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Answers to life's questions, meaning of life, and Christian faith

What Is the Church?

One of the keys to spiritual growth is to become part of a local church. In its biblical form, the church should provide biblically-sound teaching, genuine worship, an atmosphere in which Christians are able to use their God-given gifts and abilities, and spiritual leadership that will help keep . . . Read more ›
One night several years ago, hurricane-force winds battered an American town. In the morning, people emerged from their homes and shelters to assess the damage. The power of the storm quickly became apparent to one investigator, who made an amazing discovery. Imbedded in a telephone pole, he found a . . . Read more ›
In this new section of our Foundations for Living studies, we will look at the role, purpose, and function of the church today. It is vitally important to understand how the church was established. Man did not initiate the beginning of the church; Christ did. In fact, it is the only organization . . . Read more ›
At spiritual rebirth, we are made a part of this wonderful gathering of believers that Jesus Himself established, purchased, leads, and protects. Even more, God has a purpose for each of us individually in this great plan of His. Tragically, many churches today are shrinking in number. Some have . . . Read more ›
It is not an option for us as believers to take or leave the church as a whole. If we are true Christians, we will want to be a vital part of all that God is doing today in and through His people. Church should not be some place where, as Adrian Rodgers humorously put it, we go to be “hatched, . . . Read more ›
The reason so many churches are ineffective and/or falling apart today is because they have strayed from God’s original plan. The phenomenal strength and growth of the early church can be traced to this: the Spirit of God working through the Word of God in the hearts of the people of . . . Read more ›
Do you desire boldness in your witness for Christ? Has your prayer life become dry and one-dimensional? Do you feel that you are lacking something in your spiritual walk? Is the world turning you upside down instead of you turning your world right side up? This promise for power from the Holy Spirit . . . Read more ›
While it appears that many people have an increasing hunger for the spiritual, few are looking to the church for help in their quest. Instead, many are leaving churches in record numbers, or not even going in the first place. Perhaps it comes from a prevailing misunderstanding of what the church . . . Read more ›
Speaking of the church which He Himself founded, Jesus said, “On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). Although the early church lacked every worldly advantage, though it was attacked both spiritually and physically, it . . . Read more ›
Four characteristics of the early church stand out in Acts 2:37–47. You might say that they are the trademarks of a healthy church: It was a learning church. It was a loving church. It was a worshipping church. It was an evangelizing church. Read more ›
“They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2:42). Some might think that for a church to be spirit empowered, all use of intellect must be abandoned: Some say, “I’m not into doctrine. I just want to love Jesus.” Yet, if you really want to know who . . . Read more ›
In this mile-a-minute culture, we don’t like to wait for things anymore. We are used to getting things fast and simplified. Unfortunately, it is easy to carry this attitude over to our worship life. If God has something to say, we expect it to be distilled to a 10-second sound-bite. We are . . . Read more ›
“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2:42). God has given me, as a pastor, clear direction as to what I should be doing. Paul wrote to Timothy, “Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering . . . Read more ›
Success or failure in the Christian life depends upon how much of the Word of God you get into your heart and mind on a regular basis, and how obedient you are to it. In the Book of Acts, we read of those who lived in Berea and had the privilege of hearing the great apostle Paul preach. Rather than . . . Read more ›
The early church was a learning church, a loving church, a worshipping church, and an evangelistic church (see Acts 2:42–47). In this section, we will focus on the aspect of worship. Created to worship God created man with an innate desire to worship. In fact, it remains one of the fundamental . . . Read more ›
Worship—or the failure to do it properly—affects every aspect of our lives. Romans 1:20–25 points out four steps that lead to spiritual deterioration: Failing to glorify God Failing to give thanks Turning to other gods Degenerate living Failing to glorify God “Although they knew God, they . . . Read more ›
The tender and touching story of Mary of Bethany in John 12:1–8 demonstrates the right way to worship God. Martha, predictably, was working, and Mary was worshipping. Mary wanted to give to Jesus something that was valuable, precious, and special. So, with complete abandon, she broke a bottle of . . . Read more ›
What is God seeking in this world? Jesus said that He had come “to seek and to save that which was lost,” namely us in our lost state of sin (Luke 19:10). But God is also seeking something else: true worshippers. Jesus gives us insight into this important aspect of the Christian life . . . Read more ›
True worship is not merely the singing of songs to God, but it is the living of our lives in a way that pleases God. In fact, our singing and prayers are but the outward manifestations of a life lived daily for the glory of God. Hebrews 13:15–16 gives us a good overview of the kind of worship that . . . Read more ›
Our sacrifice of praise to God is something that is unique and special to the church alone. No other religion sings like the Christian faith. “He has put a new song in my mouth—praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord” (Psalm 40:3). “God inhabits the . . . Read more ›
Paul thanked the believers in Philippi for the gift they sent to him “Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God” (Philippians 4:18). Martin Luther astutely . . . Read more ›
The usher who helped you find your seat, the Sunday School teacher who is looking after and teaching your precious children, that counselor who prays with you, the attendant who helps you get in and out of the parking lot—they are all worshipping God with their service. Read more ›
This is how Jesus described the fundamental elements of true worship: “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24.) Worship in spirit You can be completely orthodox in your beliefs, yet fail to express your praise toward a God this wonderful . . . Read more ›
At a time when our society seems to be more disjointed and divided than ever, people are looking for a place to belong. Jesus gives us insight into this important aspect of the Christian life when He talked with the Samaritan woman at the well. The church should be A community where they feel . . . Read more ›
We are called out. God has a unique plan and place for His church in this world. Paul tells us in Romans that we as Christians are “The called of Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:6). What does this mean? The Greek word for church is ekklesia, which comes from the verb meaning “to call . . . Read more ›
Jesus said, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). What does this type of love entail? Scripture gives us the answer. The most comprehensive description of love is found in 1 Corinthians 13:4–7. Paul shines love through a prism, . . . Read more ›
Money is the main subject in nearly half the parables Jesus told. In addition, one out of every seven verses in the New Testament deals with the topic. Money and the believer The Bible certainly has a lot to say about the believer and his money. While Scripture offers about 500 verses on prayer, and . . . Read more ›
The apostle Paul clearly sets forth the biblical principles of giving in 2 Corinthians 9:6–11. Our motive in giving is important. “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). The word . . . Read more ›
Matthew 6:1–4 tells us that there are a number of ways that our giving to God can be wrong: We can not give at all—or give sporadically, at best—and disobey God, missing many of His special blessings in our lives. We can give, but have the wrong motives. The wrong way to give “When you do a . . . Read more ›
In the Old Testament, the prophet Haggai addressed the needs of the people as they lamented that no matter how much they made, it was never enough. God then revealed to them that their real problem is not material but spiritual. They had experienced a spiritual breakdown. While they had plenty of . . . Read more ›
We would like to think that our money belongs to us, and that we can pretty much do with it as we please. Yet, Scripture reminds us that it is God who has given us the ability to produce wealth: “But remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth” (Deut . . . Read more ›
The apostle Paul was not afraid to talk about the giving of money. Although he never over-emphasized it, he never neglected its importance. In 1 Corinthians 16:1–3, he details some important principles regarding the subject. Giving is a universal practice. “Now concerning the collection for . . . Read more ›
God promises to bless and provide for the faithful giver. In fact, God makes a dramatic promise if we obey His command to give in Malachi 3:8–11. This passage contains several key points: If we fail to bring our tithes and offerings to God, we are actually robbing Him (Malachi 3:8). This reminds us . . . Read more ›
Are we making a difference? The first-century church did not leave their world the same way they found it. This group of committed, Spirit-empowered followers of Jesus made a difference. They turned the world upside down for the sake of Jesus Christ (Acts 17:6). How different that is from the church . . . Read more ›
The Book of Revelation gives a brief description of the church in the last days. The second and third chapters describe seven different churches, portraying both their strengths and weaknesses. This is Jesus’ message to the church of Philadelphia: “And to the angel of the church in . . . Read more ›
Scripture lays out three primary purposes for the church: The exaltation of God God has called us to live “for the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:12). We are here on this earth to glorify and know the God who created us. “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a . . . Read more ›
When the subject of sharing our faith comes up, we often come up with a long list of excuses for why we cannot do it. A recent survey among Christians revealed that 95% of those surveyed had never led another person to Jesus Christ. Why are so many of us reluctant to share our faith? The reason many . . . Read more ›
We should not share our faith with others out of obligation, duty, or guilt, but out of a God-given burden for their lives. Compassion motivated Jesus. “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. . . . Read more ›
One day a lady criticized the great 19th-century evangelist D.L. Moody for his methods of evangelism in attempting to win people to the Lord. Moody answered, “I agree with you. I don’t like the way I do it either. Tell me, how do you do it?” The lady replied, “I don’t . . . Read more ›
Next to personally knowing Jesus and walking with Him, I know of no greater blessing or privilege than actually leading someone to Jesus Christ. God used Philip to lead others to Jesus with two forms of evangelism. In the early part of Acts 8, Philip is engaged in what you might call mass . . . Read more ›
God has given us a simple yet profound message to deliver: the gospel. We don’t need to candy-coat it, gloss it over, add or subtract anything from it. We must present it as God presents it in His Word. A technical definition of the word gospel is “good news.” Yet, to truly . . . Read more ›
Another interesting thing about Paul’s preaching of the gospel was his use of his personal testimony. When Paul shared the gospel message with powerful government leaders, he would often begin with his personal testimony. Then, he would always key in on what happened when Jesus died on the . . . Read more ›