By Ray Stedman
Author’s Note: Many days I read daily devotionals written by Ray Stedman. Stedman was an evangelical Christian pastor, and author. He was a long-time pastor of Peninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto, California, and author of several books. His website, Ray Stedman, is a treasure trove of excellent biblical, Christ-centered commentary, devotionals and Bible teaching.
In this devotional he teaches us about the purpose of the church and why it exists. Do you agree with Ray? If so, does the church you attend line up with Stedman’s teaching?
Read the Scripture: Ephesians 4:1-3
This whole page is a condensed summary of the reason the church exists and statement of what its function should be. What does Paul say the church should do in the face of the desperate demands of human need? His answer is,
Live a life worthy of the calling you have received. What does he mean? He means,
Obey your orders! Take your direction from the Head of the church.
Follow the divine strategy, not the obvious shallow counsel of people. The church is not expected to devise its own strategy or to set its own goal. The church is not an independent organization existing by means of its own strength. We can never understand this body that exists in human society unless we view it as more than an organization.
Think of the figures the apostle uses for the church in this letter: The church is an army under the command of a King, and an army that will not obey its leader is useless as a fighting force. The church is a body under the control of the Head, and what a tragedy it is when the human body refuses to respond to the direction of the head. The church is a temple for the exclusive habitation and use of a Person who dwells within, who has the right to do with that habitation as He wills. So this is the word of the apostle to us:
Live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Follow the goal that has been set before you by your Leader.
This is a revolutionary age. The hurricane winds of change are blowing everywhere in our world. The race seethes with unrest and lawless rebellion. What are Christians to do in this hour? Should we surrender the greatest revolutionary message the world has ever heard, which can come to it from no other source, and content ourselves with doing what any worldling can do?
Shall we become nothing more than another political action group or succumb to the fallacy that change, any kind of change, represents progress? God forbid!
What the apostle desires is that we heed our calling; that we renew our commitment to the Lord, who is behind all things, to become individually responsible to tell this radical, revolutionary, life—transforming good news throughout society; that we should invade commercial and industrial life, education and learning, the arts and family life, morals and government with this tremendous, unequaled message.
Father, help me to see that the only impact I can have in this world is by being faithful to You and to the message that has been given to me. May your church be made up of people who, above all, obey Your orders.
Copyright © 2007 by Elaine Stedman — This daily devotion is from the book The Power of His Presence: a year of devotions from the writings of Ray Stedman; compiled by Mark Mitchell. It may be copied for personal non-commercial use only in its entirety free of charge. All copies must contain this copyright notice and a hyperlink to www.RayStedman.org if the copy is posted on the Internet.