By Mark Mayberry
As revealed on the pages of the New Testament, the church of our Lord Jesus Christ is all-sufficient. It is excellent or complete beyond all practical or theoretical improvement. It is positively suited to the spiritual needs of mankind. It is entirely without flaw, defect or shortcoming. In short, God’s pattern for the church is an expression of perfection. Indeed, when it comes to spiritual things, God has given us all sufficiency in all things (2 Cor. 9:8). In writing to the Colossians, the apostle Paul made repeated reference to the concept of perfection: His aim was to present every man perfect in Christ Jesus (Col. 1:28). This was no idle daydream, because in Christ Jesus we realize fully God’s purpose for mankind (Col. 2:9-10). Those who are faithful to the divine pattern can stand perfect and complete in all the will of God (Col. 4:12).
A Perfect Standard
God has given the church an all-sufficient and perfect standard. By following the inspired Scriptures, the man of God can be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17). James said the blessings of heaven are reserved for the one who “looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it” (Jas. 1:25). Peter alluded to the all-sufficiency of God’s word when he said that God “has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Pet. 1:3).
There is no need for any addition, subtraction or alteration to the word of God. Latter-day revelations like those claimed by Joseph Smith, Mary Baker Eddy, Ellen G. White, or the Watchtower Society, are unauthorized and unnecessary. The revealed faith has been once delivered to the saints (Jude 3).
A Perfect Work
God has given the church an all-sufficient and perfect work. It is ideally suited to fulfill the work of evangelism, edification, and benevolence. The first two responsibilities are affirmed in Matthew’s account of the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20). Brethren should be built up in the most holy faith (Jude 20-21). The church should also come to the aid of needy saints (Acts 2:44-45).
There is no need for any addition, subtraction, or alteration to God’s pattern for the work of the church. Let us not become side-tracked with a substitute mission. Why should we forsake the high and holy task of seeking the lost for the inane trivialities of the social gospel? When tempted to misdirect our energy and squander our strength, let us remember Nehemiah’s words to Sanballat: “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down” (Neh. 6:1-3).
A Perfect Worship
God has given the church an all-sufficient and perfect worship. Since worship is directed towards God, he has the right to dictate the kind of worship that he desires. The Psalmist said, “Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (Ps. 29:2). Jesus said that true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24). The book of Acts records that the early church engaged in the following acts of worship: Lord’s supper, giving, singing, prayer, and preaching (Acts 2:42).
There is no need for any addition, subtraction or alteration to God’s pattern for the worship of the church. As the author and object of true worship, God has the right to dictate the form of acceptable worship. Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men renders our worship null and void (Matt. 15:8-9).
A Perfect Organization
God has given the church an all-sufficient and perfect organization. Each congregation is independent and autonomous, answerable directly to Christ, the head of the church (Eph. 1:22-23). Elders are to be appointed in each local church (Acts 14:23), where they are to shepherd the flock that is among them (1 Pet. 5:1-2). This arrangement is ideally designed for the upbuilding of the body (Eph.4:11-16).
There is no need for any addition, subtraction, or alteration to God’s pattern for the organization of the church. The manifold wisdom of God is reflected in the simple order of the New Testament church (Eph. 3:10-11). Religious hierarchies and human institutions are, therefore, both unscriptural and unnecessary. Let us not allow para-church organizations to supplant the church in its God-given role.
A Perfect Appeal
God has given the church an all-sufficient and perfect appeal. We have the ideal means of appealing to the lost.Jesus simply stated, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Man is drawn to God through hearing and learning the word of God (John 6:44-45).
There is no need for any addition, subtraction, or alteration to the appeal that is offered to sinners. Jesus recognized that many followed him only because they ate of the loaves and were filled (John 6:22-27). A carnal appeal cannot bring men to God. Only the truth is sufficient for such a task.
The church is all-sufficient. It enjoys a perfect standard. It has been given a perfect work. It engages in a perfect expression of worship. Its organization cannot be improved upon. It offers a perfect appeal to a lost and dying world. Yet, these consummate qualities are often unappreciated. Only those who have been transformed by the saving gospel can truly understand that God’s will is good, acceptable, and perfect (Rom. 12:1-2). Hopefully, as we draw closer to God, we will develop a deeper appreciation for God’s simple, yet sublime, pattern for the church.