What a Privilege to Belong to the Church of God!

What a Privilege to Belong to the Church of God!

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From time to time, the church is evaluated on how well it is fulfilling its mission, function and purpose. To some members, it is viewed as having gone way of course while others think that it has yet to take off. Then, there are those who feel quite comfortable with the church. Notwithstanding your opinion, it would be good to take another look at the church --“Who is the church?” “What are its role and purpose?” Answering these questions would give rise to an objective assessment.
 
The Church – Who Is the Church?
It must be noted that the church is not the building located on a given street per se, but a group of believers. The Greek word for church refers to the "called out ones.”  So, essentially, the church is a group of individuals whom God has redeemed from the world to be part of His kingdom to represent Him. The Apostle Peter grasped this, for he declared, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9, NKJV).
 
The Purpose of the Church
According to Ellen White, “The church is God’s appointed agency for the salvation of men. It was organized for service, and its mission is to carry the gospel to the world.”  In fact, she adds, “From the beginning it has been God’s plan that through His church shall be reflected to the world His fullness and His sufficiency. The members of the church, those whom He has called out of darkness into His marvelous light, are to show forth His glory. The church is the repository of the riches of the grace of Christ; and through the church will eventually be made manifest, even to ‘the principalities and powers in heavenly places,’ the final and full display of the love of God” (Ephesians 3:10; Acts of the Apostles p. 9).
Therefore, when the state of the church is questioned and examined, it is an evaluation of the people who make up the church. The questions, then, should be “How are we living?” “Do our lives comport with God’s ideals and standards?” “Have we lost sight of our mission and role?”
 
Fulfilling Its Purpose
Of the church, Jesus says that we are to let our light shine. That is a call to stand out in morals and principles and more so in love. And the darker it is, the brighter the light shines. Light was made to illuminate, and likewise, the child of God was made to reflect God’s character.
The Christian lifestyle will make some persons uncomfortable, but Christians ought never to apologize for that. At the same time, the church is never to force its lifestyle and/or principles upon others. Doing so is contrary to God’s thinking. Instead, the church is to aggressively, but lovingly, invite individuals to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Also, we must remember that folk have a right to say “no” to Christ’s invitation.
What a privilege to belong to God’s church! In response to this honour, our prayer should be, “God help me to rightly represent Your church, for by so doing we are representing You. If my witness is negative, then the church will be perceived likewise; but, if positive, then a right picture is presented.”
            Ellen White says of the church, “It is the theater of His grace, in which He delights to reveal His power to transform hearts . . . enfeebled and defective as it may appear, the church is the one object upon which God bestows in a special sense His supreme regard” (Acts of the Apostles p. 12).