3 Great Works of the Church
“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” — Colossians 3:17
Evangelism: “To announce glad tidings, to preach good news.” Evangelism must be part of a church’s DNA, as well as a Christian’s DNA. No one can obey the gospel unless they’ve heard it. You and I have the message of God right in our fingertips. What are we doing with it? See “lost people” as lost. Have the same compassion and care that Jesus had in Matt. 9:36. When we look at people who are lost, don’t see their clothes, cars, homes or money. See their souls. What can we do as a church? We can pray. Pray for laborers (Luke 10:1-3; Matt. 9:37-38). Pray for the opportunity to teach others (Col. 4:2-6). Pray for the boldness and courage to say what needs to be said. Pray for the salvation of specific people—family, friends, co-workers, regular visitors, unfaithful Christians (Rom. 10:1). Be an example (Matt. 5:16). Serve (II Tim. 2:24-26). And invite and welcome guests.
Edification: “To build up, promotion of spiritual growth and development of the spiritual body.” The “building up” is a spiritual “building up” (Acts 20:32; I Cor. 14:26). We are not edified in fellowship halls or activity centers, but in our worship. Edification is a process of spiritual construction. But how can a congregation of God’s people flourish if we are nothing more than “assembly acquaintances”? We must be more than assembly acquaintances to practice the brotherly love scripture reveals to us (Rom. 12:10). One way to avoid being only assembly acquaintances is to get involved (Eph. 4:11-16). Use your talents—not bury them—so that you may “edify one another” (I Thess. 5:11).
Benevolence: “To perform kind and charitable acts; gift given out of generosity.” In the scriptures, all church benevolence was for “needy saints.” The church is not to be an ATM machine for those in the world to pay their rent, cable bill, groceries or Christmas gifts. Local churches help their own members who are in need and they extend benevolence to needy members of the church in other places. But they are never used as a charitable organization for the community at-large. While individual Christians are encouraged to practice benevolence toward everyone (Gal. 6:10), the early church was very zealous in meeting the physical needs of brethren only (Acts 4:32-37, 11:29-30; I Cor. 16:1-2; Rom. 15:26). Christians take care of other Christians.