So what is the church’s local purpose?
I received an understanding from Mark 16 and Matt 28 that the Activate church community has a critical local purpose and mission to accomplish:
1) Allow the Holy Spirit within believers to be expressed to others
2) Appeal others to become a follower of Jesus
3) Go and demonstrate Father God's love to all
Something becomes apparent to me when I look at these three statements.
1) Going and demonstrating the Father God's love to all is the focus of Father God. The Father’s focus is going and preaching the good news about Heaven’s Kingdom and Jesus Christ to the world. As well as, demonstrating God’s will on earth and exercising His authority.
2) Appealing others to become followers of Jesus Christ is the focus of Jesus, his Church and His bride. Jesus’ focus is maturing His Church/Bride through disciplines and character.
3) Allowing the Holy Spirit to mature believers through His fruits and gifts and expressing them to others, is the focus of the Holy Spirit.
As I see it, the three focuses go from the World, to the Church, to the individual. But the key to discipleship goes from the individual to the Church to the World. In other words, discipleship starts with a relationship with the Holy Spirit, His fruits and His gifts. Once the Holy Spirit enters the believer, he or she is full able to function in the Holy Spirit fruits and gifts. They can fully and immediately love and forgive because they have been loved and forgiven. They can immediately function in any of the Holy Spirit gifts. I see this as key for a younger believer to have a life giving relationship with the Holy Spirit. With this relationship, the calls to obedience in forsaking the fleshly desires become easier. This missing of the first priority is why so many who “accepted Jesus” fall back into the world after a short while.
A new believer has been told of and has experienced Fatherly love. He/she has already been told and made Jesus their Lord and Savior. They have the Holy Spirit within them, so the first thing to do is build on that new relationship with the Holy Spirit. That is #3 goal of the local church’s purpose and mission.
Every new believer is to receive into their hearts the fruit of the Holy Spirit: Gal 5:22-23
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
New believers can express God’s emotions to others. They may not know many Bible verses but they can receive and express His emotions. We are given opportunities daily to convey God’s love to others.
New believers can operate in all of the Holy Spirit gifts. The baby and carnal believers in Corinth are examples of “Lacking no spiritual gifts”, they had all Holy Spirit gifts available to them and yet were immature at best. Everyone, old and new believers, need to be operating daily in Holy Spirit gifts.
I think this is the primary key keeping our relationship real and growing with God. When a new believer has this growing relationship with the Holy Spirit through fruits and gifts then introducing them to the Jesus’ character and the spiritual disciplines are not received as a law but a part of maturity and following God.