We have been talking about how we progress with our faith. First, through Jesus, we are able to remove all the baggage that has weighed us down and kept us from being the person God made us to be. We are transformed into creatures of light so that we can step into the very throne room of God without begin destroyed by His purity. In the throne room, we find that we are not only accepted by God, but we are adopted as His children. Finally, we are given the help of the Holy Spirit to continue to live in such a way that we remain worthy of the name “Children of the Most High God”.
The Holy Sprit’s task is to help us create a world of peace - both with God and with the people around us (especially other Christians since they are trying to do the same thing). This connection of peace with other people is a huge deal to God. It is stressed many times through the Bible.
One of the interesting titles that the Holy Spirit is given, that shows his role in developing peace between Christians, is found in the book of Revelation: From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. (4:5). To understand this imagery, you need to understand the Jewish culture of the time and the symbols that have already been found in Scripture.
The ‘seven sprits of God’ (sometimes called the ‘7-fold Sprit’) is an image that God wants us to picture when thinking of the Holy Spirit. In the Jewish culture, the number 7 meant ‘perfection or completeness. In other words, to say the Sprit of God is 7-fold is to say that this is the complete and perfect Holy Spirit.
But why not just say the ‘Holy Spirit’? Why split the image into 7 parts?
The answer to this is found in Revelation 1. John sees a Menorah (a candlestick with 8 candles). He is told that the 7 of the candles are the churches and that the light that burns on the candles is the Holy Spirit. (the 8th candle is used to light the other candles and this is represented by Jesus himself). This is to symbolize that God has placed the Holy Spirit into His Church on earth. Though there are many different kinds and locations, they all lit by His Holy Spirit.
Revelation gives us a couple of other things to think about when talking about God’s church.
First, in Revelation 4, John enters the throne room of God and finds the church in front of God’s throne - meaning it is part of God’s plan. But to get into the throne room, John has to walk through Jesus - the door (which of course symbolizes how Jesus is the only way to God). Standing in front of the door (in Revelation 1) is the candle that represents the church and the only way to get to the door is by walking through the light. This is a strong message from God that the church is an important part of our story. He does not want us to try and walk this path alone, we need to walk it together (which is how we find peace).
Second, in Revelation 2-3, we see that Church’s are not perfect. Just because they call themselves Christians and are walking in the light of the Holy Spirit does not make the Church infallible. The churches are made up of broken people who are working hard at finding the peace God brings. We are all trying to find the right path with God and we all fall down. The point of the church is that we help each other stand, not expect perfection. When we are working together to reach God’s throne room, we find a perfection that only God can bring - but when we expect Christians to be without problems, pains, mistakes, or anything else human, we put a burden on each other that is not realistic and can drive people away.
The Holy Spirit wants to guide us to a peace between us, God, and each other. He does this by using an imperfect organization which makes us have to work together to stand.
So what do we do if our church is broken?
First - you should trust the Holy Spirit to guide you. He brought you to that church, so ask Him what He wants you to do there.
Second - you should help people stand in their brokenness and seek others that will help you stand. Look for those that encourage you and remember that those people that are not encouraging are in a broken place. Give them grace.
Third - again, trust in the Holy Spirit to guide you. He wants you to be at peace - and maybe the reason the church you are at is broken is because He needs you somewhere else and is moving you.
The point is - don’t give up too quickly on a church. Can you speak peace there? Is it speaking peace into your life? If so, stay. If you are being pulled from God, ask God to pull you back and put you in a church that speaks peace into your heart.
This is discipleship.