What is a Church (or ‘the’ Church)? The Church is a term used to describe in one word, the community of people who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour and who have received his offer of forgiveness of sins. So basically, it is a group of people who are saved “by grace through faith.” (Ephesians 2:8) Why is it not a building? Here are 3 reasons why (in my opinion)…
- The Torn Curtain and Pentecost: When Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins, the Temple curtain was torn into two. (Luke 23:45) This meant that now mankind would no longer need to come before God through a human high priest. We can now come before God in the name of His Son Jesus. So God no longer needed to dwell/be worshipped in a building. Once the Holy Spirit was sent down by Jesus at Pentecost, our bodies became temples of God if we had received forgiveness for our sins and were filled by the Spirit of God. (Prayer to receive forgiveness from sins)
- The Builder: “Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it” (Psalm 127:1) The church buildings are built by man. The Church that Jesus is building, is being built by God Himself. Only God can build it, because the reason for building it is not earthly – it is heavenly. God is preparing us for eternal life in Heaven. So how can He confine His work to mere bricks and mortar? In fact, while building man-made churches is finished when the construction is over, the Church of Christ is still being built, as more and more souls are saved every day.
- Indestructible: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” ( John 3:16) What happens when a severe earthquake strikes a church building? Well, quite likely the building collapses, or at least get damaged in some way. But Jesus’ Church does not, because it consists of humans, who can run toward safety and continue glorifying God so long as they’re alive. A building cannot glorify God on its own! And even if humans die, their spirit remains. The human spirit cannot be harmed when it is indwelt by God’s Holy Spirit. But a building does not have a spirit (soul) – so how can it have the Holy Spirit living inside it? (!)
About a month ago on my way back from church, I bought the Mumbai edition of Sunday Mid-day at a traffic signal. I fell short of a One Rupee coin (2 cents or 1.3 pence) and the signal turned green. The poor and ageing vendor said it was okay – “give it to me the next time.” Here’s the rest of the story…
I wondered whether I should have bought the paper at all, as I rarely buy anything at traffic signals. I prayed to the Lord: “Father, may I find the vendor the next Sunday and pay off his One Rupee.” I had even taken his name and saved it in my mobile phone ‘notes’ folder. I didn’t find him for 4 weeks. Meanwhile, I “got an idea” – I would hand over a tract of the Good News to him when I found him. I even prayed for his salvation! And then Sunday last, I was waiting at the same red signal again on my way back from church and voila! He just turns up! I seized the opportunity and took out the One Rupee coin (would you believe, I had stored plenty of them in my wallet since then!) and reminded him of it. He had forgotten about it. He said take a copy free as a gesture of appreciation. But I paid him the Five Rupees that the paper costs. Then I “just recalled” about the tract – but lo – the signal turned green! Immediately, I thrust my bag open and took out a tract – first of the wrong language and then the correct one (in Hindi)…I called out to him as he was moving away…he came and accepted the tract and returned the One Rupee I had preserved for him so long!
I then thanked the Lord about all of this and prayed for his salvation. Won’t you join me in praying for RANA SINGH’s salvation today?
If you are not sure where you will spend eternity, read this post. It could change your life!
“I apologize for the inconvenience caused to you by my faith in Jesus Christ.”
No! Christian apologetics is certainly not summarised that way. What then, is it?
“You shall know the truth…”
These famous words spoken by Jesus Christ in John 8:32 give us a clue. So when someone asks you why you follow Jesus Christ and not any other ‘god’ or ‘godman’ (“after all, even they do miracles”) you need not just say “Jesus has changed my life completely, for the better.” Because many people may not be convinced by that answer. Thankfully God – knowing the human mentality – gave us hardcore evidence to prove that Jesus Christ existed, was crucified and died, was buried in a rich man’s tomb and rose back to life (and has not died after that). He gave us historical, archaeological and statistical proof that what the Bible says is indeed true. But unless you are aware of these proofs, you won’t be able to convince skeptics, apart from the Holy Spirit opening their eyes.
I urge you to equip yourself not only in the Bible, but also in knowledge that you can have handy, when confronted with questions about your Christian faith. Some good online resources are:
- Answers in Genesis
- All About God
- Apologetics Press
In fact, Apologetics315 is actually an apologetics aggregator blog, that gives you links to many other relevant websites, podcasts etc. Most – if not all – of the material on these sites is free. If you prefer to have your apologetics material in book form, you can visit Christianbook.com and buy your stuff there.
Important: Even after you have given all the evidence in the world to a skeptic, it is only the Holy Spirit who can open the person’s spiritual eyes to the truth. So as you share information and minister to these precious souls, pray in your heart for God to touch their hearts with the same love, mercy and grace that He showered upon you that day when you gave your heart to Jesus!
“Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands!
Serve the LORD with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.” (Psalm 100:1, 2)
All-time great Christian oratorio ‘Messiah’ was composed by Germany-born composer George Frideric Handel in the summer of 1741. Here’s the story behind it, as told by my pastor last Sunday at church:
It took just three-and-a-half weeks for Handel to compose this song, written by Charles Jennens. He decided to invest 3 weeks in the study of the life of Jesus Christ. The result of this investment was amazing – Handel decided he would never again compose secular music; instead, he would dedicate his talent to glorify the LORD! Although the song did not become hugely popular until his later years, today millions of people around the world play and listen to this song every Christmas.
The lesson in it for us, said the pastor, was to consider investing 3 weeks of this year in prayer and Bible study, with the aim of getting a vision from the Lord for the year ahead. If God could do it in such a powerful way for Handel 250 years ago, he sure can do it for you and me today; because, as the bible says in Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
Say Amen to that!
My cousin brother Kartik expired day before yesterday (30 Dec, 2009). He was 38. He probably was an agnostic. We were born in a Hindu family. He had a science-oriented outlook and perhaps found it difficult to rationally explain spiritual phenomena. His death brings up several thoughts that I feel like sharing with my readers – but not before I compare them with Scripture.
In the Hindu religion, as many of you would be aware, a dead body is cremated – burnt. The remains are ashes and bones. Cremation happens either in a traditional way, placing the dead body on a pile of wood; or it is ‘strolleyed’ into a pre-ignited electric furnace. I had to visit the electric crematorium as part of the ceremony, although I did not have to participate in the formalities. The atmosphere in the complex (which was full of greenery) was that of sorrow and hopelessness. It was clear that – barring me and probably my father – no one there had any idea whatsoever about what happens after death. That’s because none of them had anything to do with the Bible. For them, my cousin had probably gone into another human body, in some other part of the world – or maybe in some other world… They were not aware of the promise in John 3:16.
My cousin had blood cancer (myeloid leukemia). He fought a courageous war, partnering with earthly doctors and family members. I tried my level best to elaborate on Matthew 8:17 and 1 Peter 2:24 in the hope that he would partner with God and believe and receive healing from the Lord Jesus. Unfortunately, he didn’t, though apparently he had repented of his sins and accepted Jesus in front of a pastor who I took along to minister to him. Not sure if it was from the bottom of his heart or just to respect my sentiments… It was frustrating. But every one has a choice – Truth though, doesn’t keep changing itself with people’s choices. God is sovereign. His offer had a time limit. Ultimately His will is always done. I thank God for giving me over 30 years to spend as my cousin’s close friend and playmate. He was one of the noblest and most compassionate and loving human beings I have come across so far. May God grant grace to his entire family to bear the loss and use the tragedy to save the unsaved family members. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.