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.
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.
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.
The Christian life is like a car. One needs at least two important things to drive it: a key and fuel. When an individual comes to faith in Christ, he or she is given the key—salvation. But the car of the Christian life doesn't get very far without fuel—the divine enablement of the Holy Spirit, what the Bible calls being “filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18)
Of the three persons in the godhead, including God the Father and God the Son, God the Holy Spirit is the least understood and the most mystifying. Let's dispel some of the myths and mystery by getting reacquainted with the Spirit of Power.
Even though we can never say that we have “arrived,” there are some checkpoints by which we are able to measure our maturity. They are set forth in the first major section of Peter's second letter. Beginning with faith (2 Peter 1:5) and ending with love (1:7), you will find eight qualities, which deserve our most diligent effort.
Out of the rich book of Psalms, we find an ancient hymn—a prayer, a passionate petition—in which David makes a series of requests and statements that reveal a level of maturity admired by all. For a few moments, read over and meditate on Psalm 26. Observe the composer's major theme as well as his unguarded admissions. See if you can discover for yourself the relevance of this melodic revelation.
Although most of the stories revolving around David's experiences are fairly familiar to us today, this one may not be. Because it holds within it several truths that illustrate the marks of maturity in a believer's life, it seems fitting that we blow the dust off this ancient account and consider its value in our lives today. As we think it through and relive its scenes, let's not miss its message to we who are pressing on to maturity.
As we enter adulthood in our faith, one of the most significant realizations to dawn upon us is a healthy understanding of and appreciation for the church. Most go through real battles in coming to this conclusion. In this message, we want to come to terms with the role of the church, its importance in our lives, some of the major reasons for its effectiveness, and why Christ established it in the first place.