Summary: What does the portrayal of the church being like a golden lampstand say about how God sees His church?
One of the principles associated with spiritual maturity is that spiritual maturity comes from learning to see things from God’s perspective. When I come to see things as God sees them, it makes all the difference in the world. When I learn to see those without Christ as God sees them, I develop compassion. When I learn to see fellow Christians as God sees them, I develop patience. When I learn to see myself as God sees me, I develop confidence. Seeing things as God sees them makes a positive and powerful difference in me. That is why I want us to take the next several Sundays to see if we came learn to better see the church as God sees His church.
We read here of the first vision that John recorded in Revelation. In his vision, he saw the Lord Jesus, arrayed in all His glory, standing in the midst of seven golden lampstands. Then in verse 20, the Lord tells him that these seven golden lampstands represent seven churches. They are named in verse 11 and Jesus addresses them in chapters 2 & 3.
It is important to note that Jesus is speaking of local churches here. Too often, when we read what God says about His church, we apply it to the universal church. But these seven golden lampstands represent seven local churches, which means the picture of the church here is one we can apply directly to our church today.
Let’s see what we can learn about how God sees our church, as we think about the church being like a golden lampstand. I believe there are three basic lessons for us to draw from this picture of the church.
1. Our church is precious.
The fact that God portrays His church as a GOLDEN lampstand speaks of how precious His church is to Him.
“You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body.” - 1 Corinthians 6:20 (Amplified)
A few years ago, on "Good Morning, America," Joan Lunden
featured some extraordinary gifts that a person might want to
include on their Christmas gift list.
One of them was a Jaguar automobile, the Jaguar 220. To
purchase one, you first go to your Jaguar dealer and put down your $80,000 deposit.
When it is delivered, you pay the balance of $507,000. The Jaguar 220 is a $587,000 automobile, and only 250 are made each year.
Lunden then mentioned that if you purchased the Jaguar, you might also want a car wax that promises to give it the ultimate shine. It retails for $3,400 for an 8 ounce can. I guess if you can afford a $587,000 automobile, why not spend $3,400 for car wax?
A third item she mentioned was a $300,000 gold and silver toilet seat inlaid with precious stones. Of course, there were cheaper gifts for those who have everything: an $18,000 frisbee, a $10,000 yoyo, a $12,000 mousetrap, and even a $27,000 pair of sunglasses.
And for the proud grandparent who is wondering what to buy the new grandbaby, how about a $28,000 pacifier?
Such gifts stagger our imagination, but they are not indescribable. Only God can give gifts beyond description. His greatest gift was His Son. The preciousness of that gift testifies to how precious we are to Him.
“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold
everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field. Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!” - Matthew 13:44-46 (NLT)
2. Our church’s potential.
The idea that the church is a GOLDEN lampstand speaks of our
potential. In the mind of God, His church is glorious and His desire is that we reach our full potential as His redeemed people.
“Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.” - Ephesians 5:25-27 (NLT)
Notice how Paul says that Christ will present us to himself as a
glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish.
Instead, we will be holy and without fault. That is how God sees us as being now, as He views us from His eternal perspective.
But it is important to note that we do not have to wait until we are in His eternal presence to be all He will one day make us to be. Paul says we can be holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.