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.
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.
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.
Erosion is slow, silent, and subtle. That’s why compromise can so quickly lead to erosion—it isn’t always bad, but when we compromise on God’s Word erosion beings to take place. And that leads to destruction.
It’s one thing to be apathetic towards people. We’re often indifferent to politics and social justice—trusting others to take care and do what’s right. As serious as apathy is, apathy towards God is even more critical. When we open our hearts to God He replaces apathy with passion... and that’s when our lives are changed.
Life isn’t black and white—there’s a lot of grey. There are times to compromise, and times to stand firm. Where we go wrong is when we compromise our theology to accommodate our lifestyle.
These contradicting terms are often humorous—like “pretty ugly” and “lightweight tank.” However, there is nothing funny about a dead church. Is your faith alive and passionate or is it lifeless and dull?
For millennia, average Christians as well as learned theologians have strained more than one brain cell to try to understand the incomprehensible mystery surrounding the conception and birth of our Saviour. We'll not lose ourselves in the unsolvable riddle that is the conception of God the Son. Rather, we'll lose ourselves in the wonder that is God the Holy Spirit's most significant mission.
All of us who follow Christ have sensed God's working, even if we couldn't put our finger on exactly what He was doing. But how do we recognize it? This spiritual sense comes from the Holy Spirit who indwells every believer and who gives believers inner promptings to participate in God's activities in their lives.