Acts 2:46-47 - Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.- Going to church in those days must have been very different than today. I wonder if it was even called church (which simply means an assembly, or the called together ones) yet. Remember these were not just early Christian churches, but the first ones. There may have been copies of the old testament around, but the complete Bible as we know it had not been finished yet and there were very few Christian “professionals” then. We’re told they met everyday, not just on Sunday morning as we do today. There were no specialized church buildings with specialized furnishings, but we’re told the people met in the temple courts and their homes and shared meals (they had what we call fellowship today) with glad and sincere hearts. We often think that a church is our idea, but it is God working through us that builds a church and saves people, and we must make sure that we keep his word there or it will be useless in a Christian sense. Though the first Christians didn’t have some of the things we do, it sounds like they had the one thing that’s important, that is faith in Jesus Christ. They believed he alone could save them from their sins. Something we all need to remember no matter what church we go to. What About Jesus?
Isaiah 30:10 -11 – They say to the seers, “See no more visions!” and to the prophets, “Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. Leave this way get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!” The old testament prophet (what we would call a preacher) Isaiah is talking about the Israelites of his day here. If this scripture wasn’t so tragic I think it would be funny. Here were a bunch of people who should have known better, saying they wanted to hear pleasant things and made up stuff instead of God’s word. They didn’t know it at the time, but they were setting themselves up for God’s punishment for revolting against him. The ancient nation of Israel was destroyed and taken into captivity by the nation of Babylon (the historic and Biblically symbolic enemy of God). Even as captives of Babylon the Lord was with the Israelites, and after about 70 years he restored their kingdom. People wanting to hear things reminds me of 2Timothy 4:3 – (For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,) Today there are many people that like to tell us what things are about, directly or indirectly. They’ll give us their personal ideas or the world’s theories, anything except God’s word because it’s not politically correct, to divisive, or they simply regard the word as out of date or untrue etc. They can’t tell us about our Savior Jesus Christ for whatever reason. Only God can do that. We need to be on our guard so we don’t fall into the same trap the Israelites that Isaiah is talking about here did. What About Jesus?
Matthew 24:40 – 41, Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Christ doesn’t just pick people at random, decide he doesn’t like them and leave them behind, so who are those who will be left? They (those who will not enter God’s kingdom) are simply the ones who do not believe that Christ is the way the truth and the life (John 14:6). One of the things this scripture shows us is that there can be people who don’t believe right next to those that do, so we may not know who is standing next to us. As Christians we need to tell those who are not about the gospel (good news). We can’t enter God’s kingdom by holding on to someone else’s shirttails or because of something we have done, we can only come to Christ for that, and he makes this easy for anyone to do. All we have to do is reach out and take his free gift of eternal salvation (Revelation 22:17-The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life). His offer is available to everyone and everyone needs it. What About Jesus?
1 Samuel 16:7 – But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Proverbs 3:5 – Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Romans 10:9 – If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. ———————————————————————————————————————————————————– As the above Bible verses (and there are many others) tell us, God wants us to have him in our hearts and not just go through the motions with him. If we don’t have God in our hearts first everything else we do for him is useless. This can be difficult when we have never seen him and are told that he lived among us over two thousand years ago. Christ said in John 20:29 - Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” – This is where faith comes in. Jesus knew there would be people who wouldn’t see him but would believe his words, and he calls these people blessed. This can be thought of as the reason Christ’s church exists all over the world. The church contains people who have obviously never seen Christ but still believe in him and accept him as their only Savior. We should all accept Christ as the our Savior because he is the only way we can be reconciled to God and have all our sins forgiven no matter what they are. Having him in our hearts permits us to do this. What About Jesus?
Romans 1:17 (New International Version) For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed-a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith. The Bible tells us that God is faithful to us and we must be faithful to him if we want to please him (Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God,) and also gives us the definition of that faith at Hebrews 11:1 (Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.) We don’t need a high IQ or to be someone special to have faith in God, and a small simple faith is enough to please him. Getting this across to people was one of the problems the Apostle Paul had as he traveled around telling people that Jesus Christ was their Savior (Acts 15:5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.”.) The Pharisees were the dominant and very strict in matters of the law Jewish denomination during Paul’s time, and he encountered them almost everywhere he went. The Pharisees rejected Christ and were teaching people that they had to obey the old testament law in order to be saved. It was unbelievable to them that Christ had fulfilled the law for everyone, and faith in him was now all that was needed. We can try to obey the old testament law all we want but it will do us no good without faith in Christ (Romans 3:28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.) What About Jesus? Footnote – I find it interesting that the NIV translation of the Bible uses the word faith (or a form of it such as faithful) about 450 times, and sometimes uses the word “obedient” for the word “faithful.”
Psalm 55:1-3 Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught at the voice of the enemy, at the stares of the wicked; for they bring down suffering upon me and revile me in their anger. - For those who don’t know, Morse code was invented in the 1800′s and though it has undergone a few changes, the basic method is still used today because of its simplicity, effectiveness and the variety of ways it can be used. It is probably best known for the international distress call s.o.s. Sending a distress call to God is what King David (from the famous David and Goliath and the father of Solomon) was doing when he wrote the above scripture. David was having some problems and thought that God was ignoring him. We all have times exactly like David did, but in his word God promises to always be with us and he knows what he is doing no matter what we think. And we don’t have to use any code for him to be available to us and he hears us in any language, and he wants to hear that we know his son Jesus and we accept Jesus as our only ticket to salvation. God sent his only son to be the sacrifice for our sin because he loves us (John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life ) and he will accept nothing else. We all need to remember this even when we have times like David did. What About Jesus?
Mark 2:17 … Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” – Many of us have been in a doctor’s waiting room and after a while the receptionist calls our name and says “the doctor will see you now.” In Mark 2:17 Jesus likens himself to a doctor who can heal sinners, and he doesn’t need a waiting room to do it. He came for everyone, and Jesus spent time with beggars, tax collectors, the lame and blind, the poor etc. because some of these “sick people” more easily understood and believed his message that all people were sinners and needed him as their only Savior from sin. Most of the leaders of the organized religion of his day opposed Jesus because they were teaching that works got a person to Heaven, and that salvation was only for certain people, things that Christ denied. He taught that he alone was mankind’s only Savior from sin, not our works, and that salvation was available to everyone through God’s grace and mercy. All of us need to ask God for forgiveness if we start to think that our works, instead of his grace and our faith in Christ, will get us into Heaven. The Bible tells us what our works are like in Isaiah 64:6 - All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. Salvation is a free gift from God available to us all only through his grace and mercy. Jesus Christ is our only Savior from sin, and while good works are necessary to serve God, they will not get us into Heaven. What About Jesus?