What is God’s calling for the Church? What is the nature and function of the Church? These are very important questions for people who are followers of Jesus Christ. In order to answer these questions in a biblically faithful manner, we need to turn to the original Apostles, who were with Jesus in his 3 years of earthly ministry, and who personally gave witness to seeing the crucified and resurrected Christ.
In God’s providential grace, we have the testimony of the Apostles to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus written down in the New Testament. We also have recorded in the same scriptures, Spirit-inspired teaching by the Apostles regarding God’s calling for local communities of Christians.
Called Out of The World To Serve Christ In The World
The Apostle Paul tells us that God, in Christ, gave His very self for us, in order to redeem us from the powers of evil and reconcile us to Himself (2Cor. 5:17-21; Gal. 2:20-21). In view of this great act of sacrifice and mercy on God’s part, we are called to offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ (Rom. 12:1-2).
The word “Church” in the original biblical language of Greek is “ekklesia“. This word is made up of 2 words in the Greek, meaning “out of“, and “called“. In other words, the Church consists of people called out of the world by God to belong to Jesus Christ. This relationship between Christ and Christians is a covenantal relationship of total commitment to one another. The promised faithfulness and loyalty between a husband and wife is the best illustration we have, in this world, of the relationship between Christ and his followers.
The Church As Christ’s Body
The relationship between Christ and His Church is to be such a close and intimate relationship, that the Church is compared to a human body, with Jesus as the head (Colossians 1:18). Christians are members of one another, who are called by God to serve one another and the world, at the direction of our head Jesus. We all have been given spiritual gifts by our victorious Leader, Jesus (Eph. 4:7-11), to serve Him in this world and to build up His Body, the Church (Eph. 4:12-16; Rom. 12:3-8; 1Cor. 12).
Serving the Lord Jesus in His Body, the Church, requires us to cultivate a relationship of devotion to Christ and a relationship of love with Christian brothers and sisters. In this way, we are to give a visible demonstration and a foretaste of the perfect wholeness or shalom that will exist when the Lord Jesus Christ returns the second time. At the Second Coming. God’s will will be fully done on earth as in heaven, because earth and heaven will be perfectly wedded together in God’s power and presence.
Members of Christ’s Church have begun to experience God’s presence and power through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Through Jesus, we have begun experiencing our union with God. As we offer ourselves each day to God through Jesus, the Holy Spirit cleanses our hearts and fills us with His power and presence on an ongoing basis (1Thess. 5:23,24).
We are called to be the hands and feet of Christ in this world as He empowers us with His Spirit. We are called to build the Body of Christ up through the exercise of our spiritual gifts in love and humility. As the Body of Christ is built up through mutual ministry, the life of Christ overflows to touch the surrounding world through our ministries of compassion and service.
A Flesh and Blood Example Of Christ’s Body In Action
A great example of God’s calling for the Church was the ministry of the Windsor Spanish Worship Assembly and Guillermo Goertzen. For many years, this Church, through the leadership of Guillermo, would welcome immigrants from Latin America into Canada. Guillermo would help the immigrants to get social insurance numbers, health cards, beds, refrigerators, dressers, and other practical needs.
This Church showed the love of Jesus in a practical way. They introduced aliens and strangers in our country to a loving community. Guillermo also had the gift of personal evangelism. He led many immigrants to a deep faith in Jesus. He lived and ministered out of his relationship with God. By his Christ-like love, Guillermo revealed what God is like to many people who didn’t know God. The face of Jesus was revealed through the Body of Christ.
What a great calling we have in and through Jesus!
QOTD: Are you living out faithfully your union with God, through the Lord Jesus Christ?