Daily Scripture ReadingMatthew 28

Verse of the Day – 1 Corinthians 10:31
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Devotional Thoughts

In answer to a question about the purpose of the church, an ordination candidate from our church wrote that the “purpose(s) of the church can be understood as the immediate, intermediate, and ultimate purposes that follow:”

“The immediate purpose of the church is to evangelize the lost. The intermediate purpose of the church is to stimulate one another to love and obedience. The ultimate purpose of the church is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

Evangelism is not inviting someone to Mainstream Fellowship Church in order to get them into an environment where the talented pastor may elicit from them an emotional response for Christ. Telling people the truth about themselves (Rom. 3:20,23; 5:12), the truth about God (Isa. 53:4; 1Tim. 1:15; Heb. 2:2-3; 12:29; 1Pet. 3:18), and the reason for the hope that is evident within you with gentleness and reverence (1Pet. 3:15, Heb. 6:17-20; Titus 2:13-14) is evangelism. Living your life in a manner that evidences the power of God in obedience to Christ is evangelism (Mat. 5:14-16; 1Cor. 2:3-5; 1Pet. 3:1-2,16). Communicating God’s message of mercy to sinners by virtue of the atonement of Christ is evangelism (1Cor. 2:1-2). Secondly, the verse that often gets left out of the great commission is verse 20; after baptizing them, we are to be “teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Mat. 28:20).

The intermediate purpose of the church is to teach and rouse one another to love and obey God. This involves teaching, learning, sharing, and fellowship. The early church was “continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship” (Acts 2:42). Hebrews exhorts us to “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near” (Heb. 10:23-25). We are to meet not only the spiritual needs but also the physical needs of the church (1John 3:17; 2Cor. 8:3-4, 13-15; 9:12; 1Cor. 16:1-3; Acts 11:29-30; Rom. 15:25-26). We are to use our spiritual gifts to equip one another and build up the church (Eph. 4:12), and we are to admonish and teach every man with all wisdom “that we may present every man complete in Christ” (Col. 1:28). We are to nurture one another to maturity. One day, there will be no more lost people to evangelize and no more immature Christians to teach, admonish, disciple, and nurture. We will all be glorified; “we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him” (1 John 3:2).

The ultimate purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. This purpose of the church began at creation and will never end. We are to live “to the praise of His glory” (Eph.1:12). We are always to be rendering a proper opinion of God. Our worship is to be reverential, sincere, and pure. Jesus taught that “the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth” (John 4:23). We assemble together to worship Him, praise Him, sing to Him, and pray to Him. The church is commanded to “let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Col. 3:16). Similarly, the church is commanded to “be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord” (Eph. 5:18-19). We are to meet with God in corporate prayer. The early church was continually devoting themselves “to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42).

The immediate, intermediate, and ultimate purposes of the church are all commanded by the Lord in Scripture; no church should stress one to the neglect of another.”


Well stated.

Finally, allow me to finish this short series by saying that in order to carry out its purpose, a church must have the Seven Marks of a Sound Church as laid forth in these devotions. Without these Seven Marks, a group may call itself a church, but it is not recognized as a sound or healthy church by the Word of God. Likewise, if we find these marks missing or neglected in the church we attend, we should humbly and graciously sound forth the call for reformation and repentance. If that call is not followed by a spirit of revival and renewal, where these Marks are once again present and active in the church, then we should obey the command to flee such an unholy place. Come out from among them and find a church where Jesus is obeyed as Lord.

No matter the size, location, demographics, budget, building, or activities, a sound Biblical church is a congregation of believers in Jesus Christ where:

1. God is worshipped in spirit and truth
2. Prayer is central
3. Love for Christ and the brethren is demonstrated
4. The Word of God is faithfully preached, taught, and heard
5. The ordinances of Baptism and Communion are faithfully administered
6. Discipline of the membership is Biblically administered
7. Church government and leadership as instituted by the Apostles is established

Then, and only then, our church is a sound church and God is glorified by our obedient participation in its various ministries and outreach as a faithful member!

Bible Reading For Further Study
Acts 2:42
Ephesians 5:18-21
Colossians 3:16-17
1 Thessalonians 5:12-22

Recommended Songs for Worship
Send Thou, O Lord, to Every Place
Revive Thy Work