In his last letter to Timothy, Paul writes: ‘But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance' (2 Timothy 3:10). The apostle Paul clearly knew what he was trying to achieve - hence he could write, ‘my purpose'.
As Paul neared the end of his life he wrote to Timothy, by now a pastor in Ephesus, to encourage him to follow his policy - that is, his blueprint for ministry and church life - which flows out of the gospel. Paul was passing on God's battle plan to Timothy, so that Timothy's ministry would have clear direction and purpose. Twenty centuries on, the need remains pressing to have clear direction and purpose in gospel work. It is good and right to ask: ‘What is the purpose of the church?' Ultimately, the aim of the church is to bring glory to God. But what must the church and its ministers do to fulfil this objective?
It is apparent from the New Testament that if the church is to glorify God, it must gather for worship and prayer, and to study God's Word. In addition, church life will be characterised by mutual love, working together, and a determination to make the gospel known. Furthermore, this last characteristic will not be restricted to local areas but will involve efforts to see the good news preached throughout the world, in accordance with the Lord's commission (Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8). Local churches should be missionary-minded churches.
Author Name Daniel Grimwade
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