Church is often dull because we think about it like secularists, not according to scripture. This world takes its stand against Christ, and Jesus tells us that as believers, we will have trouble. He also reminds us to take heart because he has overcome the world (John 16:33). For us to take heart, which leaves no room for boredom, we must realize two things. First, this world is fallen and antagonistic to God; second, Christ has overcome it. Only if we walk in this reality will the boredom so often experienced in church dissipate. To help us do this, we must align our understanding of the local church with Revelation chapter 1.
One of the first things the Lord showed John while he was on the Isle of Patmos was the image of seven golden lampstands (Revelation 1: 12). Each lampstand represented one of the seven churches of Asia, but they are also representative of every church throughout history.
Both John and the churches are facing persecution. Though the churches were under intense pressure, the lampstands still shone the light of Christ. These churches were far from perfect, as the Revelation would soon reveal, but the light of Christ was still present.
The best thing about this image of the golden lampstands is that Christ is standing in their midst. His eyes are like fire, with perfect vision and perfect intensity. His voice is like the sound of many waters, full of power. And from his mouth comes a sharp two-edged sword (Revelation 1: 16). This sword is living and active, able to separate the bone from the marrow. It even discerns the thoughts and intentions of the human heart (Hebrews 4:12). Nothing is outside its reach.
John was so overwhelmed by this vision of Jesus that he fell down at his feet as though dead (Revelation 1:17). Jesus stands among the churches, and if we are part of a church, he also stands among us. He is the First and the Last. The living one who died but is now alive forevermore, and he holds the keys to death and hades (Revelation 1: 18). For this reason, we should take heart.
How can Jesus stand with imperfect churches comprised of sinful people? Because he loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood. By dying for us, he has made us a Kingdom, priests to our God. Only by his blood can he reach down to us in our sinfulness and say, “do not fear.” To him belong all glory and dominion forever and ever (Revelation 1: 5-6).
Behold, he will soon be coming on the clouds, and every eye will see him. Even those who nailed him to the cross and those who would like to do it again will not be able to evade him. When he returns, all the tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so, we say “amen” (Revelation 1:7).
In light of this, why do we regularly neglect and look down on local churches when such an awesome Savior is standing in their midst? Why do we often think the best thing about corporate worship is when the music or the pastor is entertaining? It is no wonder we are so often bored in church.
If we are not engaged in the cause of Christ, we will not be aware of the stand this world takes against his church. If we do not understand that, we will not think we need him or even care that he stands among the churches. Instead, we will interpret the local church and corporate worship through an empty secular lens. We are not merely a social gathering that offers pleasant music and self-help. We are engaged in spiritual warfare.
Even so, though we are not perfect, the light of Christ still shines. Though we should fall at his feet as dead, he reaches out with his right hand and says, fear not, I bought you with my blood and hold the keys to death and hell. We no longer need to fear those who can destroy the body, and the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell holds the keys, and he loves us and calls us his children (Matthew 10:28).
Our call at this point is to begin, more and more, to recognize the reality of this fallen world and Christ standing in our midst. We are to worship him with the adoration that is due him and conform more to his image. As we glorify our God and bring his love to the world, Jesus is building his church, and the gates of hell will not be able to stand against us (Matthew 16:18). The more we are mindful of this, the significance of the local church and corporate worship in our lives will continue to grow, and the lampstand will begin to burn brighter leading to the salvation of more souls.
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