Bible-based | Christ-centered | Family-focused | Mission-minded
The Bible reveals that man’s purpose on earth is to glorify God (Ecclesiastes 12:13; Revelation 4:11). But what does that mean exactly? In what way are we to glorify Him? Does the Bible answer that question? Indeed, it does! In fact, the Bible teaches we must produce fruit in order to bring glory to God (John 15:8), which implies we must actively do something. It implies that we Christians, those of the church, must work! Look at the example of the first Christians in Acts 2:42-47. It says, “they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. … and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.” This passage implies there are three different types of work of the church. They are:
Evangelism – inferred from, “the doctrine” and adding to the church, (verses 42,47);
Edification – inferred from, “fellowship, and prayers” (verses 42,46); and
Benevolence – inferred from dividing the possessions (verses 42,44,45).
This illustrates that we can divide every work, or each ministry, into these three categories: evangelism, edification, and benevolence. There is additional Biblical support for each of these categories. Let’s look at each of these individually.
Jesus left His disciples with a very specific mission, known as “The Great Commission,” (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15,16; Luke 24:47). This makes it also our responsibility, both individually and collectively as the church, to seek and save the lost – just as He had done. This is simply understood as ordinary men telling other ordinary men about the extraordinary good news of an extraordinary man. What an important responsibility!
This is a word that comes from Greek, meaning, “the act of building; promotion of spiritual growth,” (Thayer). When we participate in fellowship activities and encourage each another, we are “building” something. This kind of action carries the idea of reciprocity. Read Romans 14:19 and 1 Thess. 5:11:3. Notice that the key idea is something “mutual,” or doing something for someone who does something for us at the same time. We strengthen our faith while helping each other.
Living for others is the great secret of happiness! Many live in doubt and anxiety because they only think of themselves, instead of thinking of others. Selfishness does not edify anyone. Romans 14:7-8 says we belong to the Lord, while both 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12 talk about us being part of “the body” of Christ. Therefore, the church is a spiritual family that unites all those who have been baptized in Christ. It is the place God designed where we can build each other up!
This refers to “covering, or providing for the physical needs of others.” Benevolence only requires a need and an opportunity (Galatians 6:10). The word “benevolence” is not found in the New Testament, but, we can find the idea, or concept of it in its pages. A related word (from the original language) is found in 1 Corinthians 7:3, where it relates to marriage. The principle is also seen in Ephesians 6:7,8 as an attitude that we should have toward others. In Acts 2:42, the word “communion” means “fellowship, or fraternity.” which certainly implies benevolence between each other, (Thayer).
Passages such as Galatians 6:9,10; James 1:27; Matthew 7:12; Matthew 25:32-40; and Philippians 2:4 all imply the concept of benevolence. Essentially, the primary focus is on others, not on ourselves. The church and every individual Christian should feel a responsibility toward those in need. Benevolence is an action in which God is glorified. Benevolence can even help us stay pure and avoid temptation, if we keep ourselves so busy seeking out the benefit of others, we will not have time to fall into sin!
So, how do we glorify God? We glorify Him through these actions: evangelism, edification, and benevolence. All three are equally important! By doing these things, we produce the fruit that the Lord has commanded of us. In so doing, we become pleasing to Him. These are all easy to talk about, but not quite so easy to do. Yet, we must do them! If we want to hear the words, “Enter in thou good and faithful servant,” (Matthew 25:21), then every decision we make regarding church work must be based on these works. Every work or ministry can be attributed to these three categories. Therefore, as that old song says, “To the work! to the work! We are servants of God!” – God bless! TS