January 2

Today's Bible Readings
     Genesis 2
     Matthew 2
     Ezra 2
     Acts 2
            ''So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved."  (Acts 2:46-47)
            When a sinner experiences the new birth and enters the Forever Family, he instinctively desires fellowship and involvement with other members of God's family. I have discovered when a man has enough of Jesus to take him to heaven; he has enough to take him to the fellowship of the church. The greatest need in the life of every Christian is for spiritual growth. It is true that one can be  a Christian and not go to  church;  it  is false  that  one can  neglect  the  church  and grow  properly  as  a Christian. Christianity without the church is a deficient Christianity.
           The New Testament sets forth the church as a dedicated, dynamic developing community of the Holy Spirit operating in the very midst of the world's life; yet refusing, in the world's own interest, to succumb to the standards of the world. In Acts 2 is set forth the dynamic of the New Testament Church. Prominent are the activities of evangelism, baptizing, teaching, fellowship, service, sharing, giving and praise. Strengthening these involvements was a spirit of unity and harmony. The result of it all was that ''the Lord added daily to the church such as should be saved."
The modem world seems confused as to the purpose and mission of the local church.
The church is not an infallible deputy serving the interest of an absent Lord as Romanism teaches.
The church is not a philanthropically motivated lodge as liberalism teaches.
The church is not a museum for religious antiquity as extreme fundamentalism teaches.
The church is not a perpetual retreat from reality as mysticism teaches.
The church is not a religious social club catering to the whims of its members as modernism teaches.
The church is not a holy hootenany as extreme Pentecostalism allows.
The church is not just a support group as many traditional churches have become.
      The Church is a Brotherhood, emphasizing its fellowship, where there is no class, ethnic, racial or economic distinctions. It is where people with any background come together with a common faith in Christ to worship Him in one accord.
      The church is the Body of Christ - emphasizing its function - an organism whose life, unity and growth are totally dependent upon the resources of a Risen Head, the Lord Jesus Christ.
      The church is the Bride of Christ, emphasizing its faithfulness. The Bridegroom Jesus gave Himself for His church. He loves Her selflessly; sacrificially; sanctifyingly and steadfastly.
      The church is the Building of Christ, emphasizing its foundation. The church is indeed the House that Jesus built.
         The words of an unknown author say it all: This is the house that Jesus built, not of wood and stone and glass, but of hearts and lives and sacrifice. His own and others and yours and mine.
          When a person truly loves the Bridegroom Jesus, he will also love His Bride, the church!
As intercessors what power we wield! We have authority over Satan to throw out his plans, pull down his strongholds and release his captives. The power of God we pray down mobilizes His Church, calls out laborers, empowers them for the ministry and brings in the missing disciples from peoples not yet represented before His throne. Pray for church planters throughout the world. (Rev. 7:9-10)
''To do the best of things in the worst of times is to build a great church."
John Earle•