by Rev. Joseph Ezeigbo M.Div, Th.M |It is through the Church that Christ intends to reign on earth, because the church is the visible manifestation of His mystical body . Eph.1:22-23. Col.1:18 (image: Grow Baby Grow, R. James Shupp).
The Biblical mandate for Church planting is inextricably interwoven with the Great Commission. This burden was uppermost in the Lord’s heart that it is repeated in all the four Gospels and in Acts.
The Church is not an afterthought but has been in the mind of God since eternity. Eph.1:4,;3:2-6. For this purpose we shall concentrate on Matthew 28:18-20. The apostles carried out this mandate immediately following the descent of the Holy Spirit in Acts1:5-8,2:41-47. The mandate spells out what should be the stance of the church. “ A church on the go”. The Church is a movement not a monument. Not just a movement, but a missionary movement. Matt.28:19-20; Acts 1:8.
It is a transformational movement ( make disciples of the nations) Matt.28:19
It is an educational/teaching movement. ( teaching them…) Matt.28:20.
There is yet a greater purpose for the mandate to plant churches.
- To declare the praises of Christ for our salvation 1 Pet.2:9
- To declare His glory through a life of holiness Eph.1:4,6;1 Pet.2:10-12.
- It is through the Church that Christ intends to reign on earth, because the church is the visible manifestation of His mystical body . Eph.1:22-23. Col.1:18.
- The Church is also the fullness of her Head (Christ) Eph.1:22-23.
- It is through the Church that Christ declares His reconciliation with mankind and between mankind. Eph.2:11-22; Col.2:18-22.
- It is the Church that makes manifest the mystery of the ages and through which the manifold wisdom of God is declared to the kingdom of darkness. Eph.3:9-10.
- The Church is God’s designated change-agent in the world Acts 17:6;2 Cor.2:14-16.( I recommend Christian Counter Culture, A Message of the Sermon on the Mount. (Inter-Varsity Press) by John Stott. Kingdom Disciples ( Moody Publishers) by Tony Evans.
First Century Examples
a. The early Christians obeyed this mandate Acts 8:4-7;11:19-21.
b. The apostle Paul carried out this mandate as he traveled and evangelized the Mediterranean world.Acts 14:21-23;16-20;1 Tim.1:3;Tit.1:5.
c. The Body of Christ is not a vague, amorphous visualization or imagination, but a tangible reality represented by a local church.
Rev. Joseph Okechukwu Ezeigbo is a Bible teacher for the weekly Bible study at ECWA Maryland. He is also a part of the National Day of Prayer and the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted.