Identity of the Church of Christ
The Work of The Church
We in the church of Christ are to be conformed to the image of Gods Son, and not conformed to the expectation of us by man (Romans 8:29).
While our articles are supposed to look at the identity of the church of Christ, we cannot help but look at the individuals that make up the local church. The diversity in character and the desires of each member determine what work will be carried out and how it is carried out.
But you see, there is where the problem lies. We as individuals do not determine what work will be carried out, for God has already designated such. Our responsibility and obligation as members is to support each other in doing what God has already appointed us to do.
One of the identifying marks of the church of Christ is seen in the work that the congregation performs. And to be honest, our worship services at the designated times are really the only time our congregation works in unison as a single body. Sadly, it appears that the worship hour is all the cooperation from the membership you will find in most places.
For years we have basically taught that the work of the church is three-fold in nature. Preaching the gospel, edifying the saints, and benevolence (within specified parameters). If you look at these three items, you will notice that these are all individual commands placed upon each Christian. By OUR placing these into the category of the work of the church we have basically told members that their individual responsibility in these fields is encroaching upon the local work. The result is that nobody does what is required of them.
There are many organizations in this world that perform specific services. These groups have certain rules or restrictions, and are financed by various means. There are groups for all kinds of things, and they all survive upon a similar foundation and are organized in some very similar characteristics.
By law in most places, every group that collects funds for a particular cause are required to have laws, regulations, and what we call in the business world; SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures). There needs to be a recognized authority in charge and depending upon how large the organization, a delegation of that authority. There is also an accountability placed upon each of these groups. That accountability is towards those who are receiving the services and those who support those services. Not only that, but in many case, they are accountable to the laws of the places they do their services.
For those in the Church of Christ, we notice a similarity in all these concepts. We do have an authorized Head and we have laws, regulations, and SOPs.
Jesus has ALL authority (Matthew 28:18; Ephesians 1:22-23). We have a corporate structure in elders, deacons and saints (Philippians 1:1) as all being of the same mind to fulfill the goals of that organization (the church), and do so within the guidelines of authority already established. There is accountability placed upon each individual in this organization. (2 Corinthians 5:10). And, finally, we have our SOPs laid out before us in Gods word. Any deviation from the authorized practices constitutes dereliction of duty, and those guilty of such place themselves in the pathway of discipline.
Until next month, may God bless you in the study of His word.
By Carey Scott
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