“Doing Church” is a big buzz-word topic these days. But to tell you the truth, it all seems like a buch of hub-bub to me. The nature of the Church as Christ’s Kingdom, founded, being built and approaching fulfillment – it seems to me captures the essence of “doing Church”. And if you’ll jump to the rest of this very short entry – I think you might agree that we need not complicate things so much. Instead, we need to be about the business Christ has given us to do. That way – we won’t have to “do” Church, Church will get done.
The very idea of God’s Kingdom is central throughout Scripture. So it is John the Baptizer comes on the scene preaching repentance because the “kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2). In Matt. 4:17 we are told this is the thrust of Jesus’ own preaching and in Matt. 24:14 we are told it is “this Gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” We cannot separate the Gospel of the kingdom from the Gospel of Jesus Christ – they are one and the same. Reconciliation to God by the forgiveness of our sins due to His substitutionary sacrifice upon the cross is characterized by Paul in Col. 1:13 as being delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of his beloved Son.
This is the business the Church is about. Whether you are engaged in this work in the act of preaching or teaching, in financial contribution, in overseeing and providing facilities and wherewithal for others to do the preaching and teaching, prayer, etc., it is this building up of the kingdom which is what we are to be about. And this takes place simultaneously on three planes:
1 – The kingdom of God increasing WITHIN me in sanctification – Christ’s Lordship through the Spirit bringing “every thought into subjection.” (2 Cor. 10:5)
2 – The kingdom of God increasing in others hearing the Gospel and thus being brought into it by repentance from sin and faith in Christ. Evangelization.
3 – The kingdom of God being increased in my brothers and sisters in Christ as THEY grow in His likeness and image. Edification.
Remember – His ultimate goal for everyone of us is nothing less than the full restoration of and conformity to the very image of Christ – Rom. 8:29 “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”
This being the broad picture – it is incumbent for each of us to be about these three things. This is how Christ is most glorified – when He is most revealed in our lives, in the saving of lost souls, and in the combined life of the Church as wrought out by His mercy and grace.
Thus each one of us has a vital interest in each of these matters. No one (or two nor all three) can be neglected. As men, as leaders, as Christians – we must:
FIRST – Be occupied with growing in Christ ourselves. (We can only give to others what we have ourselves)
SECOND – Be providing for the means for others to come to Christ. (In whatever capacities)
THIRD – Edifying our brothers and sisters in Christ – aiding them in their growth in His likeness.
So it is every aspect of the Church interests us all. This is the charge we have received from the Savior, which we must pass on to others, and especially those who come after us. The entire rest of what we think about in terms of “Church” revolves around this 3-fold axis. Being JUSTIFIED, let us be SANCTIFIED ourselves, let us EVANGELIZE the lost, and let us EDIFY the saints. This is “Church.”