Why was the church of Jesus Christ founded? What is the church’s purpose? What does the Bible give as a reason for the church being brought into existence?
Jesus’ Church Founded
Jesus Christ said that He would build His church and that the gates of hell, or death, would not prevail against it and so we know the church can not be stopped from existing (Matthew 16:18). The church that I am under-shepherd of is not my church, the church is not the elder’s church or even the members of the congregation, but this is Jesus Christ’s church. He is the Head of the Church and the church is called the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27, Ephesians 4:12, Ephesians 5:23). The church was founded upon the apostles, prophets and Jesus Christ Who is the Chief Cornerstone of it (Ephesians 2:20).
The church was officially founded on the Day of Pentecost after Jesus’ death and resurrection and its creation was only made possible because of the Holy Spirit coming that day and by Jesus purchasing the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28). This is recorded in Acts 2:1-4, “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” The word “Pentecost” (Greek, “pentekostos”) means the number 50 and occurred 50 days after the Passover, the same number of days after Jesus’ death on the cross.
Church’s Marching Orders
Jesus gave the church its marching orders and it was given by the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ five times! The main thrust of these commands for the church is found in Matthew 28:18-20, “Jesus came and said to them, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” and Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” We see that the church’s purpose is the Great Commission of proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world. That is one of the main purposes of the church. The church is actually commanded to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and to take it into all the world. We are to be His witnesses “to the end of the earth,” across the globe and across the street.
The Church’s Purpose
We have already read that the church’s purpose is to proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth and is also commanded to assemble together on a regular basis. The writer of Hebrews says in 10:25 to “not [be] neglecting meeting together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” If you think that living the Christian life is a solo act, you could not be more wrong. Just a quick reading of 1 Corinthians 13 and Romans 12 shows how this is impossible to do on your own. We are commanded to assemble together for one another, to grow in grace and knowledge, and to spur one another unto good works for the glory of God (Hebrews 10:24).
Another purpose of the church is to glorify God. How so? First Peter 2:12 is clear about this as he wrote, “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.” Jesus said in Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” The church is to glorify God and that is one of the main purposes of mankind but it is also the purpose of the church.
The church is to glorify God collectively but also individually by ascribing worth to God in all things and giving thanks for all things. Paul wrote to the church at Philippi saying, “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11) and also wrote “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
The New Testament is clear that the purpose of the church is the same purpose for which we were made: To glorify God and to take the gospel into all the world. These are the chief ends of mankind and the church and we can glorify God by living our lives as Christ did, by loving our enemies, by sharing the good news with the lost, by loving one another, and by our good works which will glorify God. We must also be certain to ascribe to the Lord the credit for all the good things we have. When something good happens to us we should always thank God for it and tell others that it is God Who is most worthy to praise and ascribe credit too. Nothing happens outside of the sovereign will of God. Even bad things work out for our best (Romans 8:28). Acknowledge Him in all things.
God says “I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols” (Isaiah 42:8). In worship songs we should, “Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious” (Psalm 66:2) because, “apart from [God] there is no savior” (Isaiah 43:11b) so, “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:6). That is our purpose and also the purpose of the church that Jesus Christ built.
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Resources – New International Version Bible (NIV) THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. YouTube video “The Church’s One Foundation” by Indelible Grace