Perhaps you are like me. I am a simple man. I just can’t seem to wrap my mind and my heart around something I cannot see with my own two eyes. So, I know I am not supposed to judge, but if I am going to be called to put my trust in your message, I’m going to have to be able to take a real good look at it, and I might just ask some hard questions.1
I learned from my childhood that everything has a purpose, and that there is a time for every purpose under heaven. This knowledge has helped me keep my feet on the ground as I endeavor to understand life on this earth and my place in it. If I am going to devote myself to something, I’ve got to know its purpose and what it has to do with the purpose I was created for. So, my question is this: What is the purpose of Christianity?
My daddy always called the Bible, “the Good Book.” He told me that if I put my trust in God’s Word I would never be disappointed. Yet so much of what I have seen in the churches seems to contradict what I read in the Bible. So I decided to study the purpose of the Church according to God’s word, so I could understand the purpose of Christianity. Here is what I found:
1. To Love One Another
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35)
Those who make up the Church are commanded by Christ Himself to love one another the same way He loved His disciples, in order that the whole world would know they are His disciples. I like that because it is something that everyone should be able to see and understand. Since love can be hard to define, I was glad to find another passage that makes it very clear.
We know love by this: that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (1 John 3:16)
So I understand that, in the same way that He denied Himself to live for His disciples, believers are to deny themselves to live for their brothers in Christ.2 And this kind of self-sacrificing love will be evidence of who is truly following Him. In a previous verse it also says that this kind of love will confirm that they have “passed out of death and into life.”
We know that we have passed out of death and into life because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. (1 Jn 3:14)
2. To Express the Unity of the Spirit
I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. (John 17:20-23)
Jesus prayed that those who believe in Him would receive the same glory He had from the Father, in order that they would be one — having the same oneness He shared with the Father. The purpose of them receiving this inward glory, expressed by their outward love and unity, was to persuade the world that the Father sent His Son, and that He loves the world as He loved His own begotten Son.
According to other passages, this unity is something that had to be maintained by His followers above all:
...endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, for there is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in all. (Ephesians 4:3-6)
Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (1 Corinthians 1:10)
3. To Be a Holy Nation and Royal Priesthood
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10)
According to the Apostle Peter, the New Covenant Church is called to be a holy nation — a royal priesthood made up of those who were once not His people, but through the blood of Christ are grafted into His people, as the apostle Paul said in Ephesians 2:12-13.
...that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:12-13)
Their great purpose would be to fulfill the commandment, spoken by God to Moses, which Israel of old failed to obey:
Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel. (Exodus 19:5-6)
After the famous “Golden Calf Party” at the foot of Mount Sinai, all the tribes of Israel were disqualified from the priesthood, except for the tribe of Levi, who sanctified themselves that day.3 Yet Israel was to be a royal priesthood, a holy nation, where every person in every tribe would be part of that priesthood. This purpose will be fulfilled in the New Covenant as prophesied by the Prophet Jeremiah:
“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah — not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them,” says the Lord. “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” says the Lord. “I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” says the Lord. “For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31-34)
4. To Bear the Fruit of the Kingdom
Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruit of it. (Matthew 21:43)
Israel was to “bear the fruit” of God’s rule in such a way as to bring glory and honor to Him in the sight of all the nations, yet they failed to produce that fruit, so it would be left to another nation, this time a spiritual Israel in Christ.4
My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. (John 15:8)
This “fruit” would be the manifestation of God’s life — His Spirit in His people — love and unity and obedience to His commandments, which brings His blessing upon His people. A tree is known by its fruit. And the Church will glorify its source by its deeds.
Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. (Matthew 12:33)
5. To Preach the Gospel as a Witness
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)
This is one of the greatest prophecies about the purpose of the Church in the last days, that they would bring the good news of the kingdom to the whole world as a witness — something you could see and experience, a tangible demonstration of His power to save His people from their sins.5
Amazingly, Christ’s words connect with an ancient prophecy from Isaiah about the restoration of the spiritual twelve tribes and their purpose:
Indeed He says, “It is too small a thing that you should be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give you as a light to the Gentiles, that you should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.” (Isaiah 49:6)
6. To Be the Light to the World
You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)
Part of the purpose God has for His people is to be a light to all the world, living a life that would glorify their Father in heaven. The “you” in this passage is plural, as an individual could never be compared to a city. For a city has many facilities and interrelated parts, each with their particular function, working together to serve the whole, like a body. So this life is something that can be seen and that brings prophetic illumination, glorifying the Source of its light.
7. To Offer Pure Offerings
“Your eyes shall see, and you shall say, ‘The Lord is magnified beyond the border of Israel.’ … For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles; in every place incense shall be offered to My name, and a pure offering; for My name shall be great among the nations,” says the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 1:5,11)
This ancient prophecy of Malachi was spoken in the context of God’s rejection of fallen-away Israel because of their lame sacrifices. This passage looks hopefully towards the future restoration of the spiritual New Covenant Israel, whose great purpose would be to offer pure offerings. These will be a tangible expression to the world of His worthiness, bringing honor and glory to God the Father and His Son. These offerings or sacrifices, which were prefigured6 in the Old Covenant as a type, will be fulfilled in the New Covenant in a new and living way:
Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a high priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19-22)
8. To Overcome Satan
But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. (Hebrews 10:12-13)
Christ overcame every enemy, even Satan and Death. Now it is left to His people to also overcome all of His enemies, in order that He could be released to return to the earth to set up His kingdom in the next age. This is part of the great purpose of God’s people, which neither Israel nor the first-century church fulfilled.7
To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. (Revelation 3:21)
These will be the overcomers whose love and unity is represented as a great chain that will bind the evil one at the end of this age, which will usher in an age of peace.
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:1-2)
9. To Do the Good Works
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
...from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:16)
His Church will function together like a body, with every member doing its part, working together to build up the body in love, doing good works that were preordained for every member. Their particular purpose within the larger purpose of the Church is understood and ordained through the ministry of the gifts spoken of in Ephesians 4:11-13,
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
According to Christ Himself, these works can only be done “while it is day,” that is, while He is on the earth, either in person (as He was 2,000 years ago), or in His true Body of believers. No one can “see” to do those works apart from the revelation that comes through Him from the Father.8 If the word spoken doesn’t produce the works that build up His body in love, then that light is actually darkness (nightfall),9 which He prophesied would come on the earth:
I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. (John 9:4-5)
But we will be able to recognize Him in His people when we see them being purified and zealously carrying out those synergistic works that build up Christ’s body on the earth.
...who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. (Titus 2:14)
These works are the righteous deeds of the saints, which fulfill the ultimate purpose by preparing His people as a bride to rule with Him in the next age and forever:
Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. (Revelation 19:7-8)
So, considering what I have discovered in the “Good Book” about God’s purpose for His Church, I have some hard questions to ask in regards to Christianity and its purpose:
1. Where is the self-sacrificing love among Christians that proves to the world that they are His disciples?
2. Where is the unity of the Spirit among the 42,000+ denominations of Christianity, the unity that causes the world to know that the Father sent His Son?
3. In what way could Christianity be considered a holy nation, or a royal priesthood, or even “the Commonwealth of Israel”?
4. Is the “fruit” of the “tree” called Christianity bearing “the fruit of the kingdom” any more than old Israel?
5. Does the fruit of Christianity bring glory and honor to God, the Father?
6. How are the churches of Christianity presenting the gospel as a visible demonstration of His saving power?
7. Is Christianity the fulfillment of the prophecy of a twelve-tribed holy nation, which is raised up in the last days to be the Bride of Christ?10
8. How can Christianity fairly be compared to a city on a hill, with all of its parts working together for the good of the whole?
9. How is Christianity offering up offerings in righteousness? Do they even begin to understand how the Old Covenant offerings prefigured the offerings which would be offered up in the New Covenant in a new and living way?
10. How is Christianity making God’s name great among all the nations of the earth?
11. What happened to all the early churches that were called to overcome in Revelation 2 and 3, and how are Christians today overcoming in the same way that He overcame? Will those who do not overcome as He overcame sit with Him on His throne?
12. How are Christians making His enemies a footstool for His feet in order to bring Him back to the earth?
13. Is the Christian Church, as a body, being joined and knit together by every member doing the works that were preordained for him or her, in order to build up the body in love?
14. Is the “revelation” spoken in the churches of Christianity producing illumination into each person’s life as to what the good works are that each one is supposed to spend his life doing in order to build up His Body?
15. Are there apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers who have authority to adjust the saints into their works of service?
If Not, Then What?
As I consider these things, it seems to me that the answers to these hard questions are obvious to just about anyone. But if Christianity isn’t fulfilling the purposes clearly outlined in the word of God for the Church, then what is the purpose of Christianity?
Some clues might be found in the epistles to the first century churches as they drifted from their prophetic purpose. Consider this passage in 2 Corinthians:
For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully. (2 Corinthians 11:2-4)
Even in the first century, the Church was drifting away from its pure devotion to Christ, as they came under the sway of “another Jesus,” a different spirit, which brought in another gospel than the one they first received. The writer of Hebrews warned them of this drifting process:
Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. (Hebrews 2:1)
There were very many warnings all through the epistles, revealing some of the ways they were departing from the devotion they had in the beginning when the Holy Spirit came upon them in power in Jerusalem:
They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common. (Acts 2:42-44)
The warnings in the letters of Paul and John grew stronger, culminating in the letters in Revelation and the book of James, which warned of the total demise of the Church;
To the church in Ephesus:
But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place — unless you repent. (Revelation 2:4-5)
To the church in Pergamum:
So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans [clergy/laity system]. Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth. (Revelation 2:15-16)
To the church in Sardis:
Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which are about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. (Revelation 3:2-3)
To the church in Laodicea:
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. (Revelation 3:15-18)
All those churches are gone, yet “the Church” as an institution continued on. At some point they stopped living together and sharing all things in common. They were no longer devoted to the apostles’ teaching. They stopped caring for orphans and widows. 11 They became increasingly entangled with the world around them.12 Then in the fourth century the Roman Emperor Constantine declared Christianity a state religion and used his authority to change the Sabbath from the seventh day of the week to the first day — “the venerable day of the sun,” when the pagans worshiped the sun god.
The seventh-day Sabbath was to be a sign between God and His people throughout their generations that He had set them apart and was sanctifying them. This was a command written by the very finger of God.13 Therefore, when the Church trampled this sign underfoot, they were no longer the pillar and support of the truth.14
Over the course of the first three centuries after the death and resurrection of Christ, what began as communities of sincere disciples, devoted to one another and their Savior, became the world religion called “Christianity.” Down through the dark ages the Church rolled on, wielding the power of the state to enforce its beliefs and agenda on the masses. The history of the Christian Church is awash in the blood of those they considered heretical or reprobate. You should look at it some time. It is horrifying.
Nightfall came15 to the earth as the churches lost their lampstand, one by one, until the Spirit of the True One16 was gone from the earth. They were left with only a form of godliness, without the power to fulfill the prophetic purpose of the New Covenant Israel.
The Purpose of Christianity
Considering all these things in the light of God’s word — judging the tree by its fruit, one must conclude that the purpose of Christianity is to present a false messiah to the world, which she has done very effectively for the last 1900 years. They preach many other Jesuses besides the True One, whose name is actually Yahshua. This is certainly not God’s purpose. So whose purpose are they fulfilling? Who is the god of Christianity? The answer can be found in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15.