Let’s continue our look at the names associated with the Church that Jesus is building
7> A Holy Nation
See: 1 Peter 2; Revelation 1, 5
The seventh descriptive name for the Church that Jesus is building is that we are “A Holy Nation.” In every country we are a ‘nation within a nation.’ We are not just citizens of the nation where we were born or have chosen to live and identify with … when we are born again we enter into a new nation – the Church, which is called to be holy as Jesus is holy.
Holy simply means that we are becoming more and more like Jesus. This is accomplished by spending time with Him daily in prayer and in His Word, the Bible. Holiness cannot be achieved by following a man-made list of rules, a compilation of dos and don’ts that man has made up in an attempt to please God. That is religion – maybe a born again religion, but religion nonetheless.
The word “holy” carries the idea of being uncommon and set apart. In this holy nation we are kings unto God. Christ is the King of our nation. In the words of Peter, we are a ‘royal’ priesthood – thus kings. Regrettably, the church in every age – starting in the third century – has sold out to the culture. Contrary to what some believe, the Church is not the religious department of the culture. It is a colony from heaven – a holy nation standing for holy values in a devalued world.
Often the Church is viewed as a sub-culture of the dominate culture and thus often resembling the culture in which it is found. As a result, the Church is neither holy nor influential. What we are called to be is a counter-culture to the current dominate culture in which we find ourselves.
1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”
In your local church … Do the members of your church see themselves as part of a colony that belongs to another realm? Do they see themselves as resident aliens on this planet? Do their values reflect that of the Kingdom of God or this present culture?
8> A Golden Lampstand
See: Revelation, Chapters 1 and 2
We are little lights joined together and made part of the same lampstand. Jesus Christ is the light, and the Church bears His light in the world. Jesus is also the High Priest who cleans the wick and pours fresh oil in the lampstand so that it has the potential to always burn brightly.
The Bible teaches that it is the “life of God the Father” in Jesus that is the light. John 1:4 states, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” The word ‘life’ here is the Greek word ‘Zoe’ which is the life and nature (essence) of God. This was the light. So, for the Church to have a bright witness in the culture in which it is located it needs to have this life flowing in and through it. Every believer needs this ‘life’ moving in them. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14) so it is the ‘God life’ in us that allows us to the light as Jesus was the light.
In your local church … Does your church bear the light of Christ? Does it bear a corporate witness, or is witness viewed as the individual’s responsibility? Do people see the light of Christ through the Church, and is it extinguishing darkness on any level?