God’s overall purpose is to bring glory to Himself.
The Church is an assembly of believers in the risen and glorified Savior. The local church is “an institution ordained of God and exists to please and glorify Him!”(1) Far above all other reasons for its existence, the main purpose for the church is to bring glory and honor to God. In fact, this is God’s main purpose in ALL that He does. All things were created “for thy pleasure” (Rev.4:1). God’s purpose in all that He does (including the church) is to bring glory to Himself. “Covenant theology sees the ultimate goal of history as the glory of God through the redemption of the elect.”(2) It is certainly true that God IS glorified when a sinner comes to Christ and is saved. However, that is just one of many ways in which God is glorified in this age. Covenant theology’s concept of God’s purpose is far too limited. The glorious gospel of Christ which saves the sinner is a marvelous revelation of the love, grace, holiness, and justice of God (Rom.1:16-17; John 3:16). Without minimizing the significance of so great salvation or the gospel message, the purpose of the church must be seen as much deeper and broader than evangelism only.
Throughout the ages, it has always been God’s purpose to bring glory to Himself by manifesting His holy character. When God judged Egypt, His purpose was that the Egyptians might know that He is the Lord (Ex. 7:5,17). God recorded for us His purpose in sending judgments in Egypt: “to the end thou mayest know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth” (Ex.8:22). Again, God states His purpose: “that thou mayest know that there is none like Me in all the earth” and that “my name might declared throughout all the earth” (Ex.9:14,16). God’s purpose has always been that His glory be declared among the heathen (I Chron.16:24). Even when God protects and blesses His people, His purpose has been to “make (His) holy name known in the midst of (His) people” (Ezek.39:7) because He is “jealous for (His) holy name” (Ezek.39:25b). Whether in blessing or in judgment, God’s purpose is always the same – to make Himself known. Any time God’s character is made known, He is glorified, because everything about our thrice holy God is glorious!
The primary way in which the church glorifies God is by manifesting the indwelling life of Christ to men and angels (Col.1:27; Eph.3:10, 21). The church is His witness upon the earth today. In the Old Testament, God manifested Himself directly to Adam (Gen.3:8). God manifested Himself to Moses in a burning bush (Ex.3:2-14). God manifested Himself in the Most Holy Place in the Tabernacle (Ex.25:22). God later manifested Himself in the Temple, and His glory filled the Temple (II Chron.5:14). The ultimate manifestation of God’s presence is found in the revelation of His Son (Heb.1:1-2). In the incarnation, God’s life was manifested in human flesh. This is precisely the purpose of the local church (I Tim.3:15-16). It is God’s vehicle on earth of manifesting Himself.
During the gospel period, the Lord Jesus was upon the earth bodily, ministering for the glory of God. This was the ultimate revelation of God to mankind. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). While no man can see God, the Son came to “declare” who He is to the world (John 1:18). Men who saw the Son during His incarnation, in a sense, “saw” the Father (John 14:9). They “saw” what God is like. Christ came to manifest the “name” of God to the world (John 17:6,26). The eternal Son became a Man that He might reveal God to men. The incarnation itself (Phil.2:5-11), His sinless life, and His death on the cross all reveal the character of God to the world. Whenever any aspect of the character of God is manifested, God is glorified, for everything about God glorifies Him. During His earthly ministry, Jesus Christ manifested the life and character of God.
During the Kingdom age, the Lord Jesus will once again be on the earth bodily, ministering for the glory of God. His reign will demonstrate to all men that God is holy, righteous, just, loving, gracious, a God of order, truth, and peace. During His earthly ministry in the gospels, Christ’s divine glory was “veiled” in human flesh. But in the future Kingdom age, He shall openly manifest Divine power and glory (Matt.25:31; Rev.1:7) to the whole world. In that day, the entire world will be covered with the knowledge of the glory of God (Hab.2:14; Isa.11:9). God’s purpose has always been to manifest Himself. As God is made known, He is glorified.
During the present dispensation, however, the Lord Jesus is no longer on the earth manifesting God to men through His human flesh (veiled in the flesh, the Godhead see!), but is at the right hand of the Father in heaven (Acts 7:55). Since the ascension, Christ’s glorified human body has been at the Father’s right hand. However, the church (or a portion thereof) is on earth as His spiritual Body, and Christ dwells in this Body (Col.1:27). Once again, God has chosen to manifest Himself to the world in human flesh (I Tim.3:15-16), through the yielded members of His spiritual Body. Thus, while the Head of this Body is in heaven, the Body is on the earth, functioning and ministering His will in His absence. John Darby wrote, “It is this earth that we inhabit that God has taken to make the scene for the manifestation of His character and His works of grace.”(3) It is God’s glorious purpose during this age to manifest the life of Christ to the world through the church (Eph.1:22-23). The world cannot see Christ who is in heaven, but it can and does see His Body on the earth. “The Christian should be the perfect presentation of the character of Christ in the world that has turned Him out. We are the living witnesses of what we are enjoying of the Christ they won’t have.”(4) Oh, how important is the holy behavior of members of the body, especially in light of our reason for being (I Tim.3:15)!
The FULLNESS of Christ is manifested through His Body (Eph.1:23). The Body is to be FULL of those qualities that characterize the Lord Jesus. Jesus Christ is life (John 1:4; 14:6), and hence, the Body is to manifest His life (Col.3:4; II Cor.4:10-11). The Lord Jesus Christ is Truth (John 1:14; 14:6), and hence the Body is to proclaim, manifest and uphold His truth (I Tim.3:15). The Lord Jesus Christ is full of grace (John 1:14), and hence the Body is to manifest God’s grace (Eph.2:7). The Lord Jesus Christ is Love (I John 4:8), and the church is therefore to manifest the love of God (John 13:35; 17:26). The Lord Jesus is omnipotent, the Mighty God (Isa.9:6). The church is to manifest the power of God (Eph.1:19-20; 3:20). The Lord Jesus Christ is omniscient (John 16:30; 18:4; 21:17). Thus, the church is to manifest the wisdom of God (Eph.3:10). God’s purpose is to manifest the life, love, wisdom, grace, and truth of the Lord Jesus to men and angels in this age. His vehicle for doing so is the local church. In fact, this purpose for the church is to extend on into eternity! “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness towards us through Christ Jesus” (Eph.2:7). God’s purpose for the church is to “shew” or to manifest what He is like to men and angels. In so far as a local church follows HIS plan and pattern as set forth in the New Testament, walks in HIS will, and is yielded to His Spirit, God’s purpose is accomplished unto HIS glory. God has no use for a religious organization that functions according to its OWN plan and program and in which Christ’s life and love are not being manifested (Rev.2:4-5; 3:14-20).
God’s purpose for the individual member of Christ’s Body is a Spirit filled life that radiates Christ.
Every believer of this age is commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph.5:18). This filling will have an obvious outward effect in the believer’s life, such as singing, joy, thankfulness, and submission (vs.19-21). The believer’s responsibility is to yield self to God (Rom.6:13). When the Christian is yielded, he IS filled with (controlled by) the Spirit of God. The Lord cannot accomplish His purpose for the individual believer until that believer is yielded to Him, to His Word, and to His will. Yielding contains both a negative and positive element. The believer is not to yield his members unto sin (negative). He is to reckon self to be dead (Rom.6:11). On the positive side, he is to yield self unto God and reckon self to be alive unto God. Yielding is a continual attitude of saying NO to sin and YES to God. This yielded attitude renders the believer as pliable clay in God’s hands, able to be formed however the Master chooses. When yielded to God (available, willing, eager to serve, willing to listen and obey) the believer IS filled with the Spirit, and the Spirit of God is able to produce His fruit in that life.
The believer is exhorted to WALK in the Spirit (Gal.5:16). The Christian’s walk speaks of the whole manner of life, the carrying out of everyday activities. All is to be done under the control of the Spirit. In Romans 12:1-2, Paul speaks of the normal Christian life as one that is yielded and surrendered to God as a “living sacrifice.” When the believer’s life is offered to God as a living sacrifice, the world is unable to conform that life to its ways. That believer’s mind and heart will be renewed and transformed, because he is practicing God’s will. Such a Spirit filled, surrendered life ought not to be considered an elusive goal only achieved by the giants of the faith. It is the normal Christian life. Whatever the believer does while under the control of the Spirit will bring glory to God, even down to the mundane activities of life. All is sacred (I Cor.10:31). This yielded, surrendered life is a prerequisite for the work God desires to do in the child of God.
God’s purpose is to form Christ-like character IN each member of His Body.
The fruit of the Spirit is Christlike character (Gal.5:22-23). God’s purpose is that Christ be “formed” in every believer (Gal.4:19). The word “formed” means to form or to fashion. It was originally used of artists who shaped their material into an image.(5) The Holy Spirit is at work shaping the inner life of the believer to reflect Christ. In that sense, Christ is being “formed” in the Christian. Of course, Christ is already present in the believer, but His character is in a process of being formed in that life. Kenneth Wuest wrote that this term “formed” refers to the “act of giving outward expression of one’s inner nature.”(6) In other words, the Holy Spirit is not producing a counterfeit, outward form of godliness (II Tim.3:5), but the real thing! Paul’s concern for the Galatians was that they were attempting to produce Christlike character by adherence to the law rather than through the Spirit (3:1-5; 4:9-21). The proper way to produce godliness and spiritual fruit is to allow the Spirit of God to produce it through the yielded members of a saint who is in communion with Christ. When that is the case, Christ is being “formed” in the believer.
Paul recognized that the purpose of God’s call in his life was to reveal Christ in him (Gal.1:15-16). From the womb, Paul had been chosen and dedicated to this purpose. In these verses, God’s immediate goal was to reveal Christ in Paul. In verse 16, Lightfoot believes that the prepositional phrase in me “does not speak of a revelation made inwardly to himself, but of a revelation made through him to others… Paul was not only the instrument in preaching the gospel, but also in his own person bore the strongest testimony to its power.”(7) Homer Kent noted that the preposition used is not through (dia) but in (en), and that in his view, it is “much more likely that the revelation is to Paul himself.”(8) While it may be difficult to discern the exact sense in which Paul used “en” in Gal.1:16, certain things are clear. An inward, subjective revelation of Christ was given to Paul (Acts 9:3). It is also true that Christ was magnified and made known through Paul’s life (II Cor.4:10-11). In a supernatural work likened to creation, God causes light to shine in the darkness of man’s heart at the moment of saving faith (II Cor.4:6). Paul describes the believer as a clay lamp which houses the “light of the knowledge of the glory of God” (II Cor.4:6-7). The believer’s body, like a clay lamp, is the housing from which light is radiated to others. Christ is first revealed to us (through His Word), then in us and through us to others. Christ was revealed in Paul that he might preach Christ among the heathen (Gal.1:15-16).
Christ dwells in every believer of this age (Col.1:27). God’s desire is that we grow in our outward expression of that inward reality. Paul called the Galatians little children (4:19). They had not grown up spiritually. There was little outward evidence of Christ in the lives of many of them. The stubbornly immature, worldly, and carnal believer is hindering the supernatural process of Christ being formed in them. God is limited in them. Their clay requires much more molding and shaping before others see Christ’s image in them. The Galatians needed to turn away from the law as a rule of life and turn to the Spirit as a rule of life so that Christ might be formed in them.
Conforming men to the image of His Son has been God’s eternal purpose (Rom.8:28-30). Before the foundation of the earth, God determined that some men would be become like His Son unto the praise of His glory (Eph.1:4-5). The present process of spiritual growth has been designed by God for the same purpose, namely, to change men into His image (II Cor.3:18). Throughout eternal ages, those believers, marvelously transformed into the image of Christ will demonstrate God’s grace and kindness forever (Eph.2:7). God’s purpose for the individual member of the Body of Christ will be accomplished.
God’s purpose is to manifest Christ THROUGH each member of His Body.
Manifesting the indwelling life of Christ is God’s purpose for the church, as well as for the individual member of the Body. Before Christ can be manifested through the believer, He must first be formed in that believer. God desires for each believer to reflect an accurate picture of Christ to the world. Thus, a holy manner of life is so vital! The believer is to grow in his understanding and experience of God’s love, grace, and power in his life (Eph.3:16-21; II Pet.3:18). As this takes place, the character of the Head is manifested unto the glory of God! Above all else, God’s purpose for the saint is to manifest Christ.
When the world views a believer or a local assembly of believers, they should see Christ (II Cor.3:2). Paul called the Corinthians “living epistles, known and read of all men.” The testimony of the Corinthians was not exactly sterling, nevertheless, they were epistles observed by the community. Letters communicate a message. God’s purpose for the Christian is to communicate an accurate message to the community in which he lives, as a witness for Him. Paul also noted that the Corinthians were “manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ.” They were not only epistles, but conspicuously so. A changed life is “manifest” to all observing. In this illustration, Christ is writing the letter, and the Holy Spirit is the “ink” on the page. The ink is applied and leaves an impression or a record of the mind and heart of the author. God’s purpose is for the Holy Spirit to “write” (love, joy, peace, etc.) on the heart of each Christian. The ministry of the Holy Spirit results in a spiritual transformation that is manifestly declared to all observing that life – unto the glory of God.
Accomplishing God’s purpose of bringing glory to His holy name ought to be the goal of every believer. Any worthy goal comes with a price tag, and glorifying God often “costs” the Christian. “All they that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (II Tim.3:12). Paul was driven by a desire to manifest Christ, and was willing to suffer so “that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in [his] body (II Cor.4:10). He knew that the divine purpose for believers is that “the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh” (II Cor.4:11). As believers are filled with Christlike character by means of the Holy Spirit, Christ is magnified (made great; enlarged; made big enough to see!) in their human bodies. Because magnifying Christ in his body was his goal, it mattered not whether it was by life or death (Phil.1:20-21). Paul’s life was dedicated to bringing glory to God. Fulfilling God’s purpose for this age involves yieldedness to His will and a willingness to suffer for Christ. It is through the fellowship of His sufferings that the believer is able to grow in his personal, experiential knowledge of Christ, and is enabled to manifest the resurrection power operating in his life, unto God’s glory (Phil.3:10).
Of course, the work of forming Christ in the believer is God’s work. The kind of Christlike character that brings glory to the Head of the Body is God’s work from start to finish (Phil.1:6). It is by means of the Holy Spirit that the believer is transformed into the image of (II Cor.3:18). By this process, Christ is magnified and manifested. The Christian is God’s workmanship (Eph.2:10). A fine painting is the workmanship of a master artist and declares the talent, not of the canvas, but of the artist. So too, the believer’s regenerated and sanctified life declares the power, grace, love, and righteousness of God (Rom.1:17). The purpose of the believer as God’s workmanship is to bring glory and honor to the Master. Forever the believer will an example to men and angels of God’s grace because He did all the work (Eph.2:7). Salvation is of the Lord.
God’s Immediate Purpose: The Perfection of the Saints
The purpose of the church in a practical sense is to edify and instruct the saints, that each believer might individually, and the church corporately, manifest Christ more clearly. The immediate purpose of the gifted church leaders is to perfect the saints (Eph.4:11-12). Wuest defines “perfecting” in this passage as “to equip for service.”(9) The purpose of the church assembling together for the regular worship service is not for evangelism. The church is a gathering or assembly of believers who do not need to be evangelized. The purpose of the church meeting together is to edify the saints, equip them for service, and to bring them to maturity (Eph.4:13-15). The early church met together and “continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). They met together to worship God, and to minister to one another, thus building up the Body of Christ. When saints are taught and trained, then they will be brought to the “fulness of Christ (Eph.4:13). This is God’s purpose in the church assembling together. God’s plan is that the saints might mature to the point of becoming full of that which fills Christ – holiness, purity, love, grace, compassion, truth, etc. Wuest defines this fullness as “the sum of the qualities which make Christ what He is.”(10) Paul stated that this was God’s purpose for the church’s relationship to Christ as Head. The church is “the fulness of Him that filleth all in all” (Col.1:22-23). The church’s relationship to the Risen Christ and its communion with Him, result in this “fulness.” God’s purpose is that Christ might fill the church with His holy character. As this takes place, Christ is being formed in that church (Gal.4:19) in the sense that Christlike character is being formed in the individual members of that church. The believers are being perfected (matured) and the picture of Christ in that assembly is being perfected. When that takes place, the church is an accurate reflection of Christ. HIS life and HIS character are manifested to men and angels, unto the glory of God.
God’s Secondary Purpose: The Work of the Ministry
The pastor and teachers are to instruct the saints and equip them to do the work of the ministry (Eph.4:11-12). When the saints are taught and brought to maturity, the result will be faithful, Spirit filled service unto the edifying the Body in love as well as spiritual growth and increase (Eph.4:16). The Body will function as God designed. When this plan is followed, the outcome is a strong, discerning, well equipped, maturing, functioning Body which Christ the Head can use and direct for His glory. This kind of spiritual growth is what Paul calls the “increase of God” (Col.2:19), an increase of which God is the Source. This stands in stark contrast to much of the “increase” in Christendom today, which increase often comes through man-made, man-centered, pragmatic (and often highly “successful”) schemes of the flesh. The Lord is still able to add to His church today when His plan is followed (Acts 2:42-47).
All too often in our generation, churches meet together for the purpose of evangelism. There seems to be an assumption prevalent today that men are seekers after God, and that our church services ought to be redesigned to meet the need of such seekers. However, the Bible states that there are none that are seeking after God (Rom.3:11). Men may be seeking religion, a way to sooth a guilty conscience, or some way to resolve their problems and to feel good about themselves, but men do not seek God on their own. When the church’s regular worship services are redesigned as seeker services to emphasize evangelism, (contrary to God’s pattern found in Ephesians 4), the result is that the saints are hearing the gospel fifty two Sundays a year, and are not being built up in the faith. Redesigning the main church service in order to appeal to the lost is a departure from God’s plan. It may be appealing to men, it may add to the “numbers,” but is it not a better idea to design the church and worship services after the pattern set by the One truly responsible for the increase (I Cor.3:6)? When the early church followed the pattern of meeting for worship, prayer, breaking of bread, and the apostles’ doctrine, the result was that “the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47). The church increased with the increase of God (Col.2:19). The Biblical pattern is that the regular meetings of the church were primarily for the believers, not for the lost. When the gathering of the saints was over, THEN evangelism was to begin in earnest!
The church meets to worship GOD, to offer unto HIM spiritual sacrifices (I Pet.2:5), and to equip the saints. It is all for the glory of God. In ALL things Christ is to have the preeminence (Col.1:18). Christ is to be the center of it all, and the believers are IN Him. “It is a heavenly place He takes, and our gathering through the cross is to Him there, in the good where evil cannot come. There is our communion – entering into the Father’s house in spirit. And this, I apprehend, is the true character of the assembly, of the church, for worship in its full sense. It remembers the cross, it worships, the world left out, and all known in heaven before God.”(11) Such worship strengthens the individual believer and the assembly corporately because it draws each one closer to Christ, the Vine, the Source of all strength and grace (Heb.4:15-16; 10:20-22; John 15:4-5). Abiding in communion and worship with Christ produces genuine spiritual fruit. The MAIN purpose behind all the worship services, functions, and activities of the local church ought to be bring the saints to maturity that the indwelling Christ might be formed in them and manifested through them unto God’s glory. Paul’s purpose in ministering, preaching, and warning was that he might “present every man perfect (mature) in Christ Jesus (Col.1:26-29). Only prayerful, faithful, Christlike, discerning, maturing saints are able to effectively present the gospel message and function as God’s witness in the world. Well-taught and discerning believers are thus able to walk in newness of life and do the work of the ministry. This is God’s purpose for believers meeting together in the church.
God’s purpose for the church in the world is to be a witness for Him.
God has another purpose for the church in the world. While the immediate purpose of the church assembling together is for the edification of the saints, the main purpose of the church in the world is to manifest Christ to the lost. God has strategically placed believers “in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation” and they are to “shine as lights in the world (Phil.2:15). The saints are to be equipped to minister to one another AND to minister the gospel in the world. When the saints are taught and equipped, then they are sent out into the world to evangelize the lost (II Cor. 5:20). The moment the worship service ends, evangelism begins! Believers are to preach the word wherever they go (Acts 8:4). Ambassadors are sent out as the Lord’s representatives. Members of the Body of Christ are sent out into the whole world to bring the gospel to the lost. It is paramount that an ambassador be a respectable representative of his “country.” For that reason, our testimony or witness is so important. If men are going to believe our message, our lives must be believable! We are to walk in wisdom toward them that are without the assembly (Col.4:5-6).
God’s purpose in this age is for the gospel to be sent to every creature and every nation (Matt.28:19-20). A church that is not involved in evangelism is not fulfilling God’s will or purpose. A church that is busy ministering to itself, building itself up, edifying itself, and reaches no farther than its own four walls is self-centered. Training, edification and equipping of the saints is not an end itself, but is a means to an end. God’s goal is that the church be built up SO THAT it can effectively function in the world and carry out Christ’s will on earth. What function should the church have in the world today? Its purpose is not to form soup kitchens or to teach Third World countries how to plant corn. The purpose of the church is not to meet the physical needs of the world. Nor is it the purpose of the church to become involved in politics and to “clean up” the world. According to Acts 15:14, God is in the business of calling gentiles out of the world for His name’s sake. God’s will is that men hear the gospel of God’s grace today! The church that is ministering only to its own members (self centered) and has no heart for evangelism, has left its first love (Rev.2:4). The church ought to be CHRIST-centered. When that is the case, the church will love what Christ loves. He loved lost mankind enough to die for the sins of the whole world (John 3:16; I John 2:2; 3:16).
The church’s purpose is to carry out the will of the Risen Savior in His absence. When Christ was in the world, He sought after lost sheep to bring them into the fold (Luke 19:10). This is what “Jesus began both to do and teach until the day in which He was taken up” (Acts 1:1-2a). The Book of Acts describes the way Jesus CONTINUED to minister on earth through His Body, the church. He is no longer in the world, but He has designed His Body to carry out His will in His absence. Our Head from heaven fills the church with His fullness, and Christ was FULL of compassion for the lost. The church that is in tune with God will be full of that same kind of compassion for the lost, for God is not willing that any should perish (II Pet.3:9). Jesus’ earthly ministry was confined to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt.10:5-7). After His resurrection and ascension, His purpose was that the good news be brought to the whole world (Matt.28:19-20; Acts 1:8; Rev.5:9). Training, edification, and equipping of the saints are necessary, but they are not an end in themselves. The church is to be strong, discerning, well taught, and well equipped SO THAT they might have an outreach and a witness to the world around them. God has entrusted the glorious gospel of Christ to the church.
In addition to shepherding the sheep, the pastor is also to do the work of an evangelist (II Tim.4:5). This work might involve special evangelistic services, a literature ministry, personal evangelism, or a thousand other forms. But more importantly, every Christian is to be involved in the work of evangelism! This leaves the church with not one, but MANY evangelists. The pastor and teachers are to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry (Eph.4:11-12), which certainly includes bringing the gospel to the lost. People who would never step foot in a church building will have an opportunity to hear the gospel through the lives and verbal witnesses of the church members scattered throughout the community. This is not to say that we should NOT bring the unsaved out to church. We should! When the lost visit an assembly of the saints, and the Biblical pattern is not followed, they will declare “ye are mad (I Cor. 14:23)! But if an unbeliever visits a church service where the Word of God is emphasized and expounded, they will sense God’s presence, be convicted, and declare, “God is in you of a truth (I Cor.14:24-25)!
Evangelism is one of the ways in which God’s purpose for the church is fulfilled in the world. When a sinner is brought to Christ, God is glorified. The preaching of the gospel reveals God and His character. The preaching of the cross reveals God’s righteousness, grace, and His love (Rom.1:15-17). When the church is involved in evangelism, God is glorified even if the sinner rejects the message and chooses to remain in his sin. When God’s character is revealed, He is glorified, regardless of man’s response. Thus, the church is fulfilling God’s purpose of bringing glory to His holy name by actively, aggressively, compassionately, and consistently spreading the good news around the community and around the world (Acts 1:8). This would involve both personal evangelism and world missions. The increase is of the Lord (I Cor.3:6), but the responsibility of the task belongs to members of the church. God’s purpose is to bring glory to His holy name by manifesting Himself to the world through the Body of Christ, by preaching the gospel, leading souls to Christ, indoctrinating them, and establishing local churches. This IS the work of the ministry. If the church is not training men for the ministry (II Tim.2:2) and sending them out with the gospel message, men will not hear (Rom.10:14-15). This message has been entrusted to us (I Tim.1:11; Eph.6:19-20). It is required of stewards that a man be found faithful (I Cor.4:1-2). The believer will not be judged on the basis of how many souls he led to Christ, but he will be judged on the basis of faithfulness to his stewardship (I Tim.1:11). May we be found faithful!
1. Carlton Helgerson, The Local Church as Revealed in God’s Word, page 8
2. Renald Showers, There Really Is a Difference, page 20
3. John Nelson Darby, Hopes of the Church of God, pages 23-24
4. John Nelson Darby, The Christian Cannot Set the World Right, tract
5. Dr. Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete New Testament Word Study Dictionary, page 997
6. Kenneth Wuest, Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, Vol.I, Galatians, page 129
7. J.B. Lightfoot, The Epistle of St. Paul to the Galatians, page 83
8. Homer A. Kent, The Freedom of God’s Son, page 43
9. Ibid., Ephesians, page 101
10. Ibid., page 102
11. John Nelson Darby, Churches and the Church, pages 45-46