WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE CHURCH?
In recent years, the purpose of the church (in the minds of men) has been rapidly changing. When I meet people for the first time and the conversation turns toward church, I like to ask them why they attend the church of their membership. Some say they like the programs they have for their children. Others say the church is in a convenient location. One person even told me they like their church because they can “get in and get out quick”. While most people are sincere in their efforts to set aside time for public worship, it is needful for all of us “church goers” to develop a correct understanding of the purpose of the church.
When I was growing up in the South, I remember a preacher who occasionally said,‑”the church is getting more worldly, and the world is getting more churchy”. He was basically saying that the‑church is becoming more like the world; therefore, the world is‑becoming more interested in the church. One scripture that is most basic to developing a correct understanding of the purpose of the church is Romans 12:2: And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. The word “conform” means “to fashion alike or to follow the same pattern.” The word “transform” basically means “to change.” In the verse in which the words appear, Paul is teaching the importance of avoiding the human tendency to live like the masses who follow the changing trends of the culture in which they live. He then instructs us to follow a precise, unchanging‑pattern for developing our character. Instead of doing things the way everyone else does we are instructed to prove (scrutinize or test) what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Rom. 12:2b). Every attitude and action is to be scrutinized by what the scriptures have to say about it.
One of the purposes of the church is to assist the Lord’s people in their efforts to resist this human tendency to conform to the world. This can only be accomplished as we respect God by respecting His word. The Bible is God’s inspired, infallible word and contains everything He would have us to know about Him and His will for our lives (See 2 Tim. 3:16-17, Psa. 12:6-7, & 2 Pet. 1:3). One cannot say they honor God if they despise (disesteem) His word. Consider the following verse in Psalms 138:2: I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy loving kindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name (emphasis mine). In light of this scripture, how can “church goers” make the statement, “It doesn’t really matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere.” This is diametrically opposed to what the Psalmist stated. The truth is of ultimate value in the church’s purpose to assist the members in transforming their lives. In the book of Proverbs, we are instructed to, Buy the truth and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding (Proverbs 23:23). The purpose of the church is not political reform; however, many of the moral issues which are at the forefront of political debate are clearly addressed in God’s word. That’s not to say that individual members of the church should not be involved in politics. Indeed we need more people in public office who are committed to honoring the principles of God’s word. However, our purpose as a church is to”…save ourselves from this untoward generation.” (See Acts 2:40). It is only as we learn the word of God through clear, relevant exposition of scripture that we will be able to prove (scrutinize) what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. It is only then that we will be able to, …live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world (Tit. 2:12).
Have you‑been looking for a church where learning and obeying the word of God is of utmost importance? Do you have a‑desire to return to the simple New Testament pattern of worship consisting of prayer, singing hymns, and clear Bible preaching? Do you want to worship with people whose fellowship is based on a love for the truth of the scriptures? Are you tired of all the auxiliary programs and business aspects of the church that distract from pure worship? If so, we invite you to worship with us at Fort‑Wayne Primitive Baptist Church located at 2006 Nuttman Avenue directly across the street from the new Brooklyn Medical Associates building. We meet each Sunday at 10:30 am. For more information, contact Pastor Buddy Abernathy at (260) 417-7839 or BuddyAbernathy@juno.com
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