The New Testament Church - Charles Stanley Daily Devotional (June-30-2020). The church encourages believers to worship God faithfully and share His love with the world.
Matthew 16:13-18 ( 13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" 14 And they said, Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets." 15 He said to them, But who do you say that I am?" 16 Simon Peter answered, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." 17 And Jesus said to him, Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it)
Today the word church is often used differently than the way Scripture defines it. We tend to think of a building with a steeple, a morning or evening service, or even a potluck get-together. In the Bible, however, “church” means a body of believers under the authority of their leader, Jesus Christ (Col. 1:18 "He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything"). And according to God’s Word, the church has three purposes: worship of the Lord, ministry to believers, and outreach to an unbelieving world.
When we exalt the living God and glorify His name, we show our Father that we love Him. Psalm 100:2-4 encourages us to “come before Him with joyful singing” and to “enter His gates with thanksgiving and ... praise.” Christians should be both personally and corporately devoted to God. Psalm 100:2-4 ( Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. 3 Know that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. 4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name) Teaching and encouraging brothers and sisters produces spiritual fruit in them (Heb. 10:24-25 " 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near"; Col. 3:16 "Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God"). Then they can spread the good news in their own sphere of influence—that through God’s Son, there is not only forgiveness of sin but also life eternal.
Christians meet together regularly to worship, encourage, instruct, and reach those who don’t know Him. In your local fellowship, are you working toward these goals?