The Purpose of the Church by Eddie Foster

Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

These were Jesus’ last words of instruction to the disciples–his last earthly statement. The word “trinity” is the Father,Son, and Holy Spirit. It means one. The disciples were to go make more disciples. That should be our prayer: Lord, help me to do this too.  They were to baptize believers and teach them to be disciples. Baptism signifies to the world a person has died out to sin. It shows submission to the Lord. Jesus won’t send us on a mission work and not go with us. The bottom line is we are to go, whether next door or around the world. It is not an option. 

There are components of this Great Commission. (1) Pursue lost people. America was largely a church culture in the 50’s. Churches put out a sign and people came. That doesn’t happen today. Lost people should come to church, but that’s not in the Bible. It does say that Christians are to go after the lost. We are to compel them. Go to the highways and hedges to find them. There are lost people in our families and in our neighborhoods. God could send angels to do this, but that is not the route he has chosen. It’s through people like you and me. If we fail, there is no alternative plan. The plan will work if we go. In Luke 5 Levi had met Jesus. A change happened. He wanted others to have what he had. If we do not believe in a product we would have a hard time selling it. I can’t sell cars if I don’t believe in them. Jesus is the best thing that has ever happened to us. Why would we not want to share him. I often say it’s a matter of one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread. We should be that way. 

(2) Pursuit of lost things. Luke 15 tells us about the lost coin, the lost sheep, and the lost son. We need to do what was done here–go get them. If there were no lost people to pursue, we could just come here and worship. But we know it’s not true. The Bible says that the way to heaven is a straight and narrow way and few are on it, but the way to hell is broad and many are on it. America has become a predominantly unchurched nature. It’s hard to get lost people to church, but it’s not impossible. People don’t believe church is relevant to their life. We speak a different language. The number accepting Jesus has declined; there is no interest. People don’t care. Some of that rests on our shoulders. There are some general characteristics of evangelistic churches. (a) Confrontational evangelism. This is shown by Peter in Acts 2. He preached and 3,000 were saved. There are not many who can take the Bible and go up to a person and win them to the Lord. We all ought to know the proper way to lead someone to the Lord. The Romans Road is a good one. Take scripture out of the book of Romans and guide a person to see their condition. Romans 3:23; 6:23; 5:8; 10:9 and 10:13.  There is a payday coming.  Good and bad need to be saved. Jesus is the way. (b) Intellectual evangelism. By reasoning with people about the message of Jesus Christ. He was born, lived a sinless life, died on the cross, was buried and rose again. (c) Testimonial evangelism. In John 9 a blind man was healed. When questioned about it, he said one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. Paul used this method when before Agrippa. He told him what the Lord had done for him on the road to Damascus. (d) Relational evangelism. Jesus healed a man of his demons and told him to go home and tell his family what he had done for him.  Go tell people. Through your changed life, let people know what Jesus has done for you. Don’t be ashamed to be a Christian. (e) Invitational evangelism. In John 4 Jesus met the woman at the well. After this conversation she ran into town saying “come see a man….is not this the Christ.” She invited them to come. (f) Service evangelism. In Acts 9 Dorcas is described as full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.  When a friend who sold insurance asked Henry Ford why he got his insurance from someone else, he said “you never asked me.” Will your friends say “you never asked me” when speaking of inviting them to Christ? That would be tragic. One day they will. 

There are components of an evangelistic church. (1) Gratitude flowing from our love of Christ ought to be our motive. (2) Loving obedience to what he told us to do. (3) The messenger. The average person feels it is the responsibility of the preacher. You’ll not find that in the Bible. In Acts 8, it was the lay people who spread the gospel. (4) Edification of saved people. The ultimate goal is not just to reach people, but to disciple them, getting them ready to reach people and in turn disciple them.  The process repeats itself.  There are three elements in the edification process. (a) Teach new believers. People who have just been saved are spiritual babies. They begin to learn. A good place to start is the book of John on the milk of the Word. We don’t stay babies forever. We are to grow. (b) Encourage new believers to fellowship with more seasoned Christians. Acts 2 says they continued in fellowship and prayer. (c ) Lead new converts to worship God. We are to know God with our minds and hearts. People not only met at church but in small groups. 

The success of the New Testament church is directly contributed to the dedication and commitment of the people within that congregation. The church can prosper for the glory of God. I want you to ask God to help you be a more effective witness and a bolder one. We have no trouble talking about many things, but when it comes to talking about Jesus we clam up finding it hard to say anything. We can sense the moments God is directing us. Take advantage of it. If he’s working in your heart, I can assure you he’s working on the other side. Don’t be afraid. He promised he would never leave us. He sent us. He said to win them, see them baptized and disciple them. He’ll not give us a task that he won’t go with us to help accomplish it. He’ll equip us to do what he has called us to do. This is not something we can or cannot do. He commanded it. Go. He will equip us.

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