I Will Build MY Church
Posted by Pastor Szekely on December 20, 2006
In my previous post, I briefly defined church. This post is a continuation of that one because I ended with this question: Why did Christ want His own called-out assembly, His own institution, His own church? The Lord Jesus says in Matthew 16:18, “…I will build MY church…” – for what reasons…for what purposes? Well, as briefly but as informatively as I can, I’ll endeavor to answer this.
I. TO EVANGELIZE THE LOST
There’s no doubt that Scripture clearly shows us a commission given by Christ to His called-out assembly [His church]. Before Jesus ascended to the Father He said, “Go ye unto all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” [Mark 16:15]; “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations…” [Matt 28:19a].
Now we know who “the world” and “all nations” are – these are the ones without Christ – the lost…but, who are the “ye“? To whom was the Lord Jesus commissioning? He was commissioning His group of born-again, baptized believers, called out for a particular purpose [my definition of church – see previous post]. Jesus called upon His institution in the accounts of the Gospel – and by application, His future institutions, His future true, New Testament (N.T.) Churches – to evangelize the lost.
Note: There is no such thing as ‘Freelance Christianity’. Christians have no authority to do God’s Work outside of a true, N.T. church!
II. TO EMBODY CHRISTIANS
When I use embody, I mean that believers on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation – Christians – will be formed into a body of believers, making a church. How are a group of believers formed into a body, making a church? Here’s the second part of Matthew 28:19, “…baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost…”
Faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ that He IS God, the Son, and that His Blood CAN wash away your sin is the prerequisite to church membership. But the requisite, the other requirement for church membership is water baptism. [Note: I qualify my statement by saying ‘water baptism’ only because there are those who still think that there’s a Holy Ghost baptism today…there’s not, but that will have to be for another post!]
A person must be saved first before he or she can ever be baptized to become a member of a true, N.T. church. The Bible clearly states a person must go through The Blood before the water. This is what’s called a regenerate church membership, and it is a Baptist distinctive…AND it is a BIBLE distinctive!
A church can only be made up of regenerate souls. Yes, there are visitors and guests who attend, but they are not part of the group of born-again, baptized believers, called out for a particular purpose. Those visitors and guests are the very ones trying to be reached. They either are saved or need to be saved, then they need to be obedient in the Lord’s command to be baptized so that they can be in the embodiment of believers in that locale so that they can be discipled and do the works of God.
[Note: I know there can be many questions on baptism, 1 Corinthians 12, etc., and I want to address them…I’m not afraid to because these can be explained and expounded upon, but I can’t now – but I will in future posts…thank you for your patience!]
III. TO ENLIGHTEN CHRISTIANS
In His commission to His institution, the church, the Lord Jesus said, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…” [Matthew 28:20]. The third part of the Great Commission and another reason why Christ wanted His own called-out assembly, was to disciple His followers! Teach them to observe is the call of God upon His church, and not just to observe anything, but to observe whatsoever He commanded! Sounds like to me that true, N.T. churches ought to be teaching, training, discipling believers in doctrine.
A church exists to promote doctrinal soundness in those whom Christ has saved and have been baptized into that body of believers. A vital ministry of a church is to develop the current and next generations of servants for the Lord so that they can continue to carry forth the banner of the Cross. Unfortunately, there are those churches who are not fulfilling this purpose.
The Apostle Paul puts great emphasis on enlightening baptized believers on the Lord’s Doctrine. In the “Pastoral Epistles” Paul often speaks of the need for the preacher to set forth sound doctrine to the ones over whom that preacher has been set as pastor. For example, “If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good ministerof Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.” [1 Timothy 4:6].
The Lord Jesus Christ wanted His own called-out assembly for some particular reasons. He wanted His group to EVANGELIZE THE LOST, bring in those ones who were evangelized – EMBODY CHRISTIANS, and then to ENLIGHTEN them with sound doctrine and wholesome words. “I will build my church” was the Lord’s claim, and He had His reasons. The question is: Are these the reasons why your church exists?
Some “churches” exist just to entertain, amuse, and feed on carnal candy…no evangelizing, no regenerate church membership or an admixture of saved and [known to be] lost on “the roll”, and no sound Bible doctrine teaching [maybe something called “church fathers’ doctrine”, but Scripture is secondary or non-existent]. These need to stop playing church and get to the Lord’s purposes for a called-out assembly!