September 29, 2016
What is the Church?
The church is the “Called-Out Body.” The word church is used in two ways. "Church" can be used in reference to all Christians, or a specific congregation. Jesus uses "church" in both ways: in Matt. 16:18, Jesus promises to build His church, speaking of Christians everywhere who would respond to the gospel call. In Matt. 18:17, Jesus uses the word "church" regarding Christians in a local congregation.
There are several names in the Bible that identify the church. Here are some: My (Christ's) church (Matt. 16:18), church of the Lord, church of God (Acts 20:28; 1 Cor. 1:2), church of Christ (Rom. 16:16 ), the body, the church (Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:22-23 ; 5:23 ; 1 Th. 1:1), household [house] of God, church of the living God (Eph. 2:19; 1 Tim. 3:15; cf. Heb. 10:21), church of the Firstborn (Heb. 12:23), God's field, God's building (1 Cor. 3:9), the flock (1 Pet. 5:3; Acts 20:28). We are commanded to "do all in the name of the Lord Jesus," so it makes perfect sense believers would use a Biblical name for the church.
On Pentecost, Peter preached the gospel and people asked Peter what they should do in response to his message. He told them to repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:38). Those who obeyed the gospel received the gift of the Holy Spirit; they were saved, and added to the church by the Lord (Acts 2:38, 40-41, 47). We are told in 1 Cor. 12:13 that they were baptized into the body of Christ by the Spirit.
The Church is God's Kingdom. The word kingdom signifies the domain of the King. God rules over the church; therefore, it is His kingdom. We must be born again to see the kingdom of God (Jn. 3:3). Jesus said, "'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God'" (Jn. 3:5). We are born of water when we are baptized, and born of the Spirit when we are added to the church; we become a new creature in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). Since we believed the good news about the kingdom of God and were baptized (Acts 8:12), we are members of God's kingdom!
September 29, 2016
In Matthew 16:13-23, Peter identified Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God. When Jesus then said He would suffer, die and be resurrected, Peter was alarmed, and told Jesus this would never happen. His vision of the future was based on the only past and present world system he knew.
Many citizens of the U.S.A. want our country’s future to look like our past. That’s their vision. But the past never returns. God’s Word does not point to a past time and place as the ideal. Rather, it points to what Jesus has done in the past as the peace we can have in the present, and the hope He provides for our future.
Israel was crushed and made captives by Assyria in 722 B.C., and Judah was crushed and made captives by Babylonia in 586 B.C. Disillusioned and feeling hopeless and directionless, God spoke to them in Jeremiah 29:4-7: This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
Notice three things. First .........
September 29, 2016
The Touch of Trust
The word “trust” when used in the context of a verb is defined as, to rely on somebody or something. The second definition of trust caught my attention. It stated: to confidently allow somebody to do something. The principle of both definitions is the same. To rely on someone or to allow somebody to act on your behalf leads one to believe that trust is involved.
The gospel of Mark 5:23 tells us of two individuals who had that kind of trust. Jairus, a ruler in the synagogue, had a daughter that was deathly ill. He pled with Jesus and said, “Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.”
Picture Jesus surrounded by a pressing crowd. Each person surrounding him had a need. I would imagine some were simply curious, hoping to see a miracle like the ones they had previously seen or heard about. In order to capture our attention we are told that like Jairus, some in the crowd had urgent pressing needs.
She was desperate. She had used all her resources, both physical and financial. In spite of all her efforts, she was getting worse. She could not live like this forever and knew that her life was slowly ebbing away as she had bled for 12 years.
Hebrew law considered her unclean. She and everything she touched or that touched her was considered unclean. Unclean…such a tainted, horrible, lonely, sentence to live with. To go out in public was a risk. If someone recognized her, she could be held liable for breaking the law. She was out of options.
She had heard about Jesus and his miraculous ability to heal. So she edged into the crowd surrounding Jesus. She reached out and ......