Stars

103 Church Appreciation

Are we as distressed with our society as much as Lot anguished over his? (2 Peter 2:7-8) Do we echo Israel’s prophet who asked why God had not handled all that was wrong? (Habakkuk 1:2-3) In spite of how dark our culture might become, God can build the brightest of beacons in that darkest corner!

Remember what Paul wrote? He described how God’s power transforms our lives characterized by darkness to become “light in the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8). Furthermore, God did not abandoned us to live as his “light of the world” in spiritual isolation.  Christ gathers us into his communities of light, the church.

Although ungodly darkness and chaotic decay may blur a culture’s senses, God creates a clarifying space for us where his creative order and righteous ways are supposed to reign. For example instead of pursuing selfish ambition, Paul commanded the church in Philippi to embrace the mind of Christ with its behaviors. Doing so would cause them to be “children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe” (Philippians 2:15-16).

Similarly Paul argued the goodness of God’s nature and God’s creation should shape the assemblies of the Corinthians and Ephesians (1 Corinthians 14:33; 1 Timothy 2:12-13). In comparison to a corrupt world, Christ’s church should stand as a stark contrast.

Whether we view the church as a refuge from the world or a glimpse into what God is constructing, in either case the assembling of God’s holy people creates a space for what is beautiful. While selfishness, materialistic idolatry, immorality and vileness might exist without, within the church the qualities of love, righteousness, peace, joy in the Holy Spirit and holiness ought to abound.

The beauty of Christ ought to dominate the church since God has placed Christ over the church. Not only when assembled, but all week long God’s people should live with holiness and reverence for God.

No matter how twisted society’s values, morals and reasoning might become, the church provides a reason to rejoice.  God’s handiwork, God’s order and God’s goodness ought to be present in her.

No wonder that Peter described one of our purposes as praising God for having brought us out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9). When people look at the church, they should be confronted with the beauty of what God desires and what God is doing through Christ.

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Barry Newton

Married to his wonderful wife Sofia and a former missionary in Brazil, Barry enjoys trying to express old truths in fresh ways. They have two boys attending university.

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