The Lord’s Will for His Church
It doesn’t take much time to scan the New Testament letters to find from the apostles a truckload of exhortations and admonitions to the church about her attitudes and conduct. Those are the very words of the Lord to his Bride through his servants. But foundationally, no words carry more weight than those delivered to us by the risen Lord Jesus Christ himself. In the last book of the Bible, the Revelation, the Lord dictates through the apostle John letters to the churches of Asia minor. Those letters state directly his heart for his church.
So, what does he want his church to be like? The summary can be sorted into a few key and easily grasped expectations.
The first is to Hold fast to the name of Jesus and not deny the faith in the one who is the first and the last, who died and is alive forevermore. To do this the church is to keep the word and not deny the name of Christ in the face of philosophical or theological opposition. She must also adhere to what is true and faithful, always preserving uncompromised, unalloyed teaching, faithfully delivering that message in word and life.
Secondly then the church must preserve love, devotion and affection for God. In the eyes of our Lord, this supposes a full confidence in all of God’s purposes. In short, the church must have Passion, which combats apathy and complacency.
Then the Lord expects Sober watchfulness over life which entails holiness of conduct and being clothed in righteousness. As in the days of the early church, this especially means we must have a steeled resistance to sexual immorality. Also the church as Christ’s body is to have a sense of distinction and uprightness that will not compromise with or tolerate evil within its ranks.
The church must also Actively pursue spiritual treasure, remembering that “where your treasure is there will your heart also be.” That sense of spiritual treasure is strengthened with the completion of the appointed works, and taking action on opportunities that the Lord presents to us day by day.
Lastly, Christ wants his church to be Steadfast when under persecution, especially from those who are Christian ‘look-alikes’. In this we must make effort to preserve as much as possible the ground gained in faithful spiritual labor. This is to be done with patient endurance where no amount of external pressure should move us away from faithful conduct of life. Such steadfastness unto death is the church’s Christlikeness, living and dying in the manner of our Lord.
At the beginning of the 21st century, such qualities will enable the Church to stand as prominently and as noticeably as a cathedral spire in a humble village. But more than that, they will bring the smile of he who bought us with his blood.
Taking Every Thought Captive to Christ,