Jesus told Peter and the other apostles that He would build His church (Matthew 16:18). Following the preaching of Peter on the day of Pentecost, more than 3,000 people became the nucleus of this new church. With the apostles continual preaching, many more were added to this church (Acts 2:47). But, for what purposes was this church established?
Studying the New Testament, several purposes are discovered. Each purpose serves a distinct aspect of this church built by Jesus, who is its head. A short consideration of five of them is the aim of this article.
One purpose is for the church to grow in number as well as the members to grow in their faith in Jesus and His message. The numerical growth of the church is seen in the book of Acts as the apostles took the message of Jesus to the world. Consider the churches which were established in the region of Samaria, in the city of Antioch and all the various places Paul preached, like Philippi, Corinth, Ephesus, even Rome. Every creature under heaven heard the gospel preached (Colossians 1:23).
A second purpose is to provide a place of worship for a group of Christians in a given locale. They are told not to forsake the assembling of themselves together (Hebrews 10:24-25). In this assembly they are to honor God by singing praises to Him, talking to Him in prayer, honoring His Son by participating in the Lord’s Supper, which is a time to remember the body of Jesus which was crucified and His blood that was shed for a new covenant. In all of this, each member is stimulating the other to love and good deeds.
A third purpose is for each member to encourage fellow members when difficulties in life arise; such as sickness, death of a loved one or financial struggles (Acts 4:32-35).
A fourth purpose is the constant teaching of God’s word so as to increase the knowledge of each member thereby increasing their faith in God (Ephesians 4) and the necessary information to overcome the various trials in life.
A fifth purpose for the church is to do things which are pleasing to God and His Son (2 Corinthians 5:9). By each person having this attitude, then everyone will receive the reward of being eternally with Jesus and His Father.
The church, with its various purposes, was a vital part of the life of the first century Christians and should be ours also. As members of this church, we should want to accomplish these purposes Jesus had for His church. As church members, pleasing Jesus should be an important goal as we are living God’s way.
Carlton G. McPeak is an evangelist working in the Florida Gateway region. All Scriptural quotations are from the New American Standard Bible, Holman Bible Publishers, unless otherwise stated. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.