“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
The mission of the local church is: Preaching and teaching; Making disciples; Fellowship; Worship; Missions and evangelism; Maturity of the believer; Ministry in the home; Ministry to material needs.
Maturity of the Believer:
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. Ephesians 4:11-16 NASB
You are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus Himself the chief Cornerstone. 21 In Him the whole structure is joined (bound, welded) together harmoniously, and it continues to rise (grow, increase) into a holy temple in the Lord [a sanctuary dedicated, consecrated, and sacred to the presence of the Lord]. 22 In Him [and in fellowship with one another] you yourselves also are being built up [into this structure] with the rest, to form a fixed abode (dwelling place) of God in (by, through) the Spirit. Ephesians 2:20-22 AMP
The Lord anoints and calls certain believers to stand in one or more of these five-fold offices: Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers. They are given to the Church, to serve the Church, with the express purpose of equipping the saints (believers) for the work of service and to build the body of Christ up. The goal is to attain unity of faith, knowledge of the Son of God, maturity and perfection – every believer becoming more and more Christ-like and more and more solid in the Word of God.
The Church, as it grows up in the Lord, attains maturity in and through the following:
• Colossians 4:12 NKJV – Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
The Word of God:
• 1 Peter 2:2 AMP – Like newborn babies you should crave (thirst for, earnestly desire) the pure (unadulterated) spiritual milk, that by it you may be nurtured and grow unto [completed] salvation.
Colossians 1:28-29 AMP – Him we preach and proclaim, warning and admonishing everyone and instructing everyone in all wisdom (comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God), that we may present every person mature (full-grown, fully initiated, complete, and perfect) in Christ (the Anointed One). 29 For this I labor [unto weariness], striving with all the superhuman energy which He so mightily enkindles and works within me.
• 1 Corinthians 3:1-2 AMP – However, brethren, I could not talk to you as to spiritual [men], but as to nonspiritual [men of the flesh, in whom the carnal nature predominates], as to mere infants [in the new life] in Christ [unable to talk yet!] 2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not yet strong enough [to be ready for it]; but even yet you are not strong enough [to be ready for it].
• 2 Timothy 2:15 AMP – Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.
The exercise of faith:
• 1 Thessalonians 3:10 AMP – [And we] continue to pray especially and with most intense earnestness night and day that we may see you face to face and mend and make good whatever may be imperfect and lacking in your faith.
• Colossians 2:7 AMP – Have the roots [of your being] firmly and deeply planted [in Him, fixed and founded in Him], being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving.
Patience through tests:
• James 1:2-4 NIV – Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
• 1 Peter 1:7 AMP – So that [the genuineness] of your faith may be tested, [your faith] which is infinitely more precious than the perishable gold which is tested and purified by fire. [This proving of your faith is intended] to redound to [your] praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) is revealed.
• 1 Corinthians 8:1 ERV – Now I will write about meat that is sacrificed to idols. We know that “we all have knowledge,” as you say. But this knowledge puffs a person up with pride, while love helps the church grow stronger.
• Colossians 3:14 AMP – And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony].
• 2 Peter 3:18 NKJV – But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
• Romans 1:11 AMP – For I am yearning to see you, that I may impart and share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen and establish you.