Acts 2 marks the successful delivery of more than three thousand “baby” Christians! It was the miraculous, Spirit-fuelled birth of the church. What an adventure! A large gathering of people witnessed the incredible, supernatural power of the Holy Spirit and heard the life-changing Gospel message preached by Peter and the other apostles. Birthday: Pentecost.
In Israel's northern city of Caesarea Philippi, among the ruins of a worship centre dedicated to the Greek god Pan, a cave exists that was long believed by those who worshipped there to be the doorway into the netherworld. It was in the vicinity of this grotto, the alleged gateway to hell, that Jesus promised: "Upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it" (Matthew 16:18).
From Pentecost in the first century to the present day, Satan has attempted to destroy Christ's Church—yet it endures. From a small group of Jewish outsiders in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago, Christ built His Church to reach even the remotest parts of the world. Despite controversies, wars, and denominational splits, the Church continues to be the means through which God announces to a dark and dying world that light and life have come in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ.
For these reasons, and many more, we learn about and appreciate the body of Christ, the Church.
It's during Advent I’m reminded of the duality of waiting—remembering the Hebrews who waited eagerly for the birth of their Messiah, but also the waiting we endure for the second coming of Christ.
By the end of this message, we want you to discover why it’s important to have a personal mission, decide what types of things need to be part of your personal mission, and then take some time to prayerfully write a first draft of your own mission statement.
Studies in anatomy occupy the attention of every medical student in the world. Christians would do well to emulate students of medicine. Since we are members of His body, over which Christ serves as Head, understanding the body would give us a better understanding of the church—how it’s put together, how it functions, and how to respond when it malfunctions.
In this lesson, we will learn that encouragement is not the responsibility of a gifted few but the responsibility of the entire family of God. That means you.
Itʼs a bit dismaying to realize that you’re going to be spending eternity with people in the family of God you don’t even speak with on earth! Quite frankly, when someone has wounded us with his or her sharp quills, it’s natural to want to keep our distance. But we do need each other, needles and all!
Priorities govern the words of spiritual nourishment that come from the pulpit. It’s easy to see a church’s priorities when the ministry is just starting out, when the ink of the congregation’s ideals is still wet on the paper. But later on, when storms roll in, the priority list can get blown away in a gust of confusion.
The best snapshot of the situation in the first-century church is in John’s third letter. We will also see a reflection of modern-day churches as we examine these 14 verses.
At a time when we have every reason to pull together and work in harmony to get the job done, it seems as though some would much rather weaken the ranks and hinder our effectiveness. Today, let’s go back to some of the basics that our indulged era seems to have forgotten.
God cares about good leadership—the kind mentioned in Scripture, modelled by men and women who served their generations with integrity and refused to lag behind because of pressure, demands, or ingratitude. Strong and determined yet gracious and godly are the qualities we witness in those we will study in this lesson.