The church is that group of people called to stand apart from the world because of their relationship with Jesus Christ. All believers in heaven and on earth make up one body—the universal church. There are many denominations and approaches to theology, but the local fellowships that comprise the body of Christ are united by a common message, mission, and motive.
Message. The three-part message of the church is simple. 1) Man is sinful and can alleviate neither the guilt nor the penalty of sin. 2) Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay our debt, was buried, rose again, and ascended to heaven to sit at the Father's right hand. 3) One day everyone will stand before God and give account for his life. Believers will take responsibility for what they did with the truth they knew, but unbelievers will answer for every day they lived in rejection of Jesus Christ.
Mission. Matthew 28:19 sums up what should be the personal quest of every member of the living church: to spread the gospel to the whole world and teach new believers how to grow in faith. We witness and make disciples by sharing the experiences we've had with God and His Word.
Motive. The church's motive is to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ and to glorify God the Father.
Church is not a place to hide from the world. Our mission is to spread the gospel message all over creation in order to glorify God. There will be opposition and persecution that is worse for some than for others. But we stand together as one body and persevere.
For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.
Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. © 2009 All Rights Reserved.