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The Primary Purpose of the Church

April 11, 2012


Foreign missions is undoubtedly one of the primary tasks of the church. After all, it was Christ who commanded his church to evangelize the nations in the Great Commission.  Moreover, we know that the apostle Paul was one who had a great zeal for missions. 

But if we were to take a survey in the church and ask what the primary purpose of the church is, we might not be surprised to hear the answer of missions and evangelism.  People might turn to the Great Commission (Matt. 28.18-19) as evidence of this fact: “Does not the Great Commission tell us to evangelize the nations?”  While it is certainly true that the church must evangelize the nations, this is not the church’s primary purpose.  What, then, is the primary purpose of the church? John Piper writes:

"Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church.  Worship is.  Missions exists because worship doesn’t.  Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man.  When this age is over and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more.  It is a temporary necessity.  But worship abides forever” (Let the Nations Be Glad, p. 11).

Remember that worship is primary as you pilgrim to Zion this coming Lord's Day and feast upon the heavenly manna from above in Word and sacrament. But at the same time, pray that the gospel would go forth into the nations. Pray that Christ would send faithful ministers to herald the gospel and administer the means of grace. And pray that Christ would give you courage to tell others of Christ. All of these things should mark the church of Christ to his glory.