This series of meditations on the church has assumed that the term ‘the church’ refers to what theologians call ‘the invisible church’; that is, that ‘the church’ does not mean those people who are visibly present in or physically associated with any group or organization which might be called a ‘church’, but rather, it means all people everywhere who are genuine believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, who may or may not be meeting together visibly. Therefore, the concepts regarding the church that have been presented in these meditations cannot and must not be applied automatically to every individual physically present in a visible, physical ‘church’ organization or building.

This final meditation on the church focuses on the mission and purpose of the church.

Briefly, the mission of the church in this world, from which it is distinct, and in which its presence is confrontational, is the glory of God.

This mission involves the verbal proclamation of the Gospel to the unbelieving world and the practical expression of God’s love to the unbelieving community.

This mission is, further, and more importantly, to so live together as God’s children that the watching world, both visible and invisible, will see a living, organic demonstration of the very nature and reality of God, our Father.
Essential for the church’s identification with and engagement in this mission is its well-being, which is dependent on:

Its instruction in and adherence to sound doctrine by the teaching of the Word.

Its instruction in and commitment to godly living by the teaching of the Word.

Its encouragement and support generated by the one another principle as its members demonstrate mutual respect, acceptance, love and compassion.

Of this mission the scripture testifies:

'You are the salt of the earth ... You are the light of the world ... let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven' [Matthew 5:13, 14, 16].

‘Whatever you do … do it all for the glory of God’ [1Corinthians 10:31 ]

‘… you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you …Live such good lives among the pagans that … they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us’ [1Peter 2:9,12].

He chose us and made us his own ‘that we might be to the praise of his glory’ [Ephesians 1:12 ; see also 1:6,14].

God’s intention for the church is ‘that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord’ [Ephesians 3:10,11].

‘Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!’ [Ephesians 3:20,21].

May we, the church, live worthy of this calling which we have received:

'... I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received ... Be imitators of God ... as dearly loved children ... Live as children of light ... Be very careful, then, how you live, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity' [Ephesians 4:1; 5:1,8,15].

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2009, 2021