Lies we tell ourselves about the church:
As long as we do everything right, the church won’t have any problems.
Over the last weeks we’ve seen a bunch of lies, a bunch of pitfalls we could run into. As long as we don’t get busy, but instead bury ourselves in God’s Word, so we know and do what he says – well, God will bless us! As long as we remember that we don’t grow the church, that we simply proclaim what Jesus has done – well, God will bless us! As long as we remember that the church is all about what Jesus has done to rescue us from sin, not the physical pains of this world – well, God will bless us! As long as we remember that church isn’t about looking good, but about confessing how bad we’ve been and instead rejoicing in who God has made us to be – well, God will bless us! As long as we remember all that, well, we should have smooth sailing, right?
That’s another lie, and a dangerous one for us. The lie says, “As long as we do everything right, the church won’t have any problems.”
It’s tempting to think that the early church didn’t have any problems. We’ve heard about explosive growth. We’ve heard that yeah, there were a few problems, but overall the church was doing well!
The early Christian church had enemies. Acts tells us that the church was growing so fast, the Jewish leaders were jealous. There were a few dust-ups. The Jewish leaders, a group called the Sanhedrin, had already called in Peter and commanded him not to talk about Jesus any more. The apostles ignore the order and preach about Jesus anyway! Well, the Sanhedrin has all the leaders of the church arrested. That night, an angel came and released them. “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he told them, “and tell the people the full message of this new life.” And so the apostles go and tell people about Jesus! (more…)