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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The Scriptorium

The Work of the Church

The Church is a spiritual machine.

The Heart of God: Covenant Life (4)

And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24.27

Read and meditate on Ephesians 4, 2 Corinthians 10, 1 Timothy 3-5, and James 1.
As a community of diverse, Spirit-filled members, local churches have work to do – the ongoing work of Christ and His Kingdom.

For reflection
1.  Read the assigned chapters in a single sitting. How would you summarize the work of the local church? Put another way, how can you tell when a local church is working as it should?

2.  What is the role of pastors, elders, and deacons in making sure a church is working as it should?

3.  What are some examples of the work of ministry for which the “saints” in a local church are to be equipped (Eph. 4.11, 12)? Taking Paul’s idea of a “sphere” of influence – a Personal Mission Field – as the place where those works should be pursued (2 Cor. 10.13-18), for which works of ministry do you need equipping?

4.  Churches and their members should be conspicuous within the larger community for their good works. According to James, what is the role of the Law of God in helping us to understand which good works we should do (cf. Eph. 2.10; Rom. 7.12)? Is it a good idea for us to neglect equipping in the Law of God? Explain.

5.  Working churches grow as members are equipped for ministry within their own Personal Mission Fields. This is the responsibility of pastors and teachers, to make sure every member of the local church is equipped for the ongoing work of Christ. As this happens, churches grow strong in unity and maturity. How would you explain the ideas of unity and maturity Paul outlines in Ephesians 4.13-16?

A local church is a Spirit-driven, Spirit-empowered, spiritual machine, made up of all kinds of moving parts, which channels the energy of God’s Spirit into fruitful work in its community – work which advances the righteousness, peace, and joy of the Holy Spirit, which is the Kingdom of God (Rom. 14.17, 18). How does your church measure its effectiveness as a work-producing spiritual machine?

Closing Prayer
God stands in the congregation of the mighty;
He judges among the gods.
How long will you judge unjustly,
And show partiality to the wicked?
Defend the poor and fatherless;
Do justice to the afflicted and needy.
Deliver the poor and needy;
Free them from the hand of the wicked.
They do not know, nor do they understand;
They walk about in darkness;
All the foundations of the earth are unstable.
I said, “You are gods,
And all of you are children of the Most High.
But you shall die like men,
And fall like one of the princes.”
Arise, O God, judge the earth;
For You shall inherit all nations.

Psalm 82

T. M. Moore

Two books can help you gain a fuller understanding of the terrain we will be covering in this series. Kingdom Documentsprovides a concise overview of the primary teaching of the Old and New Testaments, and shows, through early Church creeds, how our forebears understood the primary teachings of God’s Word. (click here to order). I Will Be Your Goddevelops more fully the idea of God’s covenant and leads us to consider the practical implications of our covenant relationship with God (click here).

Visit The Ailbe Seminary, where our course,
Introduction to Biblical Theology, offers a parallel study of our theme in this series, using brief video presentations and the workbook God’s Covenant: An Introduction. All courses at The Ailbe Seminary are available without charge.

We are happy to be able to offer each week’s Scriptorium studies in a free weekly PDF, suitable for personal or group use. You can download all the studies in this series by clicking here. Please prayerfully consider sharing with The Fellowship of Ailbe through your giving. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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