Who doesn’t love the birth of a baby? On the Day of Pentecost, as recorded in Acts 2, we see the birth of the church. In our reading in BELIEVE, we see four elements in Acts about the church:
- The community emerges (Acts 1:1-11; 2:1-41).
- The commission of the church enlarges to include Judea and Samaria (Acts 8:1-8, 14-17, 25; 9:31).
- The congregation expands to even the Gentiles as seen in Acts 11:1-18).
- And ultimately, conversions to ends of the earth “For this is what the Lord has commanded us: “’I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” See Acts 13:47 and Acts 13:1-3, 38-52.
The church, or God’s called out ones (which is what the word church in the New Testament language really means), is called out to be independent from the world. In other words, the church was the original politically incorrect society of believers. Somehow, we have convinced ourselves that if only we were more like the world that the world would like us.
Jesus said the world will hate us because it first hated Him. We are to come out from among them (2 Cor. 6:17. The most common word for Christians in the Bible is “saints” and no that is not just for a select few of holy dead people. All of us who are born again are saints and that word means “set apart ones.”
The final three analogies of the church (see the first trio here and second trio here) found in the Bible shows that we are to be:
3. Independent from the World.
- The Church is a Priesthood, holy and set apart from the World (1 Peter 2:9)
- The Church is a People, royally set out of the World (1 Peter 2:9)
- The Church is a Proclamation to the World (Acts 2:42-47). We are to be a city set on a hill (Matthew 5).
When Jesus went to His hometown of Nazareth, His first sermon was out of Isaiah, in which he quoted, “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed;to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”(Luke 18-19).
Babies are sure a lot of fun. But they are messy, loud, unpredictable, cranky, needy, and a host of other things, which when we describe them, that sounds a whole lot like the church. It’s been 2,000 years almost since the Day of Pentecost. It is far past the time when we need to grow up as a church and become the full measure and stature of what God has called us “out” to be: saints, who are set apart for the work of the Lord. To God be the glory.