Unfortunately, the modern day church has almost completely forgotten about her role and responsibility in National Transformation.
Most believers and the clergy almost always seek to detach the church from the society for which she was established. As a pastor and a student of the Bible, it is still a mystery to me where the modern church derives her theology of total separation of the church and the society.
Reading and studying the Bible on a daily basis myself for the past 30 years,
I see a totally different world view. I see a God that is absolutely interested in the day to day running of the world including governments. I see a God that would not allow himself to be isolated from his creation. Ps. 24:1 proudly proclaims it that “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.”
Notice that in the above scripture God is not even saying the earth is man’s even though man has been entrusted with the earth to temporarily run and manage it. However the glory of the earth must belong to the Lord, because the earth is the Lord’s. Everything any man does on earth must be to give glory to God. Whether it is in government or in commerce. From this scripture, how could we possibly say, God and the church should not have a role to play in managing the affairs of the earth which he created for his own glory?
The story of God’s interaction with the children of Israel in the Old Testament, teaches us one vivid lesson which is, God rules in the affairs of men. How could we say after that, that God and Church does not have a role to play in the day to day running of nations?
I would not spend too much time presenting my case from the Old Testament. For many will say, that was the old dispensation. I would rather present my arguments from the new dispensation on why Christians and the church must not only be involved in the running of their nations, but must be in the vanguard of it.
In my country Nigeria, Christians are prone to complaining about why God is not giving the nation godly leaders. On the other hand, what a paradoxical and hypocritical question that is. Paradoxical and hypocritical because on one hand this same church teaches her members to refrain from politics because it is a dirty game. But when Muslims and unbelievers take over the same government, we begin to complain of why there are no Christians or godly people in power.
If we are going to teach our people not to go into politics because it is dirty, then who is going to clean it up? Are there angels in charge of that kind of job? I am at times tempted to think that the real reason behind the church holding back her members from active involvement in the day to day running of a nation is probably not because of care for the souls of the parishioners. The real reason might be the unwillingness of church leadership to let go of their most promising members.
As far as I’m concerned, the argument of politics and the secular world been dirty doesn’t hold water. Didn’t the bible tell us we are the light of the world? Is light not given to dissipate darkness? If the secular world is the darkness and the believer is the light, then in my mind God has provided solution for the problem of darkness. That solution is the church and the believers.
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
If the church which is the light of the world is reluctant to go engage the darkness of the world, what are the other means we could then use to overcome that darkness? Would God send angels to do that? It won’t happen!
We sometimes live in hope, thinking God would raise people, he could even use stones to accomplish his will, beautiful. But why should God be looking for stones when there are millions of Christians sitting down on the pews in church? There is no justification yet for God to raise up stones, when we have men in abundance who could be used by God to destroy the darkness in their nation. The only thing we need is to change their mindset and send them forth.
The church worldwide need to reconsider her stand and her role in the transformation of nations.
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16
From the above scripture, there are some lessons that we need to examine more closely.
YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD:
Jesus who is the author and the builder of the church specifically gives us our identity, purpose and vision, when he says YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. I don’t think by this Jesus is trying to impress us with a metaphor. I think he actually meant what he said. We are here to fix the problems of darkness of the world. Anywhere darkness is hidden, believers are supposed to go after it, chasing it away from all its hideouts. Bringing light and illumination to sons of men.
A TOWN BUILT ON A HILL CANNOT BE HIDDEN:
If the church and the believers are truly who they profess to be, there is no way they could be hidden in any country or nation. They are supposed to be the most vocal, outspoken, visible, group of people in the whole nation.
The illustration Jesus uses here is perfect for the lesson he wanted to pass across. Jesus himself is the hill upon which the church and the believers stand, hence he is so sure of his ability to manifest, to raise and to promote those who stand on him. Therefore in every sphere of life, in any given society or nation, the church must be the most conspicuous body in the land.
Friends, don’t let’s dance around this. Jesus is not mincing words in declaring his intentions. His words are quite clear. Let’s take him by his words. I don’t think he is playing dices with us. I believe he meant what he said. I don’t think God is a liar, neither could Jesus be a deceiver. If he says we are supposed to be on top, then let’s go for the top. If we says we are supposed to be visible then let’s go after the visibility. If he says we are the light then let’s go after the darkness without any ambiguity about it.
PEOPLE DON’T LIGHT A LAMP AND PUT IT UNDER A BUSHEL:
Jesus had earlier told us who the light is. The light is the church and the believers. He is trying to tell us that from his own part, he has done all he needed to do for us, he already lite the light and he did not put us under a bushel. To prove to us that he is not planning to do that and he is by no means going to do that, he said it is never done. He says anyone that lights a candle will never put it under a bushel, it is not done!
For Jesus to come to be the light in us, it’s not for us to be hidden any longer, it is not done! He Himself is the light of the word. Oh boy! How he lite the world! Now friends, that light has come into us with an intention, what other intention could it be? None other, than for us to be like him. To beam our light to the whole nation where we are planted just like he did to the whole world. Just in case we might have some doubt, he gave us a stern instruction, don’t you even think about hiding, nobody does that. Nobody lights a light and hides it and God is not going to be the first one to begin to do that.
In Jesus’ own words “Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.”
WHEN PEOPLE LIGHT A LAMP, THEY PUT IT ON A LAMPSTAND:
This is an intentional act of ambiguity. I think the church worldwide has not been intentional enough in displaying her light, her advantages, her values, etc. We kind of misplaced the message of humility and used that message to sideline the purpose of the church. When the lamp is put on a lamp stand, it is for the benefit of others. It is for the purpose of service. It is for the purpose of defeating darkness.
Whereas the message of Christian humility and modesty, teaches against self-promotion and the pursuit of self-interest, but his message of the light is not in the same vein. They are totally different messages. We should not in the name of humility and modesty put the lamp under a bushel. No! We should for the interest of the light’s calling not shy away from prominence, visibility and ambiguity. The good ideals of humility should not sideline the purpose of the light which is to give visibility to people, destroy darkness and serve others.
THE LAMP IS TO GIVE LIGHT TO EVERYONE IN THE HOUSE:
The purpose of every church and every believer is to find ways and means to give light to everyone in the house or in the nation. We know that people in our nation belong to different people groups. They belong to different religions, professions, organizations and social strata. Yet, the light must be in all those places. Who is to bring it there? The church and the believers of course! In my opinion, believers are supposed to be in mosques bringing light, in discotheque bringing light there and everywhere else where there is darkness. They are supposed to be after the service of bringing light to everyone in the nation.
LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE BEFORE OTHERS:
I like to take the words of Jesus quite literally. The way I would see this injunction personally, is that I must make my works and my values visible to all others. It is actually expedient for every believer to intentionally look for platforms, avenues and opportunities where he or she wants to make his light shine before others.
The same responsibility is given to the church. The church has the responsibility of making her light shine before all others in the community and in the nation. This are the kind of things we should be teaching believers in our churches. It is my belief that we must as a church desist from the domestic gospel of self-satisfaction into the gospel of the Kingdom.
Instead of concentrating most of our teachings on individual needs, it is high time we begin to focus on God’s needs.
LET OTHERS SEE YOUR GOOD DEEDS AND GLORIFY YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN:
Many Christians don’t just know how to use this instruction from Jesus. They remember that on one hand Jesus told us that when we do our charity, our left hand shouldn’t know what our right hand is doing, but here we are, Jesus himself calling us to make men see our good works. In my observation most Christians just settle for the easy part, well we will just be modest and not let our left hand see what our right hand is doing.
We have used that argument as the reason why nobody knows of our good works. In the real sense there is no controversy in these two statements. We are told not to allow our left hand to know what our right hand is doing in the sense that we should not blow our own trumpets for personal gain and glory. But when your intentions are that others might glorify your father in heaven, then you have got to blow those trumpets of the good works you did. The difference is in the motives. If the motive is to shine Gods light and dissipate darkness, if the motive is to bring service to others, if the motive is to release the glory of God, that others might glorify him, then bring out those trumpets!!!
YOU ARE THE SALT OF THE EARTH:
As if the illustration of the light is not good enough, Jesus decided to reaffirm some of his injunctions to us using another metaphor. This is an extremely powerful illustration. There are two main functions of the salt especially in the days of Jesus.
The very first function of salt is to act as a preservative.
What is a preservative? A substance used to preserve foodstuffs, wood, or other materials against decay.
Can you just see how powerful that is, that is what the church and a believer is meant to be. We were raised up by the father of light to be a preservative to our cultures, nations and societies. Our role is to be right there in every place where there could be potential decay.
If politics has the potential to decompose, we are supposed to be there, healing and preserving it. If the economy has the potential to decompose, the church and believers have the purpose to be there keeping and preserving it. If the entertainment industry has the potential to decompose, the church and believers need to be planted in their midst assuring preservation. If the educational system or the media, the art and culture stand in danger of decay, that is why God set up the church and raised the believers to preserve them.
This more than anything should convince the believer and the church that our primary role is to meet the needs of the society at large, not just minister to individual believers in the local church.
There is another aspect to the function of salt. Salt is also supposed to give taste to a product. Wow! What a huge responsibility the God of heaven is conferring on the church and on the believer. We are to give meaning to life, for everybody living in our countries. Our actions or inactions are to define the taste and the meaning life offers to people. If people’s lives are going to have meaning, it would depend on our actions, if people are going to lose the essence and meaning of life, it would be because of our inactions.
If we as the church therefore withdraw ourselves from the day to day running of our nations, that means we are showing ourselves as been irresponsible. It would mean we are saying that we don’t care If people find meaning to life or not. We would be refusing to give them a taste for life. It means we are denying their lives meaning.
THE SALT CAN LOSE ITS SALTINESS:
Ladies and gentlemen. Jesus was very candid with us. If the church and the believers refuse to perform, the consequence is damning. PERFORM OR LOSE RELEVANCE.
It is sad for me to observe around the world how the church is fast falling under this damnation. All over the world across the nations, the church is refusing to act as light in every aspect of the society, hence fast losing relevance. Jesus is not going to play around with us, listening to our arguments why we would not do what he said we should do, it is either we believe him or we don’t. If we indeed believe him, we would act as he says without any excuses or justifications of our failures.
WHEN THE SALT LOSES ITS SALTINESS, IT IS THROWN OUT AND TRAMPLED UNDERFOOT:
Oh how I see that happening all around me. All over the nations of the earth, the church and believers are been trampled underfoot. Is the secular society to blame? Not really. Maybe it’s the devil to blame? Not really. Is the darkness to blame? No, not really. I think we only have ourselves to blame. When the society that we are supposed to be training and managing is now looking down on us, it is because we have not acted as light. Our light has become darkness. Our salt has lost its saltiness. We are no longer good for National Transformation!
Brethren as blasphemous as this might sound, yet it is true that the church could actually lose its relevance in any given society. No wonder Jesus told his disciples, “Behold I give unto you power to step on serpents and scorpions and on all the powers of darkness and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” Luke 10:19. Jesus is clearly telling us here that the power and authority he gave to us is for offences. That is, we are to advance, we are to be proactive, we are to show initiative, we are to keep on been on the move, we are to keep on going, constantly going!
As soon as we stop though we are inundated by the power of darkness that we were supposed to be conquering. It is at this point we become a laughing stock and our salt is trampled under the feet.
The church of the lord Jesus Christ in the 21st century needs a total review of her doctrines about the society. We need to fundamentally revisit the role of the church and the believers in the day to day running of their nations. I understand why the teachings of the church has gone in the direction of the secular philosophy of separation of state and church. That position can be understood especially after the abuse of the Catholic Church in usurping the authority of the state and government in the Dark Ages.
The response of the church today though is like the case of throwing away the bath water together with the baby. Even though I clearly do not believe or advocate for the official church or any church whatsoever to be engaged in running government or state, I nevertheless cannot agree with the notion that believers should by any means be kept out of governance or from the day to day running of the nation.
This is because Christians and believers are equal citizens of their various nations just like every other citizen. They possess the same right and privileges as all other citizens including the right to vote and be voted for. No constitution of a democratic nation, keeps away the believers or Christian citizens from participating in the running of their countries.
It is even more ridiculous to think that God could by any means be separated from his creation. Since that can never happen it is not understandable why the Christians and the church would buy into the idea that Christians have no place in the day to day running of their nations.
The creator can never be separated from his creation. We are his agents through whom he runs his affairs on the earth. We are the only ones who can keep him from been present somewhere. The kingdom of God is within us, his light is within us. If we refuse to go out of the four walls of the church into all spheres of life, then we are to be blamed for it. When we believe in his injunctions and agree with him by stepping out to take his light into all spheres of life then he would be there to back us up. When we however refuse to believe or obey, then we become a laughing stock among the nations.
My understanding of the role of the church is clearly stated in 1Tim.3:15
“But if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”
From this scripture, we see how Paul views the house of God (the church). The church is supposed to be playing two main roles, one is to establish the truth in all aspects of human endeavors. So the church is God’s headquarters from where his truths, his standards and his values are not just broadcasted or proclaimed but they are supposed to actually be established in all spheres of life. If that is so the focus of the church should be in building structures, systems and processes that could enhance this goal of establishing God’s truth in all works of life of a country.
Unfortunately, the church has left that role to the secular universities. History tells us though that the early Protestants, understood the role of the church in establishing God’s truth in all spheres of life. For this purpose, the church started institutions like Oxford, Cambridge, and Harvard, all established to proclaim the truth of God in all spheres of life. Today’s church has all but forgotten about this fundamental purpose of the local church. A review of our doctrine is long overdue. If we would refuse to go back to our fundamental calling as the church, I am afraid the church worldwide might soon become a thing of history.
The second fundamental role of the church according to 1Tim 3:15 is that the church should not just establish God’s truth in all spheres of life. The church is also responsible for upholding as a pillar those truths in the society. This is another area where the church has gone to sleep. Most of the church would probably not even be aware that they are supposed to be aggressively building systems and structures, processes, mechanisms, that would help uphold the truths of God’s kingdom in every area and strata of the society.
I think this is what Jesus meant when he spoke his parable in Matt.13:31-33
“Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” Another parable He spoke to them: The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”
When the church performs as her Head expects her to, then the expected result would be manifested as in this parable.
The kingdom of God would grow in any country, nation or sphere of life, like a mustard seed, no matter how small and insignificant its beginning is, the kingdom of God would always grow to become the most significant institution in any nation or culture.
In every nation and in all spheres of life the church would become so significant and so relevant that various “birds”, people groups, structures, organizations in the nation would constantly rely on the church for continuous survival.
The indwelled power in the kingdom is so overwhelmingly strong that it’s comparable to the power of the yeast. When a yeast is put in any amount of flour, it ferments the whole lump. In other words it takes over every environment it is put in. That is the way the kingdom of God through the believer is supposed to be working in our nations. That is why one of the greatest strategies of the church should be to strategically plant believers in all spheres of life that they might leaven the whole society with the seed of God’s righteousness and truth.
Such is the powerful vision of Jesus for his church. Indeed the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. But without the church arising to her roles and responsibility, this vision might never come to fruition.
It is my prayer that this message would ring a bell in the mind and spirit of believers worldwide, so much that the sleeping lion would arise all over the nations of the earth and make the kingdoms of this world to become the kingdom of our God and his Christ.
“Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” Revelation 11:15
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, CHURCH AND NATION
By Pastor Sunday Adelaja