Higgs boson hasn’t proven we don’t need God to create the universe. It merely posits another explanation for a cosmos created by the laws of physics. Yet another self defeating logic in the avoidance of God as God. When will the boot of naturalism be lifted from the neck of science ?
This video of Mitch Fewell’s version of What Child Is This is now one of my favorites. It has just the right tempo, and the accapella is excellent. Does anyone have a version that they think is worth listening to?
The Church was born about 50 days after Jesus was crucified and resurrected from the dead. Witness the times in which the new Church came to be: The ruling empire was an Imperial Roman one. Gross idolatry was rampant in regions like Corinth, and Jerusalem had rejected Jesus as the Messiah. Read the Gospels and it’s clear what kind of opposition the first followers of Jesus had to face.
Fast forward to the present time. The world hasn’t changed much. Israel continues to reject Jesus, and our western culture lives in a pluralistic, secular, post-Christian paganism. We are in the “perilous times” of which the Apostle Paul warned.
Nevertheless, Jesus gave clear instructions to the disciples before his ascension:
“ and (He)said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:46-47 ESV)
Now this wasn’t some scheme that just got dreamed up. This wasn’t a movement that some guru started in his basement. Jesus stated that these things about Him were written before in the Scriptures. After showing his physical body and reassuring the sceptical disciples that it was not a ghost they were seeing in front of them, he ‘opened their minds'( Luke 24:45) to understand the Scriptures.
With open minds, they had ability to understand and put together what Jesus had been saying while he was with them, and the mandate of the Gospel could be given. They were witnesses of Jesus’ death and resurrection. The message of these things could now be credibly proclaimed among the nations.
They were told to proclaim “repentance and faith” in Jesus because He died and was risen again for sinners. That was the core and foundational truth of the Gospel. Here’s how many years later, the Apostle Paul would prove in his writing that this message had not changed one iota:
“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…” (1 Corinthians 15:1-11 ESV)
Has the modern Church forgotten the mandate? Has the Church lost it’s clear direction in over 2000 years? Many churches in the evangelical movement have lost sight of it. How?
Many “gospels” have become commonplace. There are social gospels and works gospels, prosperity gospels, political gospels, and myriad false teachings about Jesus and his work. These says Paul are not really “good news” at all. That Christ has come and died for sinners, rising from death to give eternal life is the Good News. That’s the message we are to herald.
Now what do we do when we’ve lost our moorings in this essential matter?
Back to the Gospel! Repentance and faith must begin with us. We need to remember not only that Jesus’ resurrection was not only a mere fact of history, but a real death and real supernatural conquering of death. Jesus actually walked in the dirt in Jerusalem, and bled on the wooden cross. His body was prepared for a burial, and his body came out of the tomb. Why? Because God’s Word was fulfilled!
Next, when we have repented of our sins and trusted in this living Christ, we need to find ourselves among other saints. There is no Lone Ranger Christianity. The Church is a BODY, with MANY members and Christ as the HEAD. If we are to proclaim our head, we must be in the body.
I suggest that unless we are first proclaiming our Lord in the remembrance of his body and blood in the church gathering, we should not even be speaking of Him. Once again, Paul prefaces his corrections in his letter to Corinth by stating “when you come together” 1 Cor. 11:20.
What are we doing in this togetherness? Among other things, we are “proclaiming the Lord’s death until He comes” when we eat the bread and drink of the Cup of the Lord in communion.
There are the same elements again. There is a proclamation and it concerns the death of Jesus.
Unlike the first Christians, we do not have to wait for power from above. We already have it in our possession. Or better yet: The power of the Spirit has US!
So with that in mind, let us turn from frivolous issues and fixate our eyes of faith on Jesus, and PROCLAIM HIM.
It sounds almost too obvious to say, but Jesus had to die for us. That is, whatever else Jesus came to do, his raison d’etre, his purpose ultimately was to willingly die for the sins of the world.
Now why do I make this point? If we take the narrative in John’s Gospel account we see that the high point of all his miracles was the raising up of Lazarus from the dead. Mention is made 3 times about Lazarus whom Jesus raised. The Jewish leaders even wanted to kill Lazarus because on his account many people were following Jesus.
Now Jesus began to speak of his own death. But on this account the people did not believe him. Even though they had seen so many miracles, they could not believe that Jesus would have to die. Even though Jesus had spoken to Lazarus in the grace to come out of it, and done other powerful signs, unless Jesus died for sins, there would be no forgiveness. It was not just the miracles and signs that proved Jesus was the Messiah and Savior. Jesus had to die. He had to submit to the same death that held Lazarus in order to destroy the power of death.
Couldn’t Jesus have simply commanded all to rise up from their tombs? Couldn’t Jesus simply have pronounced all sins forgiven by a spoken word? A work of power?
No. Not merely. It is on the Cross that the forgiveness of sins was accomplished. It is there that the blood of Jesus cleansed sinners from all unrighteousness. It is at the Cross where Word, power and blood shed came together and where God joined us to Christ.
I came across a list of grievences that affect the average pizza driver. Most of us probably wouldn’t be able to do such a job, because it honestly seems thankless.
What caught my attention though was Thing # 26 A religious tract instead of the tip.
Tipping the waiter/waitress, the delivery man, etc. is one way we can show proper attitude towards those who serve us, and who make a living doing it. Christians have a seriously bad reputation for being poor tippers with money, but using Gospel tracts to tip.
Nothing is wrong with using Gospel tracts, but leaving a generous monetary tip along with it keeps a good reputation for those who bring the Gospel.
So next time you order in for pizza, or whatever, give the Good News, and give a good tip!
I’ve had a hard time finding what I would consider a well-rounded New Testament Church.
There are a great many churches of course, and once I’ve arrived at the remainder of ‘viable’ churches that I would consider within the pale of biblical Christian orthodoxy, that is, once I’ve eliminated the vast majority of substantially unbiblical , errant Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Liberal Protestant, and a variety of others, I arrive at my small selection of churches.
Nevertheless, even these groups have some cringe factor that makes me wish I could design my own church, and worship within that community of believers of like-minded convictions.
I am basically convinced that the Baptist model of church is closest to the biblical pattern. I don’t see the elaborate forms of liturgy outlined in the New Testament. I’m not a paedobaptist, so I wouldn’t find that practice appropriate.
Then you have the “low church”type of service. Low on liturgy and symbol, and formality. The Baptist worship is simple, and unadorned. The preaching of the Word is the highlight of a Baptist service.
In my city most of the more biblically inclined churches fall under a charismatic model of worship. I wouldn’t attend such a church because of the errors of such theology.
The Baptists are not monolithic either. You have liberal and conservative. Then there’s the Independent Fundamental Baptist-and that further divides into Calvinistic or Arminian. Baptist in substance, but more recent in lineage is the so-called “Bible Church”. Again, not monolithic, but generally this type grew out of the Dispensational movement.
The church I currently attend is such a church. My misgivings about it are mainly that it’s contemporary in its approach to ministry. It hosted the Billy Graham Crusade in our city years ago. And some of the other associations include things like Promise Keepers. I believe the word to describe what I attend is New Evangelicalat least to some degree.
Historically, New Evangelicalism was opposed by The Fundamentalists. But not the Fundamentalists as we know them today. Today’s fundamentalism is a caricature of its historic principles. The type of fundamentalism we see today is largely isolationist, legalistic, and shallow. There are all kinds of independent Baptists, practicing fundamentalism, and frankly they are no alternative to the man-centered new Evangelical movement.
The church I consider closest to my vision of church doctrine and practice is saddled with such a fundamentalist character. It has a bent to a type of King James Onlyism, which to me says a lot about what they think in other areas. It’s not the way to go.
SO for the time being, I’m unable to find an ideally biblical church that stays far enough away from contemporary compromise so as to be contending for the whole truth of God’s word. Yet, not so separated as to be functionally isolated.
Anybody else in this boat? Would like others to share their church experience in light of the New Testament model of church.