What IS God’s Church to Do Today?

What is the most important task and commission that God has given to His Church in this day and age, just prior to the return of Jesus Christ?

Is it to try to make this a better world by engaging in politics and political campaigns? Are we to attempt to replace the government, perhaps through peaceful demonstrations or even with violent means? Is it proper for Christians to become soldiers to fight for our country? Is it to be applauded when Christians vote in governmental elections or serve in the nation’s jury duty system? Is it the responsibility of the Church today to establish missions all over the world and to collect money for Third World countries? Does God command His Church to feed the hungry at food banks or to help environmental causes by volunteering to clean up freeways, beaches or forests?

Now, a few of the above-mentioned endeavors might be entertained by Church members on an individual basis. These would be personal decisions. However, most of the tasks listed ought not be engaged in by true Christians at all. But insofar as the organized Church is concerned, NONE of the activities constitute a part of God’s great commission for Christ’s spiritual Body.

So, WHAT IS the Church to do today?

We read Christ’s clear words about the first part of the commission in Matthew 24:14:

“And THIS gospel [of the Kingdom of God] will be preached in all the world AS A WITNESS to all the nations, and THEN the end will come.”  Notice, the end of this present evil age will ONLY come WHEN the Church fulfills this part of its commission.

But there is a second part as well, which can be found in John 21. After His resurrection, Christ gave Peter (and all ministers) the timeless responsibility to feed Christ’s lambs (verse 15); to tend His sheep (16); and to feed His sheep (17). In other words, the ministry is to look after and protect Christ’s disciples by “feeding” and “tending” the flock”—which includes, standing up to savage wolves which might come in with the attempt to spiritually destroy and devour the sheep (Acts 20:29; compare also John 10:11-13).

We clearly do NOT read that Christ’s Church has the commission to do missionary work in Africa, India or other parts of the world. It is NOT the responsibility of the Church of God to try to rectify all wrongs and to make this world—Satan’s world—a better place. Christ’s words apply, in principle, to this issue as well, when He said: “Let the dead bury [or assist] the dead” (Luke 9:60). Instead, He required of His disciples to follow Him and obey His words and fulfill the specific tasks given to them.

This is not to say that we are not to help others, but Paul makes very clear what this means. He states in Galatians 6:10: “Therefore, AS WE HAVE OPPORTUNITY, let us do good to all, ESPECIALLY TO THOSE WHO ARE of the HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH.”

When individuals do good to others, including to those who are NOT of the household of faith, they have to make sure that the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing (Matthew 6:1-4). Far too often, Church organizations that are getting involved in local, national and international outreach programs crave the recognition of the community, the nation and the world—in other words, they seek the reward from man. Truly, they will receive their reward, but not from God.

As Paul clearly emphasized, we are to concentrate on doing good especially and mainly to those in the Church. When Christ chides those in the parable in Matthew 25:31-46 for not helping others in need, He is referring to Church members who refused to help their brethren (verses 40, 45). He is NOT talking about visiting all the prisoners in the country; inviting every stranger and homeless person into your home; feeding all the poor; and clothe all those who are naked. With the Church’s limited resources, that would be impossible anyhow. No, Christ is addressing the individual relationship of BRETHREN WITHIN the Church.

Experience has shown that when organizations lose focus on the Church’s two-fold commission and get entangled in numerous other tasks, they will pretty soon lack the necessary zeal to do what they have been commanded to do. With lack of obedience will come lack of understanding; and slowly, but surely, those organizations will lose God’s precious knowledge which had been entrusted to them, and they will begin to teach all kinds of wrong ideas. It has happened before, and it is prophesied to happen again.

We must be about our Father’s business (Luke 2:49). We must be faithful servants (Matthew 24:45-46), doing what we are commanded to do (John 9:4). In the process, we have to overcome sin in our personal lives (Revelation 2:7,11,17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21). When we have our hearts in the true Work of God, we WILL overcome, as we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). Then, and ONLY then, will we be counted worthy to escape all the terrible things which are soon going to happen, and to stand before the Son of Man when He returns (Luke 21:36). 

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