Local Church Activities Eph. 3:21 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
There are three main local church activities in which every church should be involved. And these three should be balanced. Every true local church should glorify God, edify saints and evangelize sinners.
Glorify God – Eph 3:20-21; Rom 15:6
This primarily concerns singing in the church. It is absolutely essential to the life of the local church that God be glorified in the things that we do (1 Cor 10:31). We would have absolutely no reason to meet as a church if it weren’t for God.
One of the best ways to glorify God in the church is to sing praises to him (1 Chr 16:9-10). The saints gather together to lift their voices in praise to the Lord. The old hymns are filled with personal testimonies of those who have seen the goodness of God and have written beautiful songs to the glory of God. Hymns don’t need to be sung as if the saints were attending a funeral. They are alive and saved men and women who glorify God sing them from their heart with loud voices (Ps 95:2; Eph 5:18-19). Some of the new songs are beautiful, as well, as long as they magnify God and his words (Ps 138:2).
The trouble with much of the modern music sung by Christian celebrities is that it is primarily sensual. It is driven by feeling. Thus, the atmosphere created by the modern music ministries and praise and worship services is that of a pep rally or a cocktail lounge. In either case, worshipers feel something that they mistake for the Holy Spirit. God is not glorified in that and the saints become dependent on sensual stimulation rather than the filling of the Holy Spirit.
Edify saints – Eph 4:12
This primarily concerns preaching and teaching in the church. Saints need to grow and the only way that will happen is through the preaching and teaching of God’s words (1 Pet 2:2; Heb 5:13-14). What the saints need is a steady diet of straight, plain, distinct, clear preaching and teaching right out of the Bible, a King James Bible. They need to be able to understand what they are reading. They need to have sin preached out of them and God’s perfect words preached into them. Then, they will grow wonderfully as saints of the Lord.
When a teacher or a preacher stands in his pulpit and does not believe that he has God’s words in his hands, how can he edify saints? The modern teachers are powerless, using modern Bibles that they know are man’s words and not God’s. They are conducting group counseling sessions, giving recommendations to people on how to get along in life, and so forth.
Too many modern preachers are afraid of hurting someone’s feelings by saying exactly what the Bible says. They water it down and change it to soften the sword’s sharp edges (Heb 4:12; Eph 6:17). They won’t stand where the Bible stands. Some time ago, Joel Osteen, the pastor of the largest church in the United States, was interviewed on Larry King. In response to questions regarding sin and salvation, Joel Osteen dodged Biblical answers to keep from alienating or offending anyone to whom he might minister. In so doing, he avoided God’s answers to the questions, which are very clear and very direct. God hates sin and God will not accept any other savior than Jesus Christ. Saints are not edified when the words of God are not clearly spoken.
Evangelize sinners – Acts 2:47; 4:1-4
This primarily concerns soul-winning in the church. The preacher and the congregation need to be concerned for souls and they need to be actively witnessing and inviting people to hear the gospel preached at church (Acts 1:8). The preacher needs to preach on hell, judgment, sin, Jesus Christ, the cross, salvation, redemption, forgiveness, the blood of Jesus, heaven, the gospel, etc (Jas 1:21; 1 Pet 1:23).
Without a clear presentation of the gospel, sinners will not get saved. Modern preachers avoid preaching all the gospel because it has some negative elements. It tells of the cruel death of Jesus Christ for “sinners.” It tells of his descent into “hell” for three days and three nights. It tells of God’s “judgment” on sin. It tells of these “negative” things before it ever tells of the resurrection and the new life in Christ.
Modernists would rather teach and let the people figure out for themselves what they need as it concerns Christ. Modernists are satisfied for men to “have Jesus in their heart” without regard for whether they are truly saved or not. They avoid the subject of repentance. Hence, many in the congregations of the modern churches are lost and on their way to hell.
Conclusion: These three activities need to be maintained in balance [Prov 20:23]. A ministry that dwells on glorifying God to the exclusion of the other two will attract weak Christians who can’t reproduce and who remain babes in Christ, if they are saved at all. This church will grow rapidly if the music appeals to the modern generation. A ministry that dwells on edifying saints to the exclusion of the other two will produce strong, meat-eating Christians who can get to be puffed up (1 Cor 8:1-2) and dry. This church will experience little to no growth. A ministry that dwells on soul-winning to the exclusion of the other two will produce lots of baby Christians who are easily picked off by cults and the world. Most of those who “profess” to be getting saved will not be faithful in church.