Summary: The ministry of reconciliation cannot be separated from the preaching or sharing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
WORKING TOGETHER IN UNITY TO ACCOMPLISH GOD’S MISSION
2 Cor. 5:16-21
A. The Mission of the Church: Reconciliation of God and Man
1. It calls for renewal or revival of individual believers and churches that became cold or disobedient to God (2 Cor. 5.16-21).
KEY INDICATORS OF A REVIVED CHURCH:
(a) Passion for God and the Bible – Worshipping/ praying church
(b) Love for the brethren – fellowship and concern
(c) Passion for the lost souls
2. 2 Cor. 5.16-21 refers also to evangelism and world missions which are not only important ministries of the church, but the logical extension of the church.
KEY INDICATORS OF GROWTH IN MISSION:
(a) Numerical growth of members of the local church.
(b) Numerical growth of churches planted
3. However, the ministry also “has its efforts to influence society towards a form of life which is more just, pure, honest, and compassionate, a closer reflection of God’s own character and more honoring to Him” (Milne, 226).
KEY INDICATORS OF A GODLY SOCIETY:
(a) Social Justice and Freedom
(b) Moral Improvement
(c) Economic Advancement
B. The Theological Nature of the Mission of the Church
1. It is God’s strategy in mission to work in and through the church.
Three Kinds of God’s Works:
c. COVENANTAL WORKS: “This is by which through His word and in His acts God has established with His chosen people a permanently binding personal relationship” (Volander, p. 169).
(1) In God’s covenantal works, God is always personally involved and always the initiator. Election, Illumination, Faith, Regeneration, Justification, Adoption, Sealing and indwelling of the Holy Spirit, Glorification
(2) In God’s covenantal works, the result is the “church”.
a. The local church is the tangible expression of God’s presence in the world.
b. The primary context of unity occurs is in the local church.
2. The proper response of the church to God’s work in and through her is obedience to His calling and giftings.
Two Kinds of God’s Calling:
a. GENERAL CALLING: Thomas E. Brown rightly said that the best synonym for “calling” in the biblical context is “discipleship, definitely more than work or occupation” (Brown, 5) (I Pt. 5.10, I Cor. 1.9, 7.10, Hb. 5.4, Ac. 13.13, Lk. 10.25-37). Obedience to the general call of God is synonymous with obedience to God’s inspired written Word or the Scriptures, the Bible.
b. SPECIFIC CALLING: This is based on the particular gifts given to us by the Holy Spirit in the Body of Christ (I Cor. 12).
a. The church is a group of people that decided to follow God together.
b. Unity is biblical and legitimate only if done in obedience to God.
3. The worship of God gives power to the church to obey God’s calling and giftings.
The essential to the worship of God are the sacraments whereby people identify with and remember Christ and the preaching and teaching of the Word centered on Christ as the final Word of God to man. The Reformers consider these two as the true marks of the true church (Carson, p. 38). The Holy Spirit empowers and helps us to worship God. Without Him we could not even begin to worship.
a. The local church finds its identity and power in worshipping God.
b. Unity is a consequence of understanding our common identity in God.
4. The church needs to be administered by pastor(s) “called” by God, exhibit exemplary Christian character, know how to manage their family and have the ability to teach Christian truths.
Local Church Administration Principles:
a. The acknowledgement and firm belief that the Body of Christ is visible, a community of believers that gathers for worship, edification and mission.
b. The fact that God is a God of order (I Corinthians 14.33,40).
c. It facilitates harmony of functions in the church. The pastor is the one that gives license for other ministries in the church to function (Ellis, 120).
a. The local church needs to exist with an appropriate leader.
b. Actual unity of the local church is a product of the church leaders’ integrity, commitment and leadership/administrative skills for the ministry.
5. Churches and their leaders must have a structure or organization that facilitates accountability in order to maintain its integrity and truthfulness.
1. “Statement of Faith”
2. Organizational structure
3. Long-term and short-term goals
4. Personal accountability
a. The local church exists in the context of temporal structures which guides church members’ behaviors and direction.
b. Actual unity of the local church(es) needs structure/organization.
6. Church pastors and leaders have the responsibility to build up the church through regular and varied activities – activities that are holistic and culture-sensitive.
Whatever form of activities, it can be called a ministry if it builds up the Body of Christ. The offices of the church (apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor/teacher) aim to multiply ministries.