The Church

An Ordinary Church

acts 2

“And they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of the bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” –Acts 2:42-47

In Acts Chapter 2 we see the birth of the very first church at Pentecost. Now what I’m about to say about this church may catch some of us by surprise. Many of us have probably heard a few sermons on this passage and about what a powerful example this church is for how a church should look. This is certainly true. But in these same sermons we’ve probably also heard the preacher say something about what an extraordinary church this is.

Now certainly this church was birthed and came about through extraordinary means. This can’t be denied. But in my mind, this church isn’t any more extraordinary than any other church.

At the beginning of Acts Chapter 2 we see that the Spirit of God came upon the believers. We see in verse 14 of Chapter 2 how empowered by the Spirit of God Peter preached a powerful sermon. Peter preached Jesus. Peter preached Jesus crucified. Peter preached Jesus risen from the grave and ascended to the right hand of God the Father. Peter preached Jesus as Lord of all! Through the powerful preaching of Peter the Bible tells us that 3,000 folks were saved. So, certainly this was an extraordinary event. I’ve never preached a sermon in which 3,000 folks got saved. And not many preachers can say that they have!

But this being said, aren’t all churches pretty extraordinary? All churches are made up of sinners who have had the scales removed from their eyes and have seen clearly who Christ is, and have chosen to follow him. This is an amazing thing. It’s not natural. Salvation is all a work of God. This is true whether we are talking about 3,000 people or 30, or even 3.

So, even though this event was powerful. Even though we can say this was an extraordinary event…this first church was no more extraordinary than any other church. This first church was no more extraordinary than my church or yours.

And do you know why I can say that? Because the same Spirit that empowered Peter to preach on this day, is the same Spirit that empowers men today to preach. The same Jesus that Peter preached in Acts chapter 2 is the same Jesus that faithful preachers today preach. And the same Spirit at work through this Church that we read about working so powerfully in and through this church, is the same Spirit that will work through our own churches, IF we will faithfully preach this Jesus and be obedient to His Word.

So, yes. This church came about through extraordinary means. It was a wonderful event. But, in a lot of ways this church was simply an ordinary Church. The Church we see in Acts 2:42-47 was not some unreachable standard for us as the modern church to attain. The Church in Acts 2:42-47 was God’s ideal local church, and what God desires every local church to look like.

May it be so…

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The Church: The Ultimate Trophy Wife

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Yesterday, I posted about how God has made us alive, and seated us with Christ in the heavenly places(Ephesians 2:6). You can read that post here. Today we are going to be looking at why God has done that.

Ephesians 2:7 tells us why we have been made alive and seated in the heavenly places with Christ.

 
So that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus…”
 
We as Christians are examples of the grace of God. In us, the redeemed people of God, the immeasurable riches of God’s grace will be on full display. Now, even now, we are certainly a picture of God’s grace. Seeing our sin, seeing where we’ve come from, knowing who we used to be, and knowing that in Christ we’ve been made new…knowing that in Christ, we’ve been given new life…even now, we are a picture of his grace…
 
But, in the coming ages, once things are indeed made as they should be…once Christ makes all things right, we as Christians, we as the Church, we as the bride of Christ will be proof positive of the immeasurable grace of God.
 
I know the term trophy wife has a very negative connotation, but I think in eternity, when all things are redeemed, even this term can be redeemed, and we as the church will be the ultimate trophy wife. We will be a shining example of the kindness and the grace of God. The heavenly host will be dazzled by our beauty…
 
But, here’s the kicker. As beautiful as we will be…even as beautiful as we are now in the eyes of God the Father(because when he sees us, he sees Christ)…our beauty doesn’t come from ourselves…And because of this fact, we won’t be the ones receiving the praise. Our beauty comes from Christ. Because our beauty comes solely from Christ, God will be the one receiving the praise and God will be receiving the glory. 
 
So, it is through the church, the Bride of Christ, that God has chosen to put the immeasurable riches of his grace on display. Now in part, one day in full. And all of this comes through Christ. All of this is grace…
 
Tomorrow we shall explore why this is all a work of grace, and why we can’t take credit for what God is doing in and through us, his Church.

Reformed Baptist?

Recently I mentioned a book that I have been reading, “A Reformed Baptist Manifesto”, which inspired the question by some, “What is a Reformed Baptist?” Below is my response in an attempt to sum it up very briefly.

In an effort to try to be brief, a “Reformed Baptist” is basically someone who holds to the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. Someone who is reformed in their theology generally identifies with the early reformers of the Church, such as, Luther, Calvin, Knox, etc. Many people debate whether or not someone can be both Reformed and Baptist, as there are significant differences in the theology of the two groups, such as mode of Baptism, subjects of Baptism, and what exactly Baptism symbolizes, etc.

I personally think the debate on whether or not someone can be both Reformed and Baptist is silly, and frankly don’t think it matters.

I more than likely fall into the category, as I do identify with the Reformers. They were right on so many levels. The Church was in dire need of being reformed. They took the church back to Biblical Christianity, a belief in the sovereignty of God, Salvation by grace alone through faith alone, and the authority of the Bible…

I also believe though many of the reformers got it wrong, in relation to the issue of baptism. I believe that historically the Baptists have been right in that area. As well as who exactly the New Covenant is for. Again though, I think this is an issue that has been made a much bigger deal than it should be, and has caused too much division in the church. That is why I am glad to be in a church (Crossmark Church) now that allows for the difference of opinion on which stance on baptism and the New Covenant is correct. We have strong opinions, but ultimately, this isn’t an issue that determines whether or not one is a Christian, and should not divide.

By the way, the book I’m reading, is basically a defense of the Reformed Baptist position, in contrast to the other doctrinal stances within the church. For those of you who are interested, the book again is called, “A Reformed Baptist Manifesto” by Samuel Waldron and Richard C. Barcellos.

Blessings…