The Purpose of the Church of Jesus Christ



How many of you are familiar with the game of soccer? Most of you who are from Fiji are well versed with the soccer rules. Normally there are eleven players per side including the goal keeper. The object of the game is to take the ball and put it inside the goal net of the opposing team. There are different positions that players can take in this game for example striker, left wing, right wing, left back, right back, goal keeper or goalie etc. As much as it is the responsibility of the players playing in the front to make as many goals as possible, it is also important that the players playing the back positions and most important goalie stops the ball from getting inside their net. It will really make no difference as far as who wins if both the teams score three goals each. In other words, they made three goals and three goals were made in their net. The object is always to have a higher number of goals compared to the other team. In the end, it’s not a matter of how well and skillfully a team played, it’s all about which team made more goals. As much as every player has a significant role to play, it is up to the striker and wings to make as many goals as possible. A team with even the best defense can lose the match in penalty kicks if the players in front aren't making any goals. Every player has a part to play and it is only possible for a team to win if they give in their best and cooperate with each other in unity and focus on the object of the game that is to make as many goals as possible. To win, every player must acknowledge the fact that this game is not about an individual, it's about your team. It's not about how many goals you make as an individual but it's about how many goals the team makes playing together in unity and without selfish objectives. Good sportsmanship is not about how many goals you make, it's about how well you communicate, coordinate and skillfully control the game even in the mist of excessive pressure to get the ball inside the other team’s net. The primary objective of the game must never leave anyone's mind; it is to work together as a team to make as many goals as possible and to stop the other team from making any in your goal net.  


The church is like a soccer team. We are all players in this team. Each church member has a position and role to play. Unity in the church, obedience to authority, delegation of duties and your commitment to the church in matters of time, talent/skills, resources and finance is so very important. If we fail in one or more areas that I just mentioned above, the function and work of the church is affected. The truth is that most players in the current church age have become spectators. They stand at a distance watching what is happening inside the church and comment on the performance, progress, weakness and mistakes of the church and its players. For this group, the church is almost same or synonymous to a social club. They come to church, sit quietly and when the service is over, they go home. It becomes a routine for them. There is a show of religion but no real effort. Now some who are supposedly players of the Rhema Bible Church Team are playing against the team. They don't want to cooperate or work or support the team. They find it useless, meaningless and senseless to play for God's team. It's simply a waste of their precious time. Since time is money, indirectly it's a waste of their money. They might as well get a second or third job and make some extra cash. Then there are those who love to attend the church service, bible study and home player meetings. They love to talk and discuss scripture and Christian related subjects but there is really no substance. They are all talk but no works. They talk big but really do nothing about it. This is the group we need to be most careful of. The enemy loves to use with this group for his work and purpose. Then there is that group of players who work as a team towards the goal and objective of the church. They fail at times even make mistakes but they keep getting up, learning, growing, and maturing in the faith and work of God. Now I am not here to point fingers at any of you because the truth of the matter is that you belong to one of these groups. Jesus was very clear when He said,


Luke 11:23 NASBS

[23] He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters.


You really don't have much option. Let's see what they are:

  1. You are with Jesus. Therefore, you gather with Him. (Jesus's Team - hooray!)
  2. You are against Jesus. Therefore, you will scatter. (Satan's Team - not sure which gesture I should use)


Well, my friends you can decide on your team. I have already made my choice. I will admit thou that sometimes I act more like the devil's child than God's child. I believe most of you have had those moments or experience where every bit of Christianity is lost and only the animal within; the untamed unleashes. Let us pray for God's help; for God's intervention in those moments unless we end up doing something crazy or stupid. 


Scripture Reference


Matthew 28:16-20 NASBS

[16] But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. [17] When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. [18] And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. [19] Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, [20] teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."


Mark 16:14-20 NASBS

[14] Afterward He appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table; and He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen. [15] And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. [16] He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. [17] These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name, they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; [18] they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." [19] So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. [20] And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed.] [And they promptly reported all these instructions to Peter and his companions. And after that, Jesus Himself sent out through them from east to west the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation.]


Sermon Notes


  1. According to verse 18, all authority is heaven and earth belongs to Jesus Christ. He has given this authority to every person who believes in Him. I have a question for you: what exactly is authority? Authority is delegated power. In simple words, we have been given power. But power to do what? Let's look quickly at Mark 16 verses 17 and 18. According to these verses, Jesus has given us the power to cast out demons, speak with new tongues, lay hands on the sick and they will recover etc. According to Paul in his letter to the Corinthians, the Holy Spirit has given us nine gifts to use for the extension of God's kingdom on earth. Are we using the power and spiritual gifts God has given us or are we sitting idle while the devil roams around a roaring lion seeking to devour us? Wake up church. It's time to make the most of what God has made available to us. The most ignorant and foolish Christian is the one who spends little or no time in the word. Don't be that Christian.
  2. The two scripture references I have provided are the last words of Jesus before ascending to heaven. We need to pay attention and give importance on these words. They are very important in defining what exactly the purpose of the Church of Christ is? Let's look at Mark 16 verse 15. In this verse, Jesus is commanding the believers to go out into the world and preach the good news to all the people. It is very important that every believer understands a basic fact about the word preach. The word preach comes from the Greek word “kerusso” which means to proclaim after the manner of a herald. In the olden times, it was the job of the herald to go on behalf of the King and announce His coming to the people before he arrived. That way the people would be aware of the King's coming and be prepared to welcome Him. In a similar manner, the believers are the people Jesus has sent out to announce the good news about the kingdom of God before His second coming. According to the book of the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 1 Verse 8, the announcing or the proclamation of the good news or glad tidings must begin from in our own city, then to the state, country and world. It is very important for the reader to note that God is very much interested in using you to save the people in your city first before going out to other areas. Each Christian has a solemn responsibility given by God to preach the gospel to his or her own community first. It is very important that we follow God's commandment as it is and not try to make changes to it to fit our personal opinions and needs. 
  3. According to Mark 16:17, those who believe will perform signs. In other words, they will do things beyond the natural; they will perform supernatural acts. Notice that preaching is followed by signs. So, the function or purpose of the signs is to lead the non-believers to Christ. Preaching alone may not be sufficient to make a person believe the good news about Jesus Christ. The signs are there to support the good news the believer is proclaiming. It's somewhat like providing evidence for your claim about Jesus Christ. Many may wonder why the power to do signs is not active in the lives of believers currently. It's a tragedy that there are more believers in the prayer lines than non-believers. Either Christians are ignorant of the authority they have in Christ or they lack knowledge in this area of authority. We may want to acknowledge what Hosea 4:6 (NASB) says, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge". If you are one of those Christians who lacks Bible knowledge, you probably want to start reading, studying and meditating on God's word. Unfortunately, there is no other way to know God and experience the promises and blessings of His word apart from this. When a person is reading, studying and meditating on God's word which is the Holy Bible, he or she is making use of all his or her essential senses that is seeing, hearing and saying. Believe me when I say this, "The devil hates this. It is like sprinkling salt on his wounds". That’s the kind of Christian you want to be.
  4. Once a person has believed the good news upon seeing the signs, discipleship follows. The word disciple means to become a pupil or student. It means to be taught and instructed in the word. It means to follow the precepts and instructions of Jesus Christ as written and passed to us by His anointed servants as they were moved by the Spirit of God. Discipleship requires training in the word and action in the world. Discipleship is not about only learning theory with no practical application. It is learning and applying what you learn, out in the real world. James, the half-brother of Jesus had some very important points to share on applying what a Christian learns. He said faith without works is dead. You can know most of the Bible inside out, but if you are not following what you know in a practical sense, your faith in Jesus Christ is useless. You being called a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ is futile. You are still the same old, same old. It might as well be that the new person in Christ was never formed in you. Check your life. Does it match up with God's word? Now before i get too off my final point that is discipleship, let’s talk about how you become a disciple of Jesus Christ. The believer who leads a non-believer to Christ has the major responsibility of training the new convert in the word. I know that most of us think that it’s the Pastor's responsibility and in a broader sense it is. But according to the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 18 Verse 19, the believer who preached to the non-believer has a major role to play in his spiritual growth and training. It's time every believer understands this responsibility and puts in some real effort to accomplish this role.  




So, there you have it folks. I just gave you four major points on what Jesus said to us before ascending to heaven. Here's a summary:


a. Jesus gave His authority to those who believe in Him. 

b. Jesus commanded us to preach the Gospel starting from our own city and out to the entire world.

c. Signs will accompany those who believe. 

d. Jesus commanded us to teach or disciple the new believers.


It is important to take into consideration that the above is a process and this process will continue till the end of this age. A believer goes out to preach the good news, performs signs and then disciples the new believer. Once the new believer grows or matures in the faith and word, then he or she goes out to preach the good news, performs signs and disciples the new convert. And so, this spiritual process continues like a chain reaction extending the kingdom of God and spreading the good news throughout the world. Many people have asked me when the end will come? Here's the answer direct from scripture:


Matthew 24:14 NASBS

[14] This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.


I believe the only reason the end has not come is because we Christians are not working together to make sure that the gospel is preached to all the corners of the end. Some are working, some are doing something while others are doing nothing! It's time we understand the importance of this responsibility and work in unity in our church and with other churches to fulfill this commandment given by God. Before I go, let me take you back to the theme of my sermon:


What is the purpose of the church?


The purpose of the church according to the final instruction given by Jesus Christ before His ascension to heaven is to preach the gospel, accompanied by signs, followed by making and teaching disciples to go out and do the same.