We go through periods where we ignore or resent the church; then we go to the extreme of virtually worshipping the church. We want to come to terms with the role of the church, its importance in our lives, some major reasons for its effectiveness, and why Christ established it in the first place.
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.
If Jesus is doing what He said, why do we bash ourselves—His bride, His church? Why do we sing songs, write books, and preach sermons that attack His beloved and then think He is pleased that we do so? I know I wouldn’t be pleased if someone slandered my fiancé.
It would have been so nice to move to a new city and only need to consult my handy “How to Find a Church in Six Simple Steps” brochure in order to make my decision.
The church is made up of diverse volunteers with strong beliefs who come together and seek to bring about change. As such, it is an environment ripe for conflict. Wherever there are different perspectives there is potential conflict.
Join Chuck Swindoll in this special message, Encouraging Essentials for a Dynamic Ministry, and learn not only how to prevent erosion in your life but also how to deepen your intimacy with God in a way that will overflow to others.
In recent years, the average attention span has gotten shorter, and many pastors are truncating their sermons to accommodate their audience. But the church isn’t meant to be an audience…it’s a family!
I can think of few examples of resilience as incredible as the first-century church. Consider the circumstances in which that body of believers existed. Leaders and preachers were imprisoned daily. Members were threatened with violence or worse.
When it comes to caring for widows, it’s easy to be pulled by emotions into unwise decisions. That’s why Paul’s instructions are so helpful. And so are his practical reminders.
We live in a world where the line between right and wrong, truth and error is blurred. Add to that biblical illiteracy and an embrace of postmodernism and you have a culture based on secular thinking where self is exalted above all else.
The Bible is not something we worship, but the words are important. They’re to be preserved, guarded, accepted, and—most importantly—obeyed.