In all of our corporate gatherings on the Lord’s Days this past month (Equipping Hour, Corporate Worship, and our Evening Gathering), we’ve been focusing on God’s mission in Jesus Christ, and what this means for us as His people. We’ve seen that the Father’s eternal purpose is to glorify Himself in His Son, in His people, through the power of His Holy Spirit.
We’ve likewise seen that this eternal purpose directly relates to God’s good, wise, and authoritative design for the local church. The local church is where “the rubber meets the road” as we learn to walk together in God’s grace, helping one another grow in the particular roles, responsibilities, and relationships He has called us to. These truths are clearly revealed in Paul’s letter to Titus, and many other places throughout the New Testament. It is in and through our corporate life together that God’s designs to bear witness of Jesus Christ to the world around us. Jonathan Leeman helpfully summarizes the significance of these matters:
“In other words, the witness of the church does not merely consist in the fact that it goes; it consists in the fact that it has a distinct corporate life. Its witness consists in the fact that it’s distinct in holiness, love, and unity. So Jesus promises, ‘By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another’ (Jn. 13:34,35). The church’s internal work of holiness and love amongst its members is inextricably tied to its outward work of witness. We must display Christ in our corporate life in order to display Christ in our individual lives.” (Jonathan Leeman, The Church and the Surprising Offense of God’s Love, Wheaton: Crossway, 2010, p. 260.)
Beloved, what great privileges and responsibilities God has called us to in Christ, even as we grow together as His people, in accordance with His word. May the Lord help all of us to be encouraged and strengthened in submitting to His purposes for us, looking to His word together, and praying for one another to this great end (Eph. 6:18).
Because He lives, and is returning,