We just heard the news of Rev. Billy Graham’s passing and most people who knew of him respected him. He showed the answer to all the problems that face us in this age – Jesus Christ. The people who came to his crusades didn’t need to be told their lives were a mess, they already knew it. What they needed was for someone to point the way out of their troubles and ‘Billy’ did just that. The answer to every problem was Jesus. He didn’t pull any punches and he acknowledged the problems but then pointed to the answer in Jesus.
As we in the U.S. are struggling with violence and school shootings maybe we should give Billy’s message another listen. But, what have we done? We have outlawed the 10 Commandments, prayer to God, and witnessing about Jesus from our schools. We have taught atheistic humanism in place of the Biblical principles we were founded on.
We have encouraged sexual immorality and abortion on demand and then we wonder why there is so much low self esteem and lack of respect for life among our children. Our families are not grounded on godly principles either, so they do not provide a firm foundation for the children. Instead of training them in Godly ways, they turn their children over to TV or the public schools to be trained in devilish principles.
The answer to our problem is not more government control, it is more Godly control! The psych ward, or the NRA, or the local gun shop, nor the Republicans, are the cause of the problem – bad parents are the cause of the problem! And there is one simple answer to that problem – turn to Jesus. Ask His forgiveness for your sins. Avail yourself of the help He alone can give – we call it grace. This answer has been working for over 2000 years. In fact I have included a video of the first church in Jerusalem after the crucifixion of Jesus. It was the church that James, the brother of Jesus, led. Mary, the mother of Jesus, attended there. They were under persecution from Rome and the religious Jews of their day but, they looked to Jesus the Messiah for strength.
Is there a reason so many 1st century archaeological reminders are being discovered in our day? I believe so; we are being brought back to the first church because it was the purest representation of what God intended. It was not controlled by selfish ambition or competition. It was composed of small fellowships that were bound together by the Holy Spirit. Is there anything wrong with a church being big? No, the church of Jerusalem was well over 3000 in number but, you never saw them brag about it, or build big buildings, or try to contain it under one man’s control. They thanked God for the growth and trusted the Holy Spirit to control it through the giftings He alone gives – not some seminary. They knew there was only one head of the Church, and that was Jesus.
The first Church had Jewish roots because they knew Jesus was the Root of Jesse –
“And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious.” – Isa. 11:10
They knew that Jesus died for the express purpose of making Jew and Gentile into ‘one new man’ and that God ‘predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will’. In other words there are no Jewish Christians and there are no Gentile Christians, there are just Christians grafted into the root of Jesse!
“For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.” – Eph. 2:14-16
They were all baptized in water for the remission of sins and in the Holy Spirit for the enduing of power from God Himself. They believed the message of the Holy Spirit given through Peter –
“Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” – Acts 2:38,39
I believe this is the Church that is forming. Will you be part of it?