What is the purpose of the church? What is the responsibility of the pastor and the teachers? Ephesians 4:11-12 gives us a clear explanation and breaks it down into three distinct purposes.
- For the perfecting of the saints,…
- …for the work of the ministry,…
- …for the edifying of the body of Christ:
The edifying is the building of the church. The body is edified by more people being added to the church, which is the very purpose for which Christ came. Christ came to build His church, and we are all local assemblies called upon to accomplish that purpose. What causes growth is ministry. What makes ministry effective is the perfecting of the saints. Therefore, we should seek to increase our vision for ministry. In this chapter, we are going to discuss how and why.
Every Christian should be involved in the work of the ministry.
If a person is not involved in ministry, then he is not fulfilling his purpose. The reason we are given spiritual gifts is not so that we can edify ourselves but so that we can edify the body of Christ or build the church. Each of us should be seeking to be involved in a ministry within the church. Soulwinning is not a ministry. It is a personal command for each Christian. The ministry, however, involves everyone in the evangelism of the church and in ministering to those who are added to the church.
In order to be more effective in the ministry, we must be willing to be perfected.
Perfecting is maturing and equipping God’s people for the work of the ministry. Christians should be conscious of growing in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ as a part of their perfecting. In order to do more for the ministry, we must grow more as Christians.
The purpose of our Christian leaders is to help perfect us.
Christian leaders are not here merely to minister to our needs. They are here to build us up for the work of the ministry. In the military, the needs of a soldier are carefully considered; but the purpose of the soldier is to fight and to serve his country. Meeting the needs is a necessary part of maintaining the welfare of the soldiers. However, that is not the main purpose. The end is making good soldiers. That means that the end is making certain that the soldiers’ welfares are considered. The same is true with Christians. We should not look at our spiritual leaders as spiritual babysitters. While they certainly should minister to our needs, their main purpose is to build us up in our Christian walk. Their purpose is not meeting our needs first but perfecting us for our purpose.
The purpose of the ministry is to serve one another.
Let us use the analogy of the military once again. The purpose of the military is to fight for and to defend one’s country. However, every soldier has personal needs; so, therefore, different soldiers have different responsibilities in meeting those needs. Some are cooks who prepare the meals. They are soldiers, but their “ministry” is preparing food for other soldiers. Some are medics. They are still soldiers, but their “ministry” is meeting the medical needs of the other soldiers. All soldiers have responsibilities. That would be similar to the ministries we have as Christians. We minister to one another so that all of us can be involved in the building and the edifying of the church. However, we all minister or serve one another to meet each other’s needs.
If the purpose of our perfecting is the work of the ministry and the work of the ministry is for the purpose of building the church, then all of us should have a greater vision for building the church.
Each of us has the responsibility to edify the body of Christ. That is our main purpose. Christ has chosen to do His work through His church. The local church is the place where we are reaching the lost. It is through the church that the Great Commission is fulfilled. It is through the church that Acts 1:8 is accomplished. Therefore, we should all be more interested in the ministries of the church in order to better accomplish the purpose of edifying the local body.
Every Christian should be actively involved in the vision of building his church.
It is not the pastor’s job alone to take into consideration the work of the church. In the book of Acts, we see many effective Christians were lay leaders in the church who fulfilled their ministry with great commitment. The work of God is not done by the pastor or the staff. It is done by the people, led by the pastor and the staff. If we have no vision for building our church, we will perish; and our church will lose its effectiveness and its usefulness. Many churches have spoiled because their purposes have been forgotten.
As we look ahead to the rest of the year, each of us should ask the Lord what He would have us to do in our ministry. If we do not have a ministry, we should seek the Lord’s guidance as to what ministry is best suited for us. We are not a part of the church so that we can be better Christians and that is the end of it. We are in the church so that we can be better Christians doing a work of ministry in order to help build the church. Each individual is important to the work of Christ and the ministries of the church.
Never underestimate what God wants to do through each one’s life.
Ephesians 4:11-12 – And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Pastor Neal, through his preaching and his counseling, displays the compassionate heart of a pastor, follows the true leading of the Holy Spirit, and expresses a fervent desire to see lost souls come to know Christ. It is his ultimate desire to see the greater Jacksonville area reached for the cause of Christ and for revival to come to Northeast Florida.