The tyranny of the urgent demands our time and forces us to put off the truly important. We need to stop and reconsider what's important. When we do, we'll discover that we're missing the essential ingredient we were made for: worship.
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 a church is contagious, the word quickly travels. Churches like this have four distinctive qualities, as Paul listed in 2 Timothy.
By examining the first-century church we can find some insightful guidelines for our church in the 21st century.
We are surrounded by churches. Is it any wonder that so much confusion exists regarding the Church? Our idea of church needs renewal, so let's start at the beginning.
Chuck Swindoll explains how a healthy ministry focuses on the person of Jesus Christ—admonishing, teaching, preaching, and warning all people to walk in the truth and mature in their relationship with the Lord.
Matthew 28:16–20 brings us into the intimate final moments between Jesus and His faithful disciples, His closest followers, His best friends as He passes on the baton of spiritual power...not political power.
The power of Jesus' love transformed John's life. When John came to the end of his life, the major theme of his letter to the church was loving one another.
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)