Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Why Does the Church Exist?

Readings for the Day
1 Kings 16, 2 Chronicles 15-16, Colossians 1

Verses for the Day
28 He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. 29 To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.

As Paul closes up his 1st chapter of his letter to the Colossians, he summarizes his calling to the church of Jesus Christ.

1. He proclaims Christ. Early in chapter 1 he says, "He is the image of the invisible God". He makes it unmistakeably clear that Jesus came in the flesh and is fully God. So Paul's first goal is to proclaim who Jesus really is in all his fullnes. Jesus' mission was to reconcile all of mankind to God by his death on the cross. This is what we call evangelism, announcing the Good News of what God has done in Christ for all people.

2. The other major aim of his ministry is to admonish and teach everyone with all wisdom. Once someone comes to know who Jesus is, they are taught how to live in Him. Once someone acknowledges Jesus as their Savior, they begin a lifelong journey of being formed in His image and character. This is what we call discipleship, being an apprentice of Jesus learning how to live your life as he would live if he were you.

3. Paul has a goal. He has a measure to gauge whether or not he has been effective in his mission. His main goal is that he might present everyone "mature in Christ". We often talk about maturity in human terms as a person moves through each stage of life. Paul points to a similar maturity for a Christian. Just like maturity in a person doesn't always mirror their age, so too just being a Christian for a long time doesn't automatically equal being a mature Christian.

Why is this so important to Paul? Because he knew the church could not grow beyond the maturity of its members. Paul knew this would not be an easy task to carry out but vows to pour all of his energy into this end goal. Finally, he makes it clear it is not just his energy at his disposal, but the energy of Christ working in and through him. What Jesus has called him to do, he has given him the power to carry out.

These are the same three great goals for every church of every time. God invites us to pour our energy into this same mission. It is not easy but he will give us his power to carry it out.

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