"To build a healthy church, pastors should correctly handle the word of truth, with the endeavors of believers and clergies to reach unity in the faith," said a megachurch pastor.
Zhang Zhongcheng, senior pastor of Chongyi Church, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, preached a sermon titled Christians’ Unity in The Faith, based on Ephesians 4:1-16.
The pastor said that the correct view of the church was based on the doctrine of the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
"Established by God, the church was bought by Jesus at a price, with the protection and guidance of the Holy Spirit. The church is God’s family consisting of Christians; the church is the body of Christ which believers make up; the church is the temple of the Holy Spirit who guides believers in their ways," Zhang stated. "There is one body and one Spirit…"(Ephesians 4:4)
Zhang explained that "one body" referred to the church and "one" did not mean that churches must conduct themselves in the exact same way. In fact, the sacraments of the churches differed from each other in several respects. Some baptized by immersion and others by sprinkling. In communion services, some churches used the grape juice that they made themselves, while others diluted the wine with water. Some opted to meet on Sundays, and others on Saturdays. Furthermore, some used the Chinese Union Version Bible, and others used the modern version instead.
"One" mainly referred to believing in the one true Lord, the master of the church. But many people did not have the faith in one God, as their actions consciously or unconsciously suggested that they believed in more than one God, and some even mistakenly regarded themselves as the Lord, the pastor added.
Rather than saying that God was a king and a judge, it was more appropriate to say that God was our father.
"The Christian view of God is founded on the love of the Father, just in the same way that the Lord’s Prayer begins with 'Our Father in heaven'. We must be clear that we live in a world that is created, ruled, protected by, and filled with God, who proceeds to lead, support, and live with us," Zhang urged.
"Christians’ gifts from God are different and do not need to be the same, as they originate from the riches of His grace, or from the rich God himself."
“Just like the human body, if we only had eyes but no feet how would we be able to walk? If we only had ears but no eyes, how would we be able to see? If we only had feet but no hands, how would we be able to grasp anything? God arranged a variety of ministries for His churches, thus the role that each church member carries out is different and unique. To fulfill its mission of building the body of Christ, the church requires different positions, distinct divisions, and many people with various gifts to equip God’s people for the works of service.”
Teaching remained the most urgent aspect of the church’s efforts to lead believers in living a life pleasing God.
Zhang stated, "In terms of teaching, we need the word of God, the pastor’s understanding, and the instructed and humble hearts of believers, which must be united as one. The pastor should ask God to lead his preaching, as the quality of the sermons and his understanding of the Bible could affect the lives of those who are listening."
"Martin Luther once said, 'If you preached the gospel in all aspects, but said nothing about problems of your time, then you have not proclaimed the gospel at all.' In certain respects, God’s words should be in tune with the changing times, as they are still relevant and applicable to our present and real lives," the pastor concluded.
- Translated by Abigail Wu