Over the past two weeks we’ve looked at three questions:
#1. What is the church?
#2. What is the purpose of the church?
#3. How do we fulfill our purpose?
We determined that you and I are the church, our purpose is to love God and be loved by Him, and we fulfill our purpose by surrendering everything to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Today we want to look at a fourth question,and that question is: What are the expressions of the church?
Before we explore the answer, let’s make sure we understand the question. What are the expressions of the church?
You may remember back two weeks ago when we were looking at the purpose of the church, I told you about how I had written up these five “purposes” of the church. They were worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry & evangelism. But then we clarified our understanding and said actually, our purpose is to love God and be loved by Him. So if that’s our real purpose, what are those five things that I listed as purposes earlier? I think they are best described as expressions, and here’s why.
The word ‘expression’ comes from a Latin word that means ‘to press out’. Think about facial expressions for a minute. When we are experiencing deep sadness or grief, that feeling of sadness wells up within us, is pressed out upon our face. Tears flow and our face involuntarily distorts itself to express that feeling. Or when someone tells us something funny, that feeling of laughter wells up within us, and presses itself out on our face and we smile and laugh. We don’t try to laugh, it just comes out. It’s our feelings pressed out on our face. It’s a natural reaction.
And these five things – worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry & evangelism – work the same way. When we are living in a growing, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, surrendering our whole life to Him, these five things will just flow out of our lives. They are the natural expressions of the Christian life.