command involved. Colossians 1:18, “And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.” Who is the Head? Jesus…Where is He right now? At the right hand of the Father… Who are we? The body – the church… What does He want us to do? Build the church by going and preaching, teaching, and making disciples… We have the message. We have the authority. We have the power. What is lacking? Jesus has opened a door for us that we are reluctant to walk through. It is kind of like this… During any given week I may spend time with as many as three different people helping them learn to play musical instruments. Here are the instructions I give them. As you play you need to learn to sing along because when you do you can begin to hear when there is a chord change. I also teach them as beginners, that they need to count in their heads or by tapping their feet to the beat of the music to help them keep time. Now I have given them some very important information that will enable them to do what they want to do. I have taught all the guitar students those lessons. Out of, say, about 10 people that I have worked with over the last few years, how many would you guess have taken those lessons to heart by actually doing them? ONE! And why don’t the rest try it? Because it is too hard… And that is where the church is in regard to evangelism. We know what we should do but it’s too hard… Who is building the church? Why isn’t it happening? Because God said in 1 Samuel 2:30, that those who honor Him He would honor… Think about that the next time you pray about your lost family members or neighbors. Are you honoring God by being obedient to the Great Commission? If you aren’t, you can change that right now… I will build my church…