I used to think the Church was just a club of folks that got together to talk about Jesus; a place to go and hear some good advice about how to live a better life, and find out how to be a better person. Although all that is correct, the true identity and purpose of the Church is a jaw-dropper, and will shock the average person, not to mention many Christians.
If one wanted to know about the purpose of the Church, it would seem logical to go to the leader, the one who instituted the group in the first place; the one who gave the marching orders so-to-speak. Since that would be Jesus Christ, we need to know what he had to say about his followers. What did he say they were to do? And what was his vision for their future?
Jesus said in John 14:12, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these…” So Jesus’ followers are to be doing what He did – and even greater things than Jesus did! Then clearly, if we know what Jesus did, we’ll know exactly what we’re supposed to be doing.
Jesus’ disciples were with him day in and day out and witnessed first-hand His mighty works. Peter said in Acts 10:38, “…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil…” Rom 11:22 says we are to continue in His goodness. Jesus went about preaching the good news of the Kingdom of God everywhere he went. As he came upon the oppressed, he touched their situation. 1 John 3:8, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” When He came upon the hungry – He fed them; when He came upon the blind – He restored their sight; when He came upon the sick – He healed them; when He came upon the dead – He raised them back to life. Jesus’ followers are to do the same thing – and even greater things!
Right after the resurrection of Jesus, just before He was taken into heaven, He told his disciples what they were to do and how they were going to do it:
1) His followers were to preach the gospel as He did, Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved.”
2) Jesus said signs and wonders would accompany the preaching of this gospel, verse 17-18, “And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and if they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and the sick will be made well.”
So the Church is to carry on the ministry of Jesus! As He did, so are we to do. But how can this be? How can mere men carry out the work of the Living God?
The Church is Clothed with Power
As Jesus was giving instructions to His followers, He told them, “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” So, just as Jesus repeatedly told the crowds, it wasn’t Him doing the works, but His Father in Heaven, so it is with the Church. After Jesus was taken into heaven, the saints went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it. In Acts 4:29-30, the disciples prayed that they would be able to preach the word with boldness, and asked that as they did God would, “Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” We know from reading the remainder of the New Testament that God honored those prayers. Acts 14:3, “…for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders.” God performs mighty miracles to back up the gospel message. But Jesus said his followers would perform greater works than Him.
Greater Works Than These Shall They Do
Jesus was taken into Heaven, where He now sits at the right hand of God. He is to remain seated at the right hand of God until something very significant happens. Matt. 22:44, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” Heb. 10:12-13, “…after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.” We know Jesus has already defeated Satan the devil, and has stripped him of all authority, taking the keys of hell and death from him. The next step is for Satan and his hordes to be disposed, to be trampled underfoot and made a footstool for our King. The Church, Jesus’ body on the Earth, will attend to that task!
Jesus gave His Church the authority to overcome all the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19). The saints are the over-comers. They are the ones who trample Satan underfoot in these last days. The saints of the Most High God will overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb and by the Word of their testimony.
Rain is Coming
In several places throughout scripture, the former and latter rains are mentioned. The prophets of the Old Testament referenced those rains to be sent by the Lord. The latter rains are to be greater than the former. The Holy Spirit poured out and made available on the day of Pentecost is the first (former) rain. There is another rain, a much greater rain, to be poured out on the Church in these last days. This great outpouring of the Holy Spirit will enable the Body of Christ to dispose of the devil – to completely trample him underfoot. Jesus’ enemies will be made His footstool. Then our Lord will stand! And that great white horse will be brought to Him.
Hallelujah! Praise to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! The Church is to be doing exactly what Jesus did while on the Earth, covering the globe with His message, destroying the works of darkness along the way. The Church is to occupy until Jesus comes back. We are to beat down the works of darkness and trample them underfoot – making the enemies of Jesus His footstool.
Let’s be about our Father’s business. While we’re at it, let’s keep our eyes on those approaching clouds. Looks like heavy rain is heading our way. Wait…, look! It’s starting to sprinkle!