From Pentecost A.D. 30 till 2010, gifted men called evangelists have gone out into society to call out men, women, boys and girls to come into the family of God and into the church Jesus Christ has been building. What has changed lately is that rescue call is not about coming into the refuge/sanctuary/safe house of a local church. The call of the kingdom is to be direct disciple of King Jesus, reporting directly to the King. The last format of the church in that old dispensation, Laodicea did poorly. But probably half of all the people since the church was born at Pentecost, A.D. 30 --who have come to know Jesus--are under the umbrella of the Church of Laodicea. Of course, many who know Jesus are not affiliated with any visible church.
No wonder attempts these days to restart old church assemblies (doing things on autopilot) --aren't working well. The need for fellowship is greater than ever now. The common bond true Christians have is they are "members one of another and members of the Body of Christ." God is simply doing things differently now!
Rather than sitting in a pew surrounded by strangers, listening to a professional worship team of paid entertainers and enduring a boring sermon of scraps and left-overs from the hired preacher, small groups are where Jesus shows up--as He did before Constantine, Cultural Christianity had her day in the sun, but no longer. This is not a call to cut oneself off from quality fellowship with fellow Christians! "Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Tim Keller in 2020 described the end of old paradigm Christianity. He described the importance of rediscovering small groups and house churches as they existed before Constantine. His informal talk at Dallas Theological Seminary is excellent. I consider it "must listening."
This is a brief article! It's intended to provoke readers to get to know the whole Bible, overcoming the terrible illiteracy of the present age. The links below fill in the details and should answer most questions. Please read these links! These are, after all life-and-death matters. The intent here is to free today's generation from incomplete views about Jesus and His work. Your email is welcome. Please don't take my word for any of this! Be a good Berean! "These Jews (in Berea) were more receptive than those in Thessalonica, for they welcomed the message very eagerly and examined the scriptures every day to see whether these things were so." (Acts 17:11)
In summary, God is moving in history, dramatically now. The Rapture of the Church, The Tribulation Period, The Great Tribulation, the Second Advent of Jesus are surely on the near horizon now. Fully a third of the Bible is about the future!
|The Glorious Church|
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Connecting the Dots: A Handbook of Bible Prophecy
The first three chapters of Luke and beginning of the fourth give us the entrance of the Lord into the race, beginning with his genealogy; how he was born and made one of us. Then chapters four through nineteen trace for us the first part of his ministry among men, and especially, his journey toward Jerusalem:
When the days drew near for him to be received up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. (Luke 9:51a RSV)
The record of this journey occupies chapters nine through part of 19, and recounts incidents along the way.
Finally, we read:
And when he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. (Luke 19:28 RSV)
That marks the close of his ministry of penetrating into the character and nature of man, and the beginning of his work to save man. It introduces the last section of the book, in which he enters the city, comes to the temple, goes up to the Mount Olives, then to Pilate's judgment hall, to the cross, to the tomb, and to the resurrection day.
Great crowds followed Jesus after His baptism by John and His time in Galilee. But as the calling became clear, most dropped out. His disciples hung on His every word, and eventually became the mighty Apostles who turned the world upside down after Jesus left. He was a very magnetic Person!
"The next day he (John the Baptist) saw Jesus coming towards him and declared, ‘Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, “After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.” I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.’ And John testified, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.’
The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, ‘Look, here is the Lamb of God!’The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, ‘What are you looking for?’ They said to him, ‘Rabbi’ (which translated means Teacher), ‘where are you staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come and see.’ They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas’ (which is translated Peter).
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.’ Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’ When Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards him, he said of him, ‘Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!’ Nathanael asked him, ‘Where did you come to know me?’ Jesus answered, ‘I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.’ Nathanael replied, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!’ Jesus answered, ‘Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.’ And he said to him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’ (John 1:29-51)
As Jesus headed on foot to walk the 80+ miles from Galilee to Jerusalem, he dispatched his disciples to go ahead of him two by two to the villages along the way. His entourage of perhaps a hundred or more included many women who collected offerings and purchased food on the journey. In addition, Jesus dispatched a separate group of seventy with a different calling. They were to announced the coming kingdom of Jesus over everyone. The Seventy were forerunners of 70 times 70 evangelists who would be called into action at the close of the present age. The work of The One Hundred Forty Four Thousand is described in the last book of the Bible (written about 95 A.D. by the Apostle John).
The Bible Journey web site is a good resource for following the events that unfolded on this last trip to Jerusalem. Please read all four gospels to start with.
The Times They are a'Changing
Bob Dylan 1963
Up From the Grave He Arose
Man of Sorrows
Come Thou, Almighty King
There is a Balm in Gilead
A Glorious Church
I Sing the Mighty Power of God
Jesus, The Light of the World