Some Church History

Matthew 16:18

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

When I read this Scripture, I find comfort knowing God’s Church will outlast hell. Yet there are people who emphasize this Scripture as Peter being the first leader of the Catholic Church. Good for them. But what does history record?

Everyone agrees that the Christian faith began in Jerusalem when the Holy Spirit made his public entrance into the known world. Even Peter stood up at the time and preached the first sermon where the Holy Spirit converted over three thousand people. Yet later during the first recorded church convention of the early Church, the Book of Acts highlights James as the local church administrator leading that first meeting.

Early church history records the five largest and most influential churches were based in Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome, Constantinople, and Alexandria. Each church was led by their own bishop without accountability to a higher human authority. It wasn’t until around the 300-350 period when King Charlemagne based in Rome made the Christian religion the national faith. With his assistance, the church in Rome then took on a more political stance and grew from the experience.

Meanwhile, the churches in the other major cities continued with disagreements on certain faith issues. Though they all held similar basic fundamental beliefs which was outlined in the Nicene Creed in 325 A.D., they also had their differences. For example, the church in Jerusalem still had many people who observed the seventh day Sabbath and kept the Jewish holy days. The church in Alexandria eventually became the hub of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Antioch was where Believers were first called Christian and the influence of the Greek gentile culture challenged those from Jerusalem.

History and the Bible prove that Peter was the original leader of the twelve apostles. And each apostle traveled to major parts of the known world preaching the good news of Jesus Christ including Peter. The early Church didn’t have an institutional hierarchy in mind. Instead, it was a loosely organized movement inspired and empowered by the Holy Spirit. The structure and political influence came later after the richer faith communities settled down and began integrating into the local city life. Like all movements, vested interest came together and people settled into daily routines.    

Yet the Church after two thousand years still remains. Still active, still expounding the truth, and still showing the light of Jesus through the many souls who have tasted and feasted upon the love of God. And as the enemy has constantly attacked to destroy the Church and repeatedly failed, we have Jesus’ promise that the Church will survive to the end.

Thank you, Lord, for directing your Body of Believers for the work you have us do.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Author of e-Books

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A Church Without Walls?

follower 3

Years ago I belonged to a small men’s group that met once a week in the early morning for a Koinonia Meeting. Koinonia is a Greek word that denotes spiritual fellowship. It is used in the Book of Acts (4:2) to express how the early church met in fellowship. Also John used the same word to explain our relationship with our Lord and Heavenly Dad (I Jn. 1:3-7). In other words, our fellowship is with each other AND with God.  Wherever two or more our gathered in His name, He is with us (Mt.l8:20)!
What is the purpose of our fellowship? Isn’t our fellowship to strengthen one another in the Lord? Isn’t it to affirm our love for each other? Isn’t it to challenge one another in our walk with God? Isn’t it to uplift one another in prayer? Isn’t it to make our differences disappear and produce unity in Christ? Isn’t it Jesus who brings us all together? Isn’t it Jesus who makes us one? Doesn’t He reveal through His disciples that He is the only way that people can walk peacefully with other people? Without Him there is only dissension, fear, and hatred of our differences. Yet, even though intellectually we know we are all the same, don’t we have the tendency to rank each other in our standard of classes? Whether we rank each other under the standard of education, economic status, marriage, career, you name it and isn’t there a label for it? But didn’t Jesus Christ make these walls all disappear?
St. Augustine wrote about two churches that exist and cohabit together at the same time. There are the physical faith communities that we see and support their operations; and may even be a member. Likewise, he wrote about the invisible church; a body of believers cohabiting together within each physical faith community. John Wesley called it the universal church. I call it a church without walls. No walls of denomination, no walls of racism, no walls of community lines, no walls of social or economic status, no walls of age, no walls of sexism, no walls of educational bias, no walls that divide and separate us from each other. Instead, there is Jesus Christ that unifies and brings us together. It is Jesus that eliminated the walls between people. It is through and in Jesus that we have a church that is built without walls. A church built on the foundation of the early prophets and apostles of old with Jesus being the chief cornerstone. A church made of people with a spiritual connection. A church made with people built around an eternal plan; a church that started in the first century with the premise that all people could be a part of the fellowship with the unashamed. No dividing walls. No exceptions. Everyone who is called by our Heavenly Dad is a member and my friend. I gladly fellowship with anyone who is a brother or sister of the God we serve. We have more in common than the closes of relationships: more in common than a marriage of earthly time; more in common than a friendship from youth; more in common than blood brothers. We are linked by the same power and love that links everything together in this universe. We are linked together by our Creator and Sustainer. And we have more in common than we could discuss in a lifetime. Yes, we have fellowship with the divine while we also have fellowship with humanity. Our fellowship is deeper then the deep and higher than the highest high. Our fellowship is built on eternal powers that we don’t quite understand but only see their effects in our daily lives.
Paul writes that we are sons of the Living God and children of the Divine. We are heirs to promises that we can’t even fathom. Though we only have a small taste of these promises now, we await for the fully revealing of those promises beyond our temporary dwellings. We have been promised eternal life. We have been promised offices of leadership. We have been promised life without pain; life without sin. We have been promised a future that seems impossible in today’s world. But yet, nothing is impossible for God. He designed it; made it; sustains it. He alone can change it; reshape it; and do whatever He wants with it. He is God. Supreme Ruler. Supreme Provider. Supreme Lover. He is what He has to be when required. Ask Satan.
When Satan became so self delusional, didn’t he think he could take over God’s role in the universe? When he compared himself with God, he thought he was the better being. But when he attacked God’s throne room, he found himself kicked out so fast that he didn’t realize what really happened. It makes you think that his image of God must have been real small. He probably saw the characteristics of humility, mercy, innocence, and love and thought them as weakness. But when he attacked, God brought out traits that Satan probably never saw until then. God became what He had to in repelling the satanic forces. Satan saw a side of God that hopefully we never have too. Satan with one-third of the angels was kicked-out of heaven. Can you picture a meek, humble, loving being becoming a force to reckon with? I don’t think Satan did. Otherwise, life would be different today than it is.
Now Satan doesn’t have the intimate, friendship with our Lord as we do. We have a relationship that makes Satan very jealous. And he uses that jealousy to motivate himself in his dealing with mankind. He doesn’t want unity, but disharmony. He wants people separated from God and each other. He wants people to be like himself. He is so delusional that he sincerely believes his way of living is the best.
When you look at the confusion in this world, aren’t you looking at Satan’s character? When you look at the disharmony and prejudices in this world, don’t you see Satan’s character? When you look at wars and fighting between people, doesn’t it reveal Satan’s answers to today’s problems? He has been trying to make his system work apart from God. And it has not been very successful.
God’s success is built working through His Kingdom. He makes His Kingdom available for those who diligently seek Him. One of the fruits of His Kingdom is fellowship with Him and His children living in love, joy, and peace with each other. This is something only God can provide and no one else. Isn’t this the fellowship we have while being involved in His church without walls?
Our Prayer:Our Heavenly Dad, we again thank you for calling us out of this world and revealing yourself to us. We thank you for Jesus Christ and His Church. We thank you for allowing us to walk with you, to learn from you, and to live in your presence each and every day. Help us to see the magnificent of your Body today. Help us to see and appreciate the differences of our brothers and sisters in the Lord. Help us also to see  how Jesus brings us all together under the same name and family. Help us to breakdown any walls that prevent your love from flowing through us and to each other. Help us to be united in Jesus. Help us to glorify His purposes and to magnify His ways. Again thank you for the Church. Thank you for your gifts. Thank you for sharing your riches with us. Thank you for being you.
Dr. Mike