What is the purpose of the church?
Let's answer the question from the Word of God because the church is the bride
of Christ. The church is to be the people of God who are in fellowship with the
Lord, who want to serve God with all their heart. We are the church. If you're a
Christian, if you're saved, you are the church.
The purpose of the church is to reflect and represent the glory of God, to carry
out the mandate the great commission of Jesus Christ, to bring the gospel to the
world so that the world can see there is a people who are truly experiencing the
life of God, the power of God, the love of God. And we are the salt of the
earth, to go into the world, to show people the power and the love of God.
That's the purpose of the church. And to win people to Jesus Christ before He
The purpose of the church is also to manifest or to reveal the manifold wisdom
of God, to show forth the wisdom of God, to show forth the glory of God, to show
forth that the community is enhanced and the community is held together, and the
community is protected because of the presence of the church. And so, the more
prevalent the churches of the Lord Jesus Christ become, the more influence that
we're going to have in the communities and the cleaner of a society we're going
to have, the healthier of a society we are going to have and we're going to
bring other people into the family of God.
So the purpose of the church is to reflect the glory of God. Just like the moon
reflects the light of the sun, the church is to reflect the light of God to this
world and to this earth and show people that there is a beacon of light, there
is a lighthouse, a beacon that people can come running to, a tower that people
can come running to and find safety, and find healing and find salvation and
deliverance through the church representing Jesus Christ in the earth.
The Bible says the gates of hell will not prevail against the church. The church
is called by God to kick in the gates of hell and take dominion back in this
earth, take this world back for Jesus Christ, to give Him an earth that He
rightfully deserves; an earth that is filled with His people, filled with His
glory, filled with His power, filled with His love, filled with His Word and
that we penetrate the entire society with the gospel, the salt of the earth.
Regarding these four passages: Matt 21:12, Mark 11:12, Luke 19:45 and John 2:16; there is wide-spread agreement among Bible teachers that those selling animals and changing money at the Temple in Jesus' day were practicing extortion: charging exorbitant rates to buy sacrificial animals, manipulating currency exchange rates and charging excessive conversion fees. This might explain why Jesus drove out those who sold in the temple but it does not explain why he drove out those who bought in the temple? How do you justify buying and selling in the church?
Well, first of all, he wasn't driving people out for buying and selling in
the church, but rather because they had turned God's house into a robber's den.
So, what exactly, as far as extortion and all of that and charging exorbitant
rates, I don't know about the specifics of the details of what was happening in
there. But the fact is they were taking advantage of people and they were not
using the temple for what it was meant to be used for and that was for prayer
and to be a house of prayer for all the nations.
Instead it had become a place where they bargaining and a place where there was
bartering and a bazaar. It had become a flea market, rather than a place to
truly worship God. And so, again, it's not necessarily wrong that some things
are sold in a church like books and things that will help people gain further
knowledge and insight into a stronger walk with God.
But what they were doing was they had turned God's house into the focus being
buying and selling rather than the focus being worshiping and praising God and
praying. And so that's why Jesus drove out the buyers and the sellers because
they saw the house of God as a place to buy and sell, rather than the house of
God as a place to worship and to pray.
I know in the body of Christ, we're to encourage and exhort one another. But sometimes I see where people from the same congregation, one member would want to pull somebody aside and say, "Well, I believe God said this to me for you." Do you agree with that or don't agree with that? And what should I do if that's going on?
I believe that there are times where one another, the Bible says, "Encourage
one another day after day." So, there is always a place where we should be
encouraging one another. But if somebody pulls somebody aside and says "I have a
word from God for you," then the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 13, "Let every fact
be confirmed out of the mouths of 2 or 3 witnesses." And it says when somebody
has a word of exhortation like that, they should give it in front of the elders
of the church or the leaders of a church in 1 Corinthians chapter 12 and 1
Corinthians chapter 14 so that those that are responsible for that person can
judge or can evaluate whether that prophecy or that word from the Lord is proper
or appropriate or inappropriate.
Let's say somebody said, "I really have a word from God for one of my children."
Well, they should give that to my child in my presence or give it directly to me
for my child, but not give it to my child without me because I'm responsible for
my child. In the same way, the elders of a church are responsible for the
members of that church and therefore, if somebody thinks they have something
from God, they should give it to the person in front of a leader in that church
so that that leader can be responsible for the member of the church.
And if that's not happening, then you should bring it to the attention of the
Pastor to the leaders of the church. Go to them privately and say, "Here's what
I've seen, here's what I've witnessed, and I just want you to know that this is
going on." And then it's in their court what they believe they should do about
it. But that's what I would do.