The 14th Sunday after Pentecost
The Church Shall Never Perish
1. Because Jesus gives us power
2. Because Jesus gives us a purpose
Text: Matthew 16:13-20
The statistics are scary. The number of Americans who are Protestant Christians might be as low as 50% these days. 50%! Of those Americans who claim to be religious (Christians or not), only about 40% attend church on a weekly basis. 40%! In school that would be an “F” grade. (In case you were wondering, Florida is below that national average at about 38%.)
Society is becoming less and less Christian. Prayer is not allowed in schools. The 10 Commandments have become 10 suggestions. Rather than being the common bond for most Americans, Christianity is now the common thing to mock and make fun of.
But this is not endemic to America, this is pandemic across the globe. Religious freedom is currently in danger in Canada. Massive cathedrals sit empty in Europe. Christians need to worship in secret in the Middle East, in China, and in many other places. Even more frightening are the recent statistics about Islam. The American population of Muslims is supposed to double in the next 20 years. The world population of Muslims is to reach 2.2 billion and surpass Christianity in the next 20 years.
And all the while, as Christianity shrinks and sputters, sin and Satan seem to be soaring supreme. How can you listen to the radio without hearing a bad word or gossip these days? How can you watch TV or a movie without the temptation of lust creeping into your mind? How can you live in America and not be overcome with greed and envy?
Are we a dying breed? Is Christianity on its last leg? Will the number of Christians shrink and shrink until there are none left? Is Christ’s Church doomed? No! As bad as things may look, as lonely and persecuted as we might feel, Jesus promises: The Church Shall Never Perish. Read the rest of this entry
This is the tenth weekly reading in the plan for reading your Bible in one year. The assignment for this week is 1 & 2 Thessalonians. It should only take about 5 minutes a day, or about 1-2 chapters a day to complete the assignment.
Here are some comments to help you grow in knowledge and faith as you read 1 & 2 Thessalonians:
Background: Thessalonica was a leading city in Macedonia at the time of Paul. It was a crossroads by land and by city. It was a center for commerce, business, and the Roman military. At that time it had a population of about 200,000. Paul had visited the city on his second missionary journey around 51 A.D. It seems that he wrote 1 Thessalonians shortly after in late 51 or early 52 A.D from the city of Corinth.
1 Thessalonians 1: Paul opens this letter in standard form consisting of three parts: A) Author, B) Recipients, C) Greeting. Following this Paul states his thanks for the Thessalonian Christians. Of course, thanks is given to God for his work in them. His Word powerfully worked in their hearts as they heard the good news about Jesus from Paul. As they joyfully responded to the gospel, they continued to welcome Paul with much hospitality. Even after that they continued in their faith despite much opposition that resulted in many sufferings. Paul was thankful though that they were remaining in the faith. Read the rest of this entry