Why Christianity - 5 Aims of the Christian Church
A Personal Commentary on Ephesians Chapter 3
This hub presents a brief personal commentary of Ephesians chapter 3. In doing so, this article answers the question "what is the ultimate purpose of Christianity and Christian church organizations?"
Ultimately, the purpose of Christianity and the Christian church is to (a) promote peace and reconciliation through (b) the preaching of God's grace and mercy to (c) all peoples everywhere on the planet, in order that (d) every man. woman, and child may be citizens of God's glorious kingdom; and in that way (e) the Christian church would act as a unifying force on earth in which every person finds value, love, and respect.
The Background of the Ephesians Text
Ephesians is a section of the Christian Holy Book called the Bible. It is found in the later half of the Bible in the section labeled the New Testament. Although there is some dispute about the authorship, most Christian's believe Ephesian is a Pauline Epistle; i.e., they believe Ephesians was a letter written by the Apostle Paul to encourage Christian disciples who lived in the city called Ephesus.
The Purpose of Christian Church Organizations is to Promote Peace and Reconciliation
Paul begins this portion of his letter to those in Ephesus with these words, “For this reason…” In the previous section of this letter, the Apostle Paul argued that both Jews and Gentiles together were brought together in unity as one people under the One God. It is for unity under this One God that Christ came and Paul preaches the gospel of Christ Jesus. Indeed, Paul was called and ordained for the expressed purpose of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles in Ephesus and other regions of Southern Europe. In fact, Paul was arrested, beaten, and placed in prison for preaching the good news of Jesus’ sacrifice for all human beings.
The Purpose of Pastoral Ministry is to Preach God's Message of Grace and Mercy
Paul did not preach for his own good pleasure (even if it pleased his heart to do so). Nor did Paul preach the gospel out of his own sense of self-righteousness. On the contrary, this Apostle to the Gentiles did not believe he was worthy to share this message and even regarded himself as the worst of all sinners and the lowest among those in God’s Kingdom. Rather, Paul recognized that he was afforded the privilege of telling others about Jesus the Christ because of God’s grace. The Apostle’s privilege was to bring the message that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ was for every man, woman, and child everywhere on the planet. It was for both Jew and non-Jew.
The Gospel for All People’s Everywhere on the Planet
Even though God had chosen the Jewish Patriarch Abraham and his descendants to be the conduit of his blessing to others on earth, the coming of the Jewish Messiah (translated Christ in Greek) was not for the Jews alone. God’s intention was never to choose one people (one ethnic group) to the exclusion of all others around the globe. No, Paul makes it very clear here that God’s intention was to redeem all people’s, all ethnic groups no matter their skin color. While Jesus chose to be born among the Jews in order to fulfill the bucket list of prophesies concerning his appearance, the mystery was that both Jews and non-Jews could receive salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross. However, it was not only that they may receive salvation as individuals, but also that they might be unified as one.
The Purpose of the Christian Church is to be God’s Unifying Force on Earth
For what reason? For what reason did God make this mystery known to Jews and non-Jews alike? The Apostle Paul wrote, “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” In these words, the Apostle Paul shows that at least one purpose for Christ’s coming and Paul’s sharing was that the Church might be an example to rulers and authorities around the world.
In what way should the Church be an example to rulers and authorities? The Church is to show rulers and authorities that their purpose is to promote peace among the peoples of the earth. In the time of Paul, the main objective of rulers and authorities was to gobble up territory by destroying lives and obliterating other ethnic groups. As Paul says in verse six, “The mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.” All those who believe and follow Jesus are called to promote peace among the nations and the Church universal is called to be both an example and conduit of that peace.
Yet, Paul makes it clear that peace and reconciliation are found in Christ Jesus. All those who claim to be followers of Christ Jesus are called to proclaim this mystery with their lives and mouths.
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