GLEANINGS FROM THE SCRIPTURES
The Resurrection Begins God’s Church
By Keith L. Estes
Since the Church is the Body of Christ and since the human body is the figure that the Spirit of God uses in setting forth the nature and function of the Church, it is proper to think of the Church as the instrument or vehicle used by Christ in the manifestation of Himself. The human body is the vehicle by which the human personality manifests itself. The body is the necessary instrument of personal expression. The purpose of the Church is at least fourfold.
To Reveal The Purpose Of God [Paul states] “Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the un-searchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 3: 7-9). The express purpose is to enlighten men concerning the Church. A little thoughtful observation reveals the great need of this enlightenment. Ignorance concerning Church truth results in confusion concerning God’s plan =C 2 To Make Known God’s Wisdom to principalities and powers. [Paul says] “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God” (Ephesians 3:10) The Church is not only of concern to men, but also to the angels who take an active interest in the affairs of this earth. They sang for joy on the morning of creation. “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:7). They seem especially interested in Christ’s redemptive work. “Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into” (1 Peter 1:12) (emphasis mine) Though possessing a high degree of intelligence, angels could only understand God’s intentions toward this world as expressed in the incarnation of His Son, His suffering on the cross, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The full functioning of the Church is a means now of making manifest the divine purpose, but the fullest manifestation to these heavenly intelligences will take place in the ages to come.
To Witness Of Christ’s Saving Grace. The mission of the Church is revealed in the service it renders. Its responsibility is to lead people to Christ. The supreme responsibility of the Church is to preach the gospel to every creature. This mission is entirely in keeping with the message of the Old Testament that has as its supreme burden the revelation of the redemptive purpose of God. All services of the Church should be such as to attract men and women to Christ.
To Develop Spiritually those who receive Jesus Christ as their Saviour. The commission of Jesus Christ was to make disciples of the nations and to teach those who confessed Him to observe all things He commanded. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always. Even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19,20). The one who confesses Jesus Christ, as Saviour should be built up in Christ so that he may attain to the fullness of the stature of Christ and in turn go forth as a witness for Christ.
Reference: Christian Theology by P.B. Fitzwater, D.D. Eerdmans publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan.