The church began to explode with growth on Pentecost when Peter preached to the masses about the resurrected Christ. As soon as he finished his message 3000 people came to faith and the church grew and grew from there. What did these new disciples do? They formed the early church and made disciples.
The church was started by Jesus to fulfill five distinct purposes that are revealed in Acts 2:42-46. And I believe that Freshwater can become healthier, stronger, and more effective by focusing on the five purposes of the church.
Acts 2:42-47 shows us the first purpose of the church is to reach people for Christ. This happens when believers share their faith reaching out with the gospel. This is evangelism. The primary purpose of the church at all times and in all contexts is to bear witness to the work of Jesus Christ. The church has a mission to proclaim the incarnation, atonement, and exaltation of Jesus Christ to all people. This is not just a historical fact it is also a present reality. The same Jesus who took away the sins of the world by his death on the cross still takes away the sins of people today. He was crucified once for all and is raised again. The church lives out this reality and you live out this reality by practicing forgiveness, showing love, and living transformed lives. The best witness is a human soul transformed by the living God into a walking witness.
The second purpose of the church is to connect in relationship with other believers.
The biblical word for connect is fellowship. Acts 2:42 says: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship.” The Greek word for fellowship is koinonia. The essential meaning of koinonia is: community, communion, joint participation, held in common, partnership, sharing and intimacy. In verse 46 we are told the believers ate together with glad and sincere hearts. Christians are called to belong not just believe.
Another purpose of the church is to equip believers to grow spiritually. In Acts 2:42 we read: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching….” This is discipleship. Discipleship is the process of helping people grow in their faith by becoming more like Christ in their thoughts, feelings, and actions. Spiritual growth happens by intention.
The fourth purpose is to serve others by ministering to them. When we serve one another we are demonstrating God’s love to others by meeting their needs in Jesus name. The church exists to minister to all kinds of needs: spiritual, emotional, relational, and physical. Every time you reach out to others in the name of Jesus you are ministering to them.
The last purpose of the church mentioned in Acts 2 is to honor Christ by living a lifestyle of worship. Acts 2:42 tells us the early believers devoted themselves to the apostles teaching, the breaking of bread as in celebrating the Lord’s Supper or communion, and prayer. In verse 47 we read the believers were praising God. These are all acts of worship. It doesn’t matter if we are with a group of people or by ourselves.
We worship God when we reach out and witness to the world. We worship God when we connect with other Christians. We worship God when we grow in our faith. When we serve others and we worship when we are generous with what the LORD has blessed us with. Worship is a way of life not an hour in the week. Whenever we worship we are honoring God.
What happened when the church fulfilled the five purposes? “everyone was filled with Awe.” Acts 2:43 “People got saved and the lord added daily to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:47
Jesus loves the church! He started the church, died for the church, was raised for the church, is glorified by the church, and will return for the church. I love the church because the church is God’s chosen method of reaching the world with the Gospel. As long as there are people living apart from Christ we have work to do. This is us, we are the church and we are called to raise the spiritual climate of the community.