By Rev Nigel Baylor
In John 17:4 we see the eight-fold purpose of the church. Jesus said of himself: “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.”
If Jesus’ main purpose was to glorify God then this must be the church’s primary aim, too. We are to do this by worshipping God and offering spiritual sacrifices of praise, possessions and persons.
Secondly, we are to keep God’s word. Jesus said: “I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them.” The implication is that, having accepted God’s word, we are to pass it on intact as the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
How important it is that we pass on the Word of God to the next generation. Many children today do not know the bible as well as former generations and this is where we as Christians can make a difference.
Then too, the church is to be united in love. “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me,” Jesus says in verse 23.
If people want to see real love, they ought to be able to see it by looking at the Christian Church. Do we demonstrate the love of God in our daily lives?
Next, the church is to be filled with joy: “I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.” Do people expect joy in our churches? Do our lives reflect the joy of the Lord?
Fifthly, the church is to overcome Satan. Jesus prayed that his disciples would be protected from the evil one [verse 15]. To be effective against Satan, we need to keep close together. This is why we must love each other deeply in the church. This will keep the devil out and keep us together.
The sixth purpose of the church is to be in the world but not of the world [verse 14]. The Christian church must be in the world, but the world must not be in the church. We need to be different and so be the disinfectant for the world!
Next the church must bring others to Christ through the gospel message [verses 20,21].
The final glorious purpose of the church is to be with Jesus in his glory for ever [verse 24].
May we pray for all of these qualities for the church that we belong to.