Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He shared with His disciples words that are today called the Great Commission: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
As part of Jesus’ call to His followers, He instructs them to teach others what He has commanded them. The disciples became conduits to communicate Jesus’ truth to others who would believe in Him. They were not just to make converts, they were to teach them. To teach others implies a body of truth that must be both guarded to avoid corruption and shared to both educate and mature believers.
As we continue our consideration of the church, we need to grasp that the church has that same responsibility. We have been entrusted with biblical truth. Part of our mission is to share that truth. This is done in a variety of means from preaching to teaching to videos to books and pamphlets. The imperative for the church is to find the best means of sharing God’s unchangeable truth in a way that people who live in a ever-changing world can understand. The message must always remain the same, but the methods we use are wide-open.
The central truth to the Christian faith is the person and work of Jesus Christ. Jesus said that He is the only way to the Father, that He is truth-embodied, and that He is the source of true life (John 14:6). We may change the way we teach that truth (from flannel boards to chalk boards to PowerPoint), but the truth itself must be zealously guarded and taught.
There are many who declare that it does not matter what you believe so long as you believe something. It sounds high-minded and noble, but it is absolutely meaningless. Would we apply that standard auto-mechanics? Of course not! Do I tell my mechanic when I have a loud noise in my engine, “It doesn’t matter what you tell me it is, so long as you tell me it’s something”? Would you apply the same standard to your doctor? “Doc, it doesn’t matter what diagnosis you give me for this lump in my chest so long as you give me some diagnosis.” What foolishness!
The church is here to say “What you believe does matter!” There is such a thing as eternal truth, and every faithful church is responsible to teach it clearly. Sure, some churches may seem to care more about the paint color in the nursery or what brand of grape juice to use for communion, but those are just periphery issues. Jesus has called us to teach what He has given us.
When you’re looking for a church, it’s great to know what kind of youth program they have, what kind of music they play, and what kind of building they meet in, but first and foremost find out what truth they are teaching!