The Church is the assembly or congregation of those who are called out of the world just as Israel was brought out of Egypt. The Church is the community of the redeemed – people who have met with the transforming grace of God. Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 4:11-13; Acts 1:8
The New Testament refers to the Church as (1) the family of God (2) the flock of Christ (3) the habitation or temple of God (4) the assembly of the separated, called-out people and (5) the Bride of Christ.
The Church has a mission on earth and a mandate from God. God has carefully outlined the mission and mandate of the Church in His Word so that we can know what He expects His Church to be and to do.
As we study God’s plan for His Church, three mandates emerge: Worship, Edification and Evangelism. Worship is our upward focus, Edification, our inward focus, while Evangelism is the outward focus of the Church.
1. EXALTING THE LORD IN WORSHIP
Psalms 99:5; 100:1-5; John 4:21-24; 2 Kings 17:36; 1 Chronicles 16:29; Ecclesiastes 5:1; Psalm 95:6,7,8; 1 Corinthians 11:4-16;14:24,25,40.
Redeemed souls desire to worship God, look forward to the day of worship when they come to God’s presence to be fed, refreshed, strengthened, enlightened, empowered and equipped for the battles of the coming week.
God delights in, demands and deserves our worship. When we know the love, majesty, greatness, glory and honour of God, we will always want to worship Him. We worship Him
because He is holy. If we give our secular concerns all the attention and time they demand, much more should we do to divine worship. Understanding and appreciation of
God’s greatness, majesty and power should lead us to worship Him acceptably. It should lead us to give Him greater honour and reverence than we give to earthly men of high social status.
Worship in the Church is very important. It is a time when we worship the Lord and glorify Him. True worship is not
formal but functional, purposeful and energising. It refreshes, strengthens, enlightens, empowers and equips us for the battles ahead. If we know the great price and
value of our salvation, we will have a thankful heart towards God. There will be a desire to worship and spend much time in God’s house and presence because we love Him much. It will not be our practice to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. When we come before God, we must be God-conscious.
Worship becomes sweeter when we abandon ourselves in the hands of God. We love to devote our time, our money, ourselves to God in worship – singing, listening, praying,
praising Him, having unhurried fellowship with God whom we love so much.
2. EDIFYING THE CHURCH WITH THE WORD
Acts 20:28, 32; Jeremiah 3:15; Nehemiah 8:4a, 5, 6, 8, 9; Acts 20:7; Luke 10:38-42; Job 23:12; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17; 4:1-5.
We come to the assembly of God’s people to be edified with the word of God. Edification is another mandate of the Church. What does it mean to edify ? It means “to lift up, to build up, to strengthen.” Each time we come together, we are to edify one another. We get edified by reading, studying and listening to the Word of God. The Word of God brings a reappraisal, realisation, repentance and a reordering of our lives.
Although the ministry of the word edifies each of us, each one must also seek to edify others – ready to give as he receives. The plan and purpose of God is to edify us, make us grow spiritually, lift up our spirits, strengthen us, energise and empower us for the tasks ahead. We are therefore to encourage, strengthen and lift others up in fellowship. The responsibility for edification lies with each of us. We must give attention to the reading, interpretation and application of the Word of God as it touches our lives and families. Edification demands, patience, self-discipline and self-abandonment.
Our concentration, quietness, receptivity and prayer should help others to receive the best from God’s word. We must take the word as coming directly from God and not allow anything to come between us and His word. Attendance at church services is not enough.
The Word needs to bring a corresponding change in our conduct and character. Having heard the word, we must take time to pray for strength and grace to be doers of the word so we can grow in our Christian life and in our relationship with God.
3. EVANGELISING THE WORLD BY WITNESSING
Acts 1:8; John 15:26,27; Luke 24:47,48; Acts 5:30-32; 13:31; Matthew 24:14.
What is the mission of the Church? Why does the Church exist? What is your responsibility towards the world as a member of the Church? The Church was born and strengthened to evangelise. You are born to reproduce. Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church left disciples on
earth to evangelise and save the lost. We are to be His witnesses. Christ knew that without the spreading of the Gospel, the Church would die. All who are truly born again are called and assigned to witness, to show sinners how
they can be forgiven and saved by Christ. Tell your friends, neighbours and relatives how you got saved and how they can be saved by repenting and believing on the Lord Jesus
Then back up your message by living a clean, righteous life before them. We have seen the three mandates. A balance between worship, edification and evangelism is necessary. If a Church is totally concerned
about evangelism and neglects edification and worship, that Church will be displeasing to God. If the focus of the Church is all inward - edification - but no evangelistic outreach or worship, that Church is going to be out of balance. And if we spend all our time in worship, but ignore the mandates to reach out to the lost and to build up the believers, we have missed the mark. You are part of the Church. Worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth, be edified by the preaching of the word and reach out and evangelise the world around you.