Bible study

He Dwells Among Us

God lives by His Spirit in the midst of His church, and His people become His dwelling place. God adds us like living stones to the building (1 Peter 2:4-6). Lifting Christ before the people, calling them to worship, and inviting them to enthrone Chirst become our goals.

     Even in the midst of corruption, Christ made it His practice to go to church because He could still meet God in His temple. We should not exclude ourselves from church because unholy people go there. People don't make the church holy; the Lord's presence makes it holy. Whether the preacher preaches well or the singers sing on key, God is still God - present with His people, the church, as they assemble each Sabbath.

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Climate Change

Laodicea is not just a concept or a theological idea. It's real, and we are the church of Laodicea. We can't pick the era into which we are born any more than we can pick which country or family we're born into. We have no say in that. For reasons that God alone knows, we've been chosen to live and minister and be disciples of Christ in Laodicea - and this requires patient endurance on our part.

     Maybe God wants to show what it looks like for people to wake up and be on fire in a lukewarm environment. There is a lot of talk about climate change in the global environment; but right now, we ought to be praying for a climate change in the church.

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It's a Done Deal

In Hebrew culture the most awesome figure is the judge. And then there is the goel. He is the one who redeems the property that has been lost. Sometimes by unfortunate circumstance, or if the heirs act foolishly, the property is lost. The goel--a close relative--can take up the case of the unfortunate family. The word goel came to mean "to redeem" or "the redeemer." It is rendered in the King James Version as "kinsman", "redeemer", and "avenger". 

Jesus is the strong Deliverer, the Kinsman-Redeemer. Jesus is our Elder Brother, the nearest of kin. He is the Guarantor. He is our Sufficiency, able to pull it off, take care of business. It's a done deal.

But the surprise is that the Creator makes the church His primary instrument. Enfeebled as it may be! It becomes our business to unmask Satan, disrobe him, call him out for what he is. God chooses human beings, individuals, to be witnesses to the good news that the goel brings justice. . . . Judgment is good news; the people of God preach it and summon the world to prepare for that great day.

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Hearts Humbled in Prayer

Though imbued with the Spirit, the apostolic church is not an example of purity and perfection--the ideal that future Christian generations should strive to reproduce. It is easy to romanticize the early church and think of this period as all flowers and sunshine--a period of peace, harmony, and impeccable piety. 

This perception is misleading, and Acts sets the record straight. We find that the early believers, including the apostles, were entangled with misconceptions, personal conflicts, prejudice, and other human difficulties. They were not infallible, and not all of their actions were right or proved to be a blessing for the church.

What they were able to accomplish in such a short period of time, however, is a perpetual testimony of how powerfully God can work when men and women, despite their limitations and failures, humble their hearts in prayer. . . We should view Acts, therefore, not so much as the story of the apostles' missionary successes but rather as the story of God's mighty interventions through them in planting once and for all His saving flag in the post-Resurrection world, reclaiming humanity for Himself.

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