The Church and The Christian


Someone at our Church Plant Basic Training seminar this week said that she had always been taught that to be a 5 star Christian you should:
1. Pray
2. Read the Bible
3. Attend church regularly
4. Tithe
5. Tell others

I don’t know that that is a complete list by any means but it gets me thinking, what should a Christian be doing? Does that list comprise the top 5 things a Christian should be doing? If not, what is at the top of the list?

Furthermore, what role does the church play in assisting the Christian in achieving God’s purpose? Conversely, to be a 5 star church, what should a church being doing to achieve God’s purpose?

HIS WORKMANSHIP

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,which God prepared in advance for us to do.(NIV)

God has planned ahead of time good works for each Christian. Does the church have a role in helping the Christian accomplish the tasks God has prepared for them?  I would think so.

ONE BODY MANY MEMBERS

1 Corinthians 12:
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is,God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts.

And I will show you a still more excellent way.(ESV)

Is God’s plan and purpose the same for each believer? No. Clearly, scripture says we have different functions according to God’s placement within the body. The Church is to function as one body serving Christ here on Earth, each Christian is to serve their purpose within the body. 

It is actually a bit confusing trying to determine the separation of roles, duties and functions between the believer and the church. I guess that’s why it is a mystery:

Ephesians 5:
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body.31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.(NIV)

So Jesus’ desire is for His church to be radiant, holy, and blameless. Jesus cares for His church and gave Himself for her. What are you doing for the church?

In determining how the church should be functioning today, it would be good to know how the early Christian Church functioned.

EARLY CHURCH GROWTH

Acts 2:
36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified.
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do?
38 And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
39 For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him.
40 And with many other words he testified, and exhorted them, saying, Save yourselves from this crooked generation.
41 They then that received his word were baptized: and there were added unto them in that day about three thousand souls.
42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers.
43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.
44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
45 and they sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all, according as any man had need.
46 And day by day, continuing stedfastly with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at home, they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart,
47 praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to them day by day those that were saved.(ASV)

Here in Acts we see the early church in action.

We see the Great Commission put into practice through the Proclamation of the Gospel, we see Obedience in Baptism and Observance of the Lord’s Supper.

We see believers participating in Faith, Repentance, Prayer, Praise, Stewardship, Church Attendance, Fellowship, Community, Teaching, and Discipleship.

CHURCH AT ANTIOCH

Acts 11:
21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.
22 The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.
23 When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose,
24 for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.
25 So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul,
26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.(ESV)

If you had to come up with your top 5 of essential duties for the Christian and top 5 crucial functions of the Church, what would they be?

~God Bless

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