There is a reason the church has outlived the Roman Empire as well as every other dynasty and empire that existed at her birth 2,000 years ago! In spite of the present-day "de-emphasis" on the local church, I am more convinced than ever regarding its significance!
As a proponent of the kingdom of God, I believe our main mission is to evangelize and equip individuals to reach their nation; however, Christians make a huge mistake when their focus on the marketplace causes them to neglect the body of Christ. Saint Paul understood the importance of the church when he said that he received his apostleship for the sake of God's elect (Titus 1:1).
This is why: I have focused most of my attention on the edifying and equipping of leaders in the body of Christ more than on political and social activism. My reason is this: If the church is not strong as an entity, then all of our activism is in vain.
The following are 10 reasons the church is the most important entity on the earth:
1. In eternity, the church will be the only earthly institution to exist. In eternity, we will not be able to take our houses, our jobs, our titles and our money. We will not retain our biological families and marital status. The only earthly entity or institution that will continue to exist in eternity is the church.
2. The church is the only entity called the body of Christ. Paul the apostle calls the church the body of Christ, which is His fullness on the earth (Eph. 1:22-23). He calls Jesus the head of the church, which is His body (Eph. 5:23). Hence, Jesus is our corporate head, and the church functions as His neck, chest, hands and feet. You cannot get more important than being organically and intrinsically connected to the Lord Jesus Christ!
3. The church is the only entity called the ground and pillar of the truth. Paul calls the church the ground and pillar of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15) this means that all biblical and earthly truth and reality should be vetted, interpreted and sanctioned by the church. This high calling has not been assigned to any other earthly entity including the political, technological, scientific and legal realms.
4. The church is the focal point of the love of Christ. Even though John 3:16 states that God so loved the world, Scripture also gets more specific and shows the special love Jesus has for His Church. For example, Jesus prayed not for the world but for the ones the Father gave Him (John 17:9). Jesus said that the Father loved His followers as much as He loved Christ (John 17:23-25). Saint Paul admonished husbands to love their wives the way Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her (Eph. 5:25) as well as to nourish and cherish her as Christ does the church (Eph. 5:29). No other earthly institution can say Christ cherishes it like the church.
5. The church is in the kingdom mountain above all other mountains. Isaiah chapter 2:2-4 teaches us that in the latter days the mountain of the temple of the Lord (the church) will be above all the other mountains (nations and cultures). Since the church is called the temple of the Lord (1 Cor. 3:16, 6:19), we can expect those who are part of the organic church to increase more and more in cultural influence as history progresses. At the end of the day, the world will come to the church to learn God's ways and God's laws.
6. The church is the household of God. The church is the only present-day entity called the household of God (1 Tim. 3:15). Hence, the church is the only corporate body that has the privilege of calling God Father (Luke 11:2-4; 1 John 3:1).
7. The church is the bride of Christ. The apostle Paul says that earthly marriage is a mystery that refers to Christ and His Church (Eph. 5:32). As a matter of fact, the culmination of human history in relation to Christ is the marriage supper of the Lamb when Christ dines with His eternal bride (Rev. 19:6-9). Presently, Jesus is preparing His bride for that great event (Eph. 5:32). No other entity in human history can claim to be the bride of Christ.
8. The wisdom of God is revealed to angelic powers through the church. Paul the apostle actually says that principalities and powers in heavenly places understand the manifold wisdom of God through the church (Eph. 3:8-10). Saint Peter said that even angels long to understand and look into the things we preach by the Holy Spirit (1 Pet. 1:12) Consequently, the wisdom and illumination given by God to the church exceeds that given to the angels in heaven. No other earthly entity can make this claim.
9. The church is the salt of the earth and light of the world. Paul the apostle said that the church is called to shine as lights to this world (Phil. 2:15). Furthermore, Jesus called His followers the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matt. 5:13-16). Jesus did not give that title to the political, economic or scientific realms but to the church because we are the only ones connected to and reigning with the mastermind of the universe (Eph. 1:22-2:6).
10. The church is called to carry on the works of Jesus Christ. Jesus told His followers that they would do greater works than Him because He was going to His Father in heaven (John 14:12). Luke builds upon this (Acts 1: 1-2). when he says that Jesus ascended after He gave commandments through the Spirit to His apostles. Hence, the Spirit was continuing the ministry of Christ through the church they founded. John the apostle continues in this vein when He says that as Christ is, so are we in this world (1 John 4:17). Consequently, the church is the corporate Son (His body) that represents Him and carries on His work (Acts 29-31) to this present day.
In conclusion, in spite of all her foibles and warts, there is no institution on the earth today that is as important as the church, which is His body.
Joseph Mattera is an internationally known author, futurist, interpreter of culture and activist/theologian whose mission is to influence leaders who influence nations. He leads several organizations, including The United States Coalition of Apostolic Leaders (uscal.us). He also has a blog on charismamag.com called "The Pulse." To order one of his books or to subscribe to his weekly newsletter, go to josephmattera.org.
For the original article, visit josephmattera.org.
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