This was Paul’s objective. He had learned it was Christ who produced growth and saved sinners, adding them to the church. As he journeyed, Paul left the churches he served with the Scripture, leaders, deacons, and teachers and turned them over to the Holy Spirit’s ministry.
Churches are corporate families that experience God’s presence through worship, Bible study, music, and fellowship. Churches are not the kingdom of God. They are the local, established gathering places where the people of God can enter into relationships with other saints for the glory of God.
Christ is looking for kingdom-oriented churches: those that follow Him in faith and obedience, practicing love toward God and others. These churches provide an environment which helps to mend and restore broken relationships. Their ministry is to accept those who have been rejected, the poor, the rich, and the in-between, that they may find grace, mercy, love, and fellowship and experience forgiveness.
Those who come to Jesus are called saints. They are set apart from sin unto Christ, for His service. Saints give of themselves, including their time and talents.
Biblical stewardship is much broader than giving money. It includes relieving the sick, feeding the hungry, caring for widows and orphans, and supporting missionaries. The ultimate stewardship is to love and pray for other members of one’s congregation, encouraging them to exercise faith, and praying for their perceived needs.
Through His people in the early churches, God extended His kingdom and His glory in the world. Today’s local church needs to revisit Christ’s plan and refocus its attention, recognizing some things the apostles did:
1.) They gathered the people together into a visible congregation.
2.) They taught the churches to practice the commands of Christ Jesus.
3.) They released the churches to the Holy Spirit, Who equipped them and sent them out into the world.
4.) They encouraged the people as they went.
5.) They prayed for the people to have boldness.
6.) They recognized the people as having been faithful.
7.) They praised God for being blessed by His glory.
Churches must learn that the work of the kingdom is done by God’s abilities, not their own. However, the ability of Christ to do His work effectively is directly related to the health and unity of the church body. The body will become dull and empty if the Word of God is simply received, without an outlet to apply the truth learned.
Choate Baptist Church welcomes you to join them for Sunday School at 9:45 a.m., Sunday Morning Worship at 11 a.m., and Sunday Evening Worship at 7 p.m. They also meet for prayer on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. Brother Odom’s message can be heard on KAML 990 AM and KCAF 92.1 FM each Sunday morning at 8:30, and again on 92.1 FM every Wednesday evening at 7:30.