What's the Point?
The world asks of the church, “What’s the point?!” So do people inside the church. What’s the point?
If the point is to make you a better person, there are plenty of books and speakers who can tell you how to get your best life now, better than us. If it’s to build a better society, there’s the Rotary Club, or the Red Cross, or any number of organizations. They do that better than us. If the point is to help the poor or the oppressed, there’s the soup kitchen, or the Pregnancy Resource Center. They do that better than us. If the point is to increase knowledge, then there’s the U., and ICS. They do that better than us. So what’s the point of church, of tithing or church attendance or Sunday School or traveling across an ocean to make a disciple?
Recently Maclean’s reported on church growth in Canada. Not surprisingly, they found that nearly 100% of growing churches thought that evangelism was important, and for non-growing churches, not so much. But what theological truth did Maclean’s find that growing churches more likely to believe? To put the question another way: what holiday did people 100% of respondents in growing churches “believe in”, compared to only about 50% of people in non-growing churches? Maclean’s only “discovered” the truth that the true church has lived on since the beginning, which we see in Acts 5:29-31.
After being charged not to preach Jesus, the disciples go on preaching him anyway. Why? Verse 30 gives their reason: “The God of our fathers raised Jesus . . .” And again in verse 31: “God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior . . .” What’s the point of church? This crucified Jesus is raised from the dead! Alive! Ascended! King over all! Christmas came for Good Friday, Easter, and the Ascension. Remember the promises that sandwich the great commission? “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me . . . I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:18, 20). Without the resurrection, those are nice words, but empty of power. But if Jesus IS raised, then those promises should rule us and transform us.
This Advent season, meditate on why Jesus came – to die and rise and ascend to his throne, to give us Himself. May the Spirit increase our faith in the resurrection, that we would found our lives on these promises, “witness[ing] to these things” (Acts 5:32).