God’s Design for the Church
It’s interesting when you look at Scripture that every time God creates something, he gives commands to explain its purpose and existence. God does this at the very beginning of Scripture. In Genesis 1 and 2, God creates the world and gives commands regarding what it’s supposed to look like and how it’s supposed to function.
Interestingly, King Jesus, who sits on the throne, has done the same thing in regards to the church. Jesus gave commands to the church. They are commands that Christians know well but maybe don’t always connect back to the local church. We are to love God, love neighbor, and love one another.
Each of those commands aim in a direction for the believer. To love God means there’s this upward ministry of worship—that the church is called to gather and to lead people to know and worship God in word and deed.
The love neighbor command is very much an outward command—that we are to be engaging in our world. We are an embassy of the kingdom. We are ambassadors of the gospel. We administer God’s special and common grace in our parish, in our neighborhoods, in our school districts. And finally, the third command of King Jesus in the Gospel of John is that we’re supposed to love one another.
God creates the world and gives commands regarding what it’s supposed to look like and how it’s supposed to function.
If loving God is upward and loving neighbor is outward, then love one another is inward. We are to be a family. We are to be shepherding one another, discipling one another, caring for one another. So, God didn’t just create the church into existence and then leave it alone. He gave three commands to explain the purpose of the church. The church is called and commanded to love God, love neighbor, and love one another.
Edward W. Klink III is the author of The Local Church: What It Is and Why It Matters for Every Christian.
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