The Commercial Appeal
The church triumphant
From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Q: There are a lot of articles written these days about how the church has forsaken Christ and become worldly. Is this possible and if so, does the Bible speak to this happening?
A: One of the great studies about the church comes from Revelation 2 and 3, and pastors should make this part of their messages because these passages are rich in warning and blessing. Jesus Christ has called out a special people – the church – for His Name. It’s made up of individuals who have surrendered their lives to Him and follow Him in obedience. It doesn’t mean the church is perfect, but it means that its people have turned from the worldliness of life to walk according to His ways while still on Earth. The center of faith in Him is to exhibit love to all by declaring His message, “For God so loved the world” (John 3:16).
At the time Jesus spoke these words, the people of His day were worldly. Some were dressed in religious garb that belonged to this world, a world ruled by the prince of darkness – a world dominated by pride, ambition, hate, jealousy, greed, and falsehood. The world is still this way.
But when Jesus draws people to Himself, He desires that we set our affections on things above, on the things that glorify Him – refusing to conform to worldly principles and practices and instead live under the lordship of Christ. This marks the church as different. While the church belongs to Christ – who is the King of kings and Lord of lords – He declared that the world would hate those who followed Him, but He promised to be with us. Christ’s church is to be distinctive and must center its message on Christ as Savior through the proclamation of His Word. This is the church triumphant.