The church is the only institution among men that will exist in eternity. Neither marriage nor government, which are ancient institutions, will exist in eternity; they were designed for this world only. But the church, while in this world, was not made for this world only. Thus, by inspiration the Apostle Paul wrote, “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Eph. 3:21). To say, then, that the church is a heavenly institution is not to stretch the truth, for Jesus Himself said the church was not of this world (John 15:18). Since the church is heavenly, its work must also be heavenly.
What is the work of the church? The preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ is the chief work of the church (Mark 16:15). Those believing in Jesus Christ are then to be baptized and taught all things Christ has commanded (Matt. 28:18-20). These marching orders were given to the church by Christ Himself. No other institution has ever been commissioned to do the work the church alone is to do. No other work is as important as the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Yet today many churches have relegated this all important ministry to a secondary, if non-existent, place, and have taken up earthly causes as their main ministries. Thus, the social gospel is replacing the everlasting gospel. The feeding of the poor with food that perishes is given precedence over the feeding of God’s sheep with the Word of God. Why are churches leaving the ministry of the Word to serve tables (Acts 6:2)? Many charitable organizations exist which care for the physical needs of the poor whom Jesus said would always be with us (John 12:8). But no other institution but the church will ever preach the gospel and Jesus Christ and do the spiritual and heavenly work it was established to do.
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