With the conversion of Cornelius the dynamic of first century evangelism changed. No longer was the good news of Jesus directed only to Jews, but Gentiles were also taught. The result was that “a great number who believed turned to the Lord” (Acts 11:19 NET).
The centre of this explosion of new followers of Jesus was in Antioch. Antioch was the third largest city of the Roman Empire at this time, with a population of over 500,000 people. Included in this number was a large number of Jews – it has been estimated by some that around 1/7 of the population was Jewish. Continue reading “Being a Christian”
It is impossible to do the will of God without knowing the will of God. Salvation comes by knowledge of how to be forgiven of sin. “You will make his people know that they will be saved. They will be saved by having their sins forgiven” Luke 1.77 ICB. God’s grace and peace come to us and are multiplied for us “through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” 2 Peter 1.2.
Salvation does not happen automatically, like the sun rising and setting. So we must put ourselves to the task of learning what salvation is all about. The gospel must be learned, Colossians 1.7. We must “be wise by understanding what the Lord’s will is” Ephesians 5.17.
We ought to ask such questions as these: Continue reading “Salvation comes by knowledge”
The words, God “brought them to the man to see what he would name them,” (Genesis 2:19) draws our attention to something beyond the truth that God sees everything. Here is a statement of focus and deliberate study. God wanted to see how Adam would reason.
Assigning names is no menial assignment. The labels we create as well as how narrowly or broadly we use those terms shape human perspectives for better or for worse. Continue reading “God watched as humanity tackled its first job – identification”
Faith is the hallmark of God’s system of salvation. We tend to see everything through our own lens, but it’s all about God.
First, faith establishes the credibility of the Godhead. It isn’t simply something we must do, it’s the very essence of the Lord. Continue reading “Why faith is indispensable”
After all the yelling, cursing, cheering and complaining about the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriages, what are we left with? Like anything else, what remains is the settling of a new reality. We all need to find our way in a changed world.
The sun has arisen on the same places and people under the same heaven. To the Lord, nothing has changed. His truth and will, established before the beginning of time, are still set in eternal concrete (Psalm 119:89). Continue reading “Since same-sex marriage has passed, what now?”
“For every kind of animal, bird, reptile, and sea creature is subdued and has been subdued by humankind. But no human being can subdue the tongue; it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse people made in God’s image. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. These things should not be so, my brothers and sisters. A spring does not pour out fresh water and bitter water from the same opening, does it? Can a fig tree produce olives, my brothers and sisters, or a vine produce figs? Neither can a salt water spring produce fresh water” (James 3:7-12 NET).
Of all the wild animals in the world, the one that is the most difficult to tame and control is…our tongue! Not that our tongue is really a wild animal, but every animal we can think of we have learned in some way to subdue and control. Continue reading “Watch what you say!”
It seems that throughout the history of mankind, people have developed words to distinguish groups of people. The Greeks referred to all those who were not Greek as barbarians. In Rome you were either a citizen or a non-citizen. The Jews called all those who were not Jews by the term “Gentiles.” It would seem the purpose of creating such distinctions was to elevate your own group and put down those who you considered less than your group. Even today we can find this type of terminology in places. Continue reading “No more “us” and “them””
The people behind my email service started a series of posts recently, explaining how they work. The following sentence concluded today’s post, written by one of their head guys.
When you call yourself FastMail, you’re really signalling one of your core features in the name, and that means we have to always think about it in everything we do.
Now, put “Christian” in the place of “FastMail,” and see what that statement says about those of us who follow the Way. Continue reading “He’s core, so we think about him in everything we do”
To the one who loves us and has set us free from our sins at the cost of his own blood and has appointed us as a kingdom, as priests serving his God and Father – to him be the glory and the power for ever and ever! Amen. (Revelation 1:5-6 NET)
As John’s great revelation begins to unfold in pictures made out of words, he wrote a few things at the beginning that we would to well to take note of. There are such things as the time frame of his revelation (“what must happen very soon” (1:1); “the time is near” (1:3) – repeated twice more in the final chapter) and that this prophecy was meant to be understood (“blessed are those who hear and obey the things written in it” (1:3)). Note that the “what must happen very soon” was in relation to the time it was written – it was not written about the 21st century! Continue reading “A Kingdom of Priests”
The names “Paul” and “Barnabas” seemed to go hand in hand during the early years of Christianity. It was Barnabas who took time to find out about Saul, the former persecutor of Christians, when he was trying to join the Christians in Jerusalem (Acts 9:26-27). Later, when he saw such a great opportunity in Antioch, he went to Tarsus to find Saul.
For the next year they worked together and “taught a significant number of people” (Acts 11:26 NET). They became part of the group of “prophets and teachers in the church at Antioch” (Acts 13:1). The Holy Spirit told this group to “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them” (Acts 13:2). Barnabas and Saul sailed to Cyprus and later went into the Roman province of Asia proclaiming the good news of Jesus, before returning to Antioch. Continue reading “When Christians disagree”