“What is the purpose of the church?” is the essential question to be answered before we can move forward with this idea of “The Design of the Church”. Interestingly enough, I’ve received a few responses which bypass this idea completely and declare the “church” in its current form is NO LONGER RELEVANT. Not to sound like I waffle, but I agree, and I disagree. Let me approach it from this direction if I may.
In the Old Testament we see a particular “picture” of the gathering pattern of Gods Chosen People. It began with God Himself giving specific directions. The Tabernacle was to be set up just so, and this and that occurred this way and that way at these specific times, and these certain actions were to be performed by these specific people. It was a wonderful pattern – but one that was not intended to remain “forever” fixed in the same way it began. Over time, we see the varying ways things “evolved” – until Jesus Himself actually tells the religious leaders of His day that their very pattern of worship TRANSGRESSED Gods actual desires. In plain English, their behavior and sacrifices and religious ceremonies NO LONGER PLEASED GOD. (Take a look at the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 15). What does this tell us? Even though the Israelites had been directly given specific instruction concerning HOW TO DO CHURCH, in a fairly short amount of time, they had changed it all so drastically that it didn’t even resemble what it started out as anymore.
In this manner, I agree with those who feel the church is no longer relevant, for I believe the church as we currently conduct it isn't an accurate representation of what it was intended to look like as set in motion after the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ Jesus.
I don’t want each post to go too long, so I’ll get to the point. In its infancy, the first century church looked one way, and then changed and evolved over some period of time to better fit the need of the growing Kingdom and Body of Christ. BUT the PURPOSE remained consistent, and that purpose, I believe, is found in the Apostle Pauls letters to the churches. Specifically in Ephesians, the whole book, there is a pattern that emerges that relates to the purpose of the gathering of God Chosen People. There are relevant passages in every letter he wrote that all fit together to form a complete pattern. The clearest common denominator is the statement found in Ephesians chapter 4 verse 11 through verse 16.
Jesus the Christ appoints LEADERS in His Body, not so they can be revered and lauded and served, but so that they can serve the rest of the Body, preparing believers new and not so new to accomplish the purposes of God Himself.
Once we agree on the purpose, we can begin discussing how BEST to accomplish it. Is there a pattern in the Bible to be followed?
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