A. Either the Lord has assigned His church a mission or He has not.
1. If not, the church can do anything as long as it is not immoral.
2. If He has, the work He wants it to do is set forth in the New Testament
in language that can be understood. Eph. 3:4.
B. The church is spoken of in two ways in New Testament:
1. The universal church - Matt. 16:18; Rom. 16:16
2. The local church - Acts 14:26,27; 15:4; 1 Cor. 1:2; Gal. 1:2; Rev. 2,3
C. No where in the Scriptures is the universal church given an organization,
worship, or work.
1. Only the local church is given an organization (Phil. 1:1), worship (Acts
2:42), and work.
I. The Nature Of The Church's Work Is Primarily Spiritual.
A. It's spiritual nature can be seen in:
1. John 18:38 The kingdom (church) is "not of this world".
2. It is a "spiritual house" and Christian are the "lively stones" 1 Pet. 2:5
a. Those who make it up are a "holy nation". (V.9)
3. 1 Tim. 3:15 The church is "...the house of God, which is the church of
the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
a. "PILLAR" - a column supporting weight.
b. "GROUND" - foundation. The church is the foundation and
support of the truth!
II. The Work Of The Church.
A. To Preach The Gospel.
1. 1 Thess. 1:8 - The church at Thessalonica had "sounded out the word of
the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place..."
2. 1 Tim. 3:15 - The church is the "pillar and ground of the truth."
3. Eph. 3:9-10 - Through the church and it's work, the world can see the
various wisdom of God.
4. The churches in the first century understood this mission and performed
a. Col. 1:23 - By 64 AD the gospel had been "preached to every
creature which is under heaven."
b. The church at Philippi supported Paul in preaching the gospel
when he first began to preach. Phil 1:5; 4:15,16.
5. The church is made up of saved people to save others.
B. To Edify Itself In Love. Eph. 4:12,16
1. "EDIFY" - build up, make strong.
2. We are edified by the word of God (2 Tim. 3:16,17; 1 Cor. 14:3-5)
3. Our edifying is done through faith (1 Tim.1:4) and faith comes by hearing
God's word (Rom. 10:17).
a. We are nourished by faith. 1 Tim. 4:6; 1 Pet. 2:2
4. This edification is done when we assemble ourselves together. 1 Cor.
14:26; Heb. 10:24,25.
1. All passages concerning the church's benevolence was limited to saints.
Acts 6:1-3; 11:27-30; Rom. 15:25,26; 1 Cor. 16:1,2; 2 Cor. 8;9
2. All of what the New Testament teaches about a subject constitutes the
a. The pattern teaches that the benevolent work of the church is
limited to the needs of the poor saints.
3. The needs of those who aren't Christians are to be fulfilled by
individual Christians who have a broader obligation. Gal. 6:10; Jas. 1:27.
4. The church is even limited in what it can do for saints. 1 Tim. 5:3-16.
III. What The Church Is Not To Do.
A. The church is limited in its work to the three areas already studied because they
are divinely authorized.
B. The divine authority that permits the church doing what it authorizes, also
prohibits the church from operating in the area of:
1. Secular education. (Where is the passage?)
2. Entertainment. (Where is the passage?)
3. Recreation. (Where is the passage?)
4. Politics. (Where is the passage?)
5. Secular business. (Where is the passage?)
6. Civic function. (Where is the passage?)
C. Everything that might be classified as a good work is not a work of the church!
D. God has provided other institutions to provide for other works such as the home
and civil government.
IV. How Is The Church To Do Its Work? The work of the church is to function according to the
pattern. (Heb. 8:5).God has given the pattern for EVERYTHING He has authorized the church
to do. WE MUST FOLLOW THE PATTERN! If not, it is not necessary to follow the pattern for
salvation from sins, the organization of the church, or the worship of the church. If not,
A. In the matter of the church doing the work God has assigned, we must remember:
1. Each congregation is self-governing. 1 Pet. 5:1-4
2. Each congregation operates independently. 1 Thess. 1:7,8.
B. In the work of evangelism:
1. The Philippian church had fellowship with Paul by supporting him to
preach. Phil. 4:15-16.
a. While Paul was in Thessalonica, they sent to see to his
b. In this example, we see one church supporting a preacher.
2. In 2 Cor. 11:7-9 we have Paul taking wages of other "churches" (plural)
while he preached at Corinth.
a. In this example, we see more than one church sending to the
b. But we must also notice, those churches sent DIRECTLY to the
3. In Acts 13:1-3 we see one church can send a preacher to different places.
4. There is NO EXAMPLE of churches:
a. Working through boards like in the case of a missionary society.
b. Working through a "sponsoring " church arrangement like the
Herald Of Truth.
5. The pattern in evangelism is sending the funds directly to the man in the
a. There is no organization, human or otherwise, between the church
that is doing the supporting and the preacher.
C. In the work of benevolence:
1. The church at Jerusalem first began caring for its own destitute saints.
Acts 2:44,45; 4:34-37
2. The pattern also teaches that ONE CHURCH can help another church
care for its own that are destitute. Acts 11:27-30
3. The pattern also teaches that MORE THAN ONE CHURCH can send to
one church in need. Rom. 15:25,26; 1 Cor. 16:1,2; 2 Cor. 8;9.
4. In these patterns, the funds were always sent to the need.
a. There is NO EXAMPLE of even one church working through a
A. It is in the area of the work of the church that there has been major division in
the Lord's body which has lasted up until the present time.
B. The whole issue comes down to the fact of whether or not we are willing to abide
by the pattern of the New Testament.
C. We need to follow the divine pattern in all things pertaining to "life and
godliness" 2 Pet. 1:3.
D. When God specifies by command, example, or necessary conclusion that ends all
the controversy on the matter.
E. May God help us to hold to the pattern He has given us in His word.