This week, I want to publish some posts specifically on the church. I want to write not so much what the church is but rather what the church does (or should do). Although I will provide a cursory definition of what the church is simply for clarification.
The word church literally means “a public assembly of people.” I would add that it is a gathering of people who have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus. They have been saved by the Christ and have declared Him as Lord over every aspect of life. The church then is a body of believers, living together as a called out people, worshiping with one another, for the glory of God and to bring joy to one another.
I love the church. I love both the local and universal church. I cant remember a time in my life when I was not part of a church. I really do believe that the church is the hope of the world. What does the church do? What should the church do? What is it’s function?
When Paul wrote his first letter to Timothy, he clearly delineated the exact function of the church. Here is what he had to say:
I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth (1 Tim. 3:14-15).
Here are six observations based on this text that speak to what the church does specifically relating to how it handles the truth:
1. Proclaims the truth. The church heralds the truth of the gospel. The church unashamedly declares that Jesus is the exclusive way of salvation (John 14:6). The church does not shirk away from saying that in fact they do have a monopoly on the truth, provided that the truth is grounded in the unadjusted gospel.
2. Demonstrates the truth. The church demonstrates the truth in a way that it becomes visible and viable to everyone. The church preaches what it practices. There is a direct connection between theology and methodology. There is no disconnect between promulgation and demonstration.
3. Upholds the truth. The church does this in such a way, that if it left the community, it’s absence would not go unnoticed. The truth is upheld in such a way that it is visible from afar and tangible up close. People who are jaded by religion, when being present in this community of faith, find healing and restoration, through Jesus.
4. Teaches truth you can trust. People who become a part of the church realize that it teaches truth that can be trusted. It is not a self-esteem boosting, self-helf seminar happening every Sunday. It is a center for truth, centered around the truth.
5. Founded upon truth. The church is able to weather any theological storm. The foundation upon which it is found, cannot be shaken. The church does not shake or quiver when attacked by outside ideologies that stand in stark opposition to the gospel.
6. Guards the truth. The church understands the truth, rightly realizes the value of the truth and vigilantly guards this truth. The church has a sober awareness of the battle against the truth and is ready to battle for truth. The church then becomes known in the community not what it stands against, but rather what it stands for.
This is what the church, the household of God, made up of the people of God, does.
Question: What else would you say that the church does? Or should do?