Local Churches Have Distinct Purposes

Dr. Steve Viars February 15, 1992

- these last couple of weeks we've looked at God's Provision
  Through The Local Church

- last week we began talking about the purposes of the church
- it very important for all of us that we've studied the
   Scripture very carefully on this issue of purpose because
   our philosophy/purpose guides what we do and don't do as a

II. Local Churches Have Distinct Purpose

    A. The Church's Purpose As We Meet Together

        1. perfecting the saints through studying God's Word

            - Eph. 4:12 - for the perfecting of the saints

            - Acts 2:42 - "continually devoting themselves to
                 the apostles teaching."

            - Matt. 28:20 - teaching (to observe)

        2. worship

            - John 4:24 - they that worship Him must worship
                Him in Spirit and in truth

                - not that worship can only take place in a
                  church service, but surely our services are
                  to seek to bring honor and glory to the
                  Lord in all aspects


        3. fellowship

            - I John 1:3

            - Acts 2:42 - "continually devoting
                 themselves...to fellowship."

            - not the way we often think of fellowship
              (sloppy Joes and cookies after the evening
             - building relationships to help one another

        4. observing the ordinances

            - Acts 2:42 - "breaking of bread"

        5. prayer

            - Acts 2:42

        6. baptizing - Matt. 28:19

- now, let's talk about some applications of this 1) while
  there may be some variation in the ways these purposes are
  achieved - we have no right to deviate from these primary
  purposes of the church services.

     cf. new movement today
       - Sunday morning - purpose is evangelism
           - do everything you can for the "seekers"
           - don't make the church look like a church
           - don't sing songs
           - very little or no Bible
           - "slip" the gospel in where you can
           - the church for the 90's

       - most of these churches don't have a service on
          Sunday evening (or if they do, they're very poorly
       - meet together on Wednesdays (or in home Bible
         studies) for instruction

        - lot of "catch-phrases" to go with the movement
        - "non-traditional,"  "alternative church services"

        - but the bottom line is - the primary purpose for
          the church services (when the church comes
          together) is not evangelism
        - we'll talk about where evangelism fits in in a

        - we have to let the Scripture determine our purposes
          for coming together

        - now there's some flexibility within those
        - we're not saying that if a church doesn't begin
          with an opener by the choir, have a congregational
          hymn (standing), have someone lead in prayer--that
          that’s wrong
        - there's freedom within the parameters we've

        - but we can't change the purpose

- (develop - importance of faithfulness to the services)

   - a question that flows out of this material is: Are you
     in step with the purposes for which the church comes
   - one of the reasons we took time to lay out these verses
     is because we wanted to look at the emphasis the Lord
     places on instruction.
        cf. trend on S. nights
          [objection - not in the Bible]
             - INPUT - How would you answer that?

- before we leave this point - we need to address this
   question - Based on what we've said - does evangelism have
    any place "in the services?"

    B. The church's purpose as we go out

        (not necessarily in order)

        1. do the work of the ministry

            Eph. 4:12

            - some Christians have the same view toward
              church as they do toward NFL Football (Sunday
              is game day)

        2. edifying the body of Christ

            Eph. 4:12

            - looking for concrete ways to build up fellow
               believers in their faith during the week

        3. mutual helpfulness

            Acts 2:44-46

        4. praising God

           Acts 2:47

        5. favor with others

            Acts 2:47 - "having favor with all the people"

        6. evangelism

            Acts 2:47 - "such as should be saved"

        7. making disciples

            Matt. 28:19

- the primary point that we want to see from these verses is
  that the Lord's purpose for us as we go out is that we
      - we share the gospel
      - make disciples
      - get them in a church where they can be baptized and
      - learn both in and out of the church how "to observe"
      - they them repeat the process

  1) Wondering?  and "Read Matthew 25"

     a. not man's greatest need

        - must be looking for ways to share the good news of
          Jesus Christ
        - in creative ways
        - sensitive to:
            - where you are in the community
            - financial condition and generosity of the

    b. we are involved in "poor relief"

        - taxes
        - voluntary programs at work
        - BCH
        - counseling ministry
        - missionaries around the world

    c. churches aren't commanded to feed all the poor of the
       world, they're commanded to care for those in the

Dr. Steve Viars


Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation


B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and three grandchildren.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video