Purpose of the Church: Nurture

 

 

“Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.”
– Colossians 1:28

 

The writer of Hebrews encourages us to stick together and continue meeting corporately. His purpose is simple, that we would stir one another up; not in an emotional frenzy or for mere Biblical knowledge, but to continue the work of ministry in love and good works (Hebrews 10:24). I actually like the word “provoke” used in the King James Bible. This second purpose of the church then, is to grow in our understanding of truth (doctrine) and act on it by Godly interactions with one another. We will not thrive and be filled with the Spirit without Christ centered, one-another interactions. God never intended for us to run solo.

It is the very intent of Christ, that we should be complete or “perfect” in Him. This passage in Colossians tells us, in part at least, how that is accomplished. The elements listed here are first the teaching and preaching of the Word of God and second the “warning” or exhortation of each one to do what is right while acting in wisdom. This teaching takes many forms. It may be in the public proclamation or in a small classroom. Teaching can take place one-on-one in a formal discipleship setting, or in simply learning Biblical principles through the observation and discussion with wise mentors. God gives us various abilities and roles by which the church is nurtured. Consider Ephesians 4:11-12, “And He gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…”

We want to discuss the characteristics of each of these roles in a later study. For now, consider again the purposes of these roles. It is Christ’s desire that we are equipped through them for the work of ministry. Two things are evident right away. While the Holy Spirit does teach us individually, it is in the very plan of God to utilize His church and the people within to cause us to grow. Those who distance themselves from the church miss out on the nourishment God intends to bring through it. God intends for us to learn from each other. Notice also the two-fold reason for these roles. It is not only that the church be “edified” or built up but also so they can accomplish the work of ministry.

Wouldn’t you think it ridiculous to separate Jesus from the works that He did? He spoke so often of love, service and prayer. What do we see of Christ? He is continually loving, serving and praying. Our works follow us being equipped.

Ask yourself today, how are you being equipped to serve in the body? Who are you equipping? Do your works demonstrate these truths?

Matthew Elroy

Disciple of Jesus, Husband, Father & pastor.