Let’s Build Together
The book Seventh-day Adventists Believe: A Biblical Exposition of 27 Fundamental Doctrines says, “The church is the community of believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. It is the body of Christ, a community of faith of which Christ Himself is the Head.” When I consider this definition, then the church is the active, living hands and feet of Jesus, and our communal society’s understanding of Jesus is often viewed through the lens of the church in word and deed.
In Matthew 25, Jesus juxtaposes sheep versus goats and their actions. Sheep are metaphorically characterized as those who meet the needs of people as expressed through feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, etc. As members of the body of Christ, church members are called to live their lives as sheep in harmony with the life of the Shepherd, Jesus Christ, in order to reach people for Him.
In The Ministry of Healing, Ellen G. White states, “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching people. The Savior mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me.’”
We are reminded daily of the imminence of Christ’s Second Coming as the events of Matthew 24 are happening before our very eyes. Given this reality, the Church should passionately and aggressively intensify its efforts to build God’s Kingdom. As Jesus reached people through relevant means in His day, the Church has to do the same in our day. God’s Kingdom must still be built and expanded, yet we have to ask ourselves the questions, “Are we really reaching the needs of people? Is what we’re doing effective? Is what we’re doing relevant? Are we ‘scratching’ where people are ‘itching?’”
Through evangelism, Adventist education, church ministries, community engagement and worship opportunities, we have the grand opportunity to build on the foundation that Jesus established nearly 2,000 years ago. Jesus said, “Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:19 (KJV). Our founder, Jesus, is depending on His church to fulfill the gospel commission He gave to us just prior to His ascension, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Matthew 28:19-20 (KJV).
Coca-Cola makes beverages, Dell makes computers, McDonald’s makes hamburgers, Boeing makes airplanes, but the Seventh-day Adventist Church makes disciples of Jesus Christ! It wins men, women, boys and girls for Jesus! Friends, let’s build God’s kingdom! Let’s win individuals for Jesus! And let’s do it together!
By Carlton P. Byrd, D.Min.