Defining Your Purposes:
What Does the Bible Say About the Church?
Matthew 5:13-16; 9:35; 11:28-30; 16:15-19; 18:19-20; 22:36-40; 24:14; 25:34-40; 28:18-20; Mark 10:43-45; Luke 4:18-19; 4:43-45; John 4:23; 10:14-18; 13:34-35; 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2:41-47; 4:32-35; 5:42; 6:1-7; Romans 12:1-8; 15:1-7; I Corinthians 12:12-31; II Corinthians 5:17-6:1; Galatians 5:13-15; 6:1-2; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19-22; 3:6; 3:14-21; 4:11-16; 5:23-24; Colossians 1:24-28; 3:15-16; I Thessalonians 1:3; 5:11; Hebrews 10:24-25; 13:7,17; I Peter 2:9-10; I John 1:5-7; 4:7-21.
NOTE: We will spend some time on these Scriptures in the coming weeks.
ANOTHER NOTE: Rick Warren recommends a book written by Gene Mims called “Kingdom Principles for Church Growth.”
What Should We Look For When We Study the Church?
1. Look at Christ’s ministry on earth.
What did He do? What would He do if He were here today?
2. Look at the images and names of the church.
The church is a body, a family, a bride, a flock, a community, and an army.
3. Look at the examples of the N.T. churches.
What did the first churches do? Study N.T. churches.
4. Look at the commands of Christ.
What did Jesus tell us to do?
Matthew 16:18b) [GW] You are Peter, and I can guarantee that on this rock I will build my church. And the gates of hell will not overpower it.
The church belongs to Christ. It’s not our job to create the purposes of the church, but to discover them. Jesus has already established the purposes for His church, and they’re not negotiable. Our duty is to understand His purposes and to implement them.
Look For Answers to Four Questions:
- Why does the church exist?
- What are we to be as a church? (Who and what are we?)
- What are we to do as a church? (What does God want done in the world?)
- How are we to do it?
Put Your Findings In Writing:
As we study the church we should put what we discover in writing. We should say everything we discover about the nature and purposes of the church.
Focus on getting all the purposes clearly identified.
Summarize Your Conclusions In a Sentence:
We need to then condense all that we’ve learned about the purposes of God for the church into a single paragraph; then, we need to condense it further into a single sentence. This sentence will be the Purpose Statement of Walk of Grace Chapel.
Why only a sentence? We want it to be something that we can all memorize.
What Makes an Effective Purpose Statement?
It is Biblical.
It must state the N.T. doctrine of the church.
It is specific.
It needs to be simple and clear. This isn’t where we record our statement of beliefs. We keep it short and to the point. A narrow mission is a clear mission.
A specific purpose statement forces us to focus our energy. We can’t be detoured by peripheral issues.
Ask the question, “What are the few things that will make the most difference for Jesus’ sake in the world?”
It is transferable.
It needs to be short enough to be remembered and passed on by every member of the church.
People don’t remember sermons. They remember simple statements, slogans, and phrases. What do you remember from President Kennedy’s speeches? From Martin Luther King’s speeches?
It is measurable.
It should provide a specific standard by which we can review, revise, and improve everything our church does. If we can’t evaluate our church from our purpose statement then we need to go back to the drawing board.
Two Great Scriptures:
The Great Commandment:
Matthew 22:37-40) [GW] Jesus answered him, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
38) This is the greatest and most important commandment.
39) The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’
40) All of Moses’ Teachings and the Prophets depend on these two commandments.”
The Great Commission:
Matthew 28:19-20) [GW] So wherever you go, make disciples of all nations: Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
20) Teach them to do everything I have commanded you. “And remember that I am always with you until the end of time.”
A Great Commitment to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission will grow a Great Church.
The Five Purposes of the Church:
- Love the Lord with all your heart.
- Love your neighbor as yourself.
- Go and make disciples.
- Baptize those disciples.
- Teach those disciples to obey the Word.
#1: Love the Lord With All Your Heart:
The word that describes this purpose is worship. The church exists to worship God.
#2: Love Your Neighbor As Yourself:
The word that describes this purpose is ministry. The church exists to minister to people. Ministry is demonstrating God’s love to others by meeting their needs and healing their hurts in the name of Jesus.
#3: Go and Make Disciples:
The word that describes this purpose is evangelism. The church exists to communicate God’s Word. The word “go” in the Great Commission is a present participle in the Greek text. It should read, “as you are going.” It’s every believer’s responsibility to share the Good News wherever we go.
#4: Baptize Those Disciples:
Romans 6:3) [GW] Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
The word that describes this purpose is belonging. The church exists to bring others into a place of belonging. When someone is baptized into Christ they are baptized into His body, the Church. It says to the world, “This person is now one of us.”
#5: Teach Those Disciples To Obey the Word:
The word that describes this purpose is discipleship. The church exists to edify, or educate God’s people. Discipleship is the process of helping people become more like Christ in their thoughts, feelings, and actions.
Ephesians 4:11-13) [GW] He also gave apostles, prophets, missionaries, as well as pastors and teachers as gifts to his church.
12) Their purpose is to prepare God’s people, to serve, and to build up the body of Christ.
13) This is to continue until all of us are united in our faith and in our knowledge about God’s Son, until we become mature, until we measure up to Christ, who is the standard.
Saddleback’s Purpose Statement:
To bring people to Jesus and membership in His family, develop them to Christlike maturity, and equip them for their ministry in the church and life mission in the world, in order to magnify God’s name.
NOTE: Notice the 5 “m’s.” They are membership, maturity, ministry, mission, and magnify.
Walk of Grace Chapel, Council Bluffs Church