TODAY'S WORD FOR Monday, June 15, 2020:
A building or place for religious worship; the fellowship of a whole community of believers; the whole body of Christian believers.
They continued steadfastly in the Apostles doctrine and fellowship.
KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE:
The word “Church”’ was first used when Christ told Peter that He would build His church upon him. Matthew 16:18. When Jesus used the word “church’ He was referring to all the people who believed in Him, not a building. Just before Jesus ascended into heaven, He commissioned His disciples to be His witnesses and commanded them to add to the body of believers. Jesus did not say to build churches.
Today we use the word “church” not only for believers but also, to identify a building where people meet to worship. It does not matter to God how big or how ornate a church is that we worship in. What matters to God is the people inside the church and what is being taught in the church and the sincerity of faith and worship of those in the church.
It was on the day of Pentecost that Peter and the disciples of Jesus received the Holy Spirit and began to carry out the commandment of Jesus to preach Christ’s message of salvation. The result that day is that the number of believers grew from 120 to 3,000. The believers were excited about having received the gift of the Holy Spirit in their life and to be able to spread the gospel message.
The Christians of the early church after the death and resurrection of Jesus were under the continual threat of persecution, but that did not deter them from faithfully continuing to gather together to pray and teach others about Jesus. As a result the Lord added daily to their numbers and the early church continued to grow. The new believers listened to Peter and the disciples and began to live like Jesus had taught the apostles and joined them in spreading the good news of the gospel.
This excitement and sincere devotion among the believers does not prevail in many of our churches today. Many people today, outside of the church, think church people are hypocrites. In ancient times the Greek word “hupokrites” referred to actors who displayed changes of emotion by changing the masks they held against their face. Their real self was hidden by the mask.
Many church people today fall into this category. They faithfully go to church and give the appearance of a sincere believer. Often the next day when they go to their work place they take off their mask and reveal who they really are.
These people cannot give up their worldly desires and submit to the will of God. They do not have a personal relationship with Jesus. They say they do but their actions tell the real story.
The saying, “actions speak louder than words” is so true. The way we live speaks to the reality of our salvation in Jesus. If we are really repentant of our sins, we as believers will live in obedience to His commandments and honor Him in all that we do.
What is needed is not beautiful church buildings but groups of united Christians who are alive with the anticipation of meeting God and who have an earnest desire to bring others to the Lord.
We are all facing the problems of the virus today. God is not looking for churches to be filled. He is looking for SMALL GROUPS to meet together and worship him. It can be on line, by video or in a park.
Our memory verse for this week is found in John 3:3 AMP.
Jesus answered him, I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless a person is born again, he cannot ever see and experience the kingdom of God.
Keep me faithful in worshipping You every day and not just in church. Speak to my heart daily as I worship You so that I may hear Your voice and serve You as You can use me.
These Family Devotional thoughts are written by Dr. Ken Phillips, Executive Director of America's Hunger
Solution, and his wife Dottie. Ken has had ministry positions
with The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, World Vision, Youth For Christ, World Opportunities International,
and World Bible Society. He also has consulted for more than 30 Christian ministries in management and stewardship
development. They have published a book called No Problems Only Situations that discusses the journey of their family.
Ken and Dottie have been married for 60 years, and have 6 children, 20 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren. Their
second book, TODAY'S WORD, includes 365 daily
devotionals and is now available for only $10.
Ken & Dottie Phillips
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