The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. ~ Acts 11:21
The church at Antioch now becomes a focal point, along with the church at Jerusalem. Paul (still called “Saul”) and Barnabas spent much time there, preaching the Gospel to the Gentile population who converted in great numbers. We are told it is here that Jesus’ followers were first named “Christians”.
I am struck by the purity and sincerity of the apostles’ faith. Acting with sincere hearts under the clear guidance of the Holy Spirit, the church grew; not because of booming sound systems or feel-good sermons, not because of creative marketing committees or gimmicky social events. The church grew because the apostles presented the Gospel openly, honestly, and truthfully. The Gospel, and only the Gospel, is the message this dying world is so hungry to hear!
Our churches today must take a lesson from the early church. The church is not to “fit in” to society politically, popularly, or socially. Sadly, many modern churches, including some large denominations and independent churches, have fallen into this trap so craftily laid by the evil one. Indeed, the church is to preach God’s Word so that believers are equipped to nurture one another, lovingly hold one another accountable, and effectively witnesses to those who need to know Christ.
Ponder this: Does your church stand firmly on God’s Word, or has it succumbed to societal pressure to conform with societal values? Are you willing to stand firmly on the Truth?
My prayer for today: Father, I pray today for Your church. Strengthen and bless those church bodies that faithfully stand on Your Word and preach Your Gospel. Convict those that have succumbed to the temptation to please society and guide them back to the narrow road of your good and perfect will. Give me the tools to lovingly witness to those who need to know our Lord Jesus Christ. I pray in His name. AMEN.