By Dan Goddard
The primary mission of the church is to declare the divine message which will save the souls of men. Paul called the church “the pillar and ground of the truth” (I Timothy ). It is the pillar and ground of the truth because it teaches and upholds the truth; it supports that which makes men free (John ). It teaches and upholds the gospel—the power of God to salvation (Romans ).
Those who made up the primitive
church were busily engaged in this great mission. “And
Saul was consenting unto his death. And
at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at
The church of the Lord is not a social club. Churches of today use all kinds of gimmicks and man made inventions in order to win and hold members. Instead of offering the Word of God only, as did the early Christians, they offer food, recreation or entertainment. This reduces the church to nothing but a social club or an entertainment society. The Bible says, “the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans ). “If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home” (I Corinthians ). The apostles and early Christians never tried to win and hold members by offering food or entertainment. They simply offered “the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James ).
The church of the Lord is not a social reform society. When the gospel is taught, society is reformed only as a by-product. When the Word of God changes the hearts of men, they reform their own society. They make their own community a better place to live. The primary concern is, therefore--sound forth the Word of the Lord. It will get the job done. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two- edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).
Many churches today, however, are going at this in reverse order. One well illustrated it by saying, “Churches today are more concerned about healing the sores of Lazarus than about changing the heart of the rich man!” Also, “Jesus didn’t come to get the people out of the slums, but the slums out of the people!” If we only reform and change society, we haven’t yet accomplished anything toward the saving of people’s souls. However, if we preach the soul saving message (the gospel of Christ), we not only reform society, but we prepare individuals to meet God in judgment.
Again, the mission of the church is to declare the divine message, and there is no greater service that can be rendered.