Sunday, June 02 2019
A lot of people, perhaps most people on the planet could be called “religious” to some extent, in that they have and hold to certain tenets of a perceived or real truth based upon a faith of which point to an external or higher influence that affect their life. Actually Pew Research polls show only about 16% of the world’s population is atheist, and China has the honors with the most, maybe because they lead the world in population. According to Webster’s Dictionary religion is; a belief in and a worship of God, or god/s, a specific system of belief and/or worship built around God, a code of ethics, a philosophy of life. If you watch the news much, you may notice a lot of what happens in the world is religious based, whether it being good or bad. As a result of such a negative face on religion, many question the validity of any religion. Many may wonder who really knows what the truth is, maybe even pondering if there is any truth at all. To that extent I would like to explore one particular group of people that represent the “Church”. For such a large group of people that call themselves Christians and as a result are some of the most persecuted people on the planet, someone better know the truth.
We’ll begin with this “entity” called the Church. Just what does this word imply and is there in fact a group representative of the Church? First the word Church is often thought of as a building, a place where you will most likely find a Cross, Bibles, Christians and the like. However, the real Church is not a building as it is comprised of a people. Although many do call a House of Worship a Church building, it is in fact a place where the real living people of the Church gather in corporate fellowship. The people that make up the Church are what is called the; “ecclesia”, a Greek word, for; “called out ones”. In other words they have been called out of the world and at least spiritually speaking are no longer part of the world, or its worldly system, but still obviously live in it. This can be derived from this verse; wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing and I will receive you, and I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty (II Cor. 6:17,18).
The “called out ones” can be no more valid a people than the One doing the calling seems to be a fair assumption. Is there verifiable evidence that Jesus the Christ is in fact who He says He is and is qualified to call people out unto Himself to offer what He says He offers? I inject this thought, people that believe what the report of the Lord says; His written Word, Divine manifestations (in some cases), the evidence and witnesses are called believers. These people have come to a place in their life where most have sifted through the heaps of supposed truth/s and came to a solid conclusion that Jesus is in fact who He says He is. Conversely there are folks that no matter the evidence refuse to accept any evidence as truth and as such are called unbelievers.
The evidence concerning the reality of Jesus really doesn’t need one to prove His existence, however a few examples seem to be order here for our purpose of inquiry. One of the most profound evidences in the entire world is God’s “prophetic word”. It is beyond comprehension, but there is found written in the Word of God, “prophesies”, what many Bible Scholars call; history written in reverse. Incredible events that have not happened as yet, but were recorded in the Bible, hundreds of years or in many cases thousands of years in advance. I have read where many Bible Scholars believe the Bible is up to one-third prophetic, that alone distances God from all else. As in the case of Jesus’ 1st Coming, so many prophesies (written details) that told of His coming, pertinent facts surrounding His death, the cross, His burial, all in the Bible. There were forty-eight specific and detailed prophesies that would provide verifiable evidence that Jesus was who He said He was when He showed up two thousand years ago. Grant Jeffrey, Bible Scholar; Signature of God, details just seventeen of these prophesies that were fulfilled “to the letter”. With conservative estimates given concerning the odds of (each) individual prophesies fulfillment, Grant derived at an (accumulative) number of all 17 coming to past as; 1 chance in 4.8 trillion X 1 billion X 1 Trillion that all these prophesies could have occurred in one and the same person, Jesus Christ, but it happened. I have seen the math in his calculation, incredible but true. Insurance companies across the world us this same calculator to sell insurance policies.
In another example, some say Jesus was only a good spiritual leader, prophet, teacher, not much else. If that were the case He would take his place among one of the many grave sites or mausoleums of the world where such are presently interred. But the Biblical and historical record shows that His grave is empty, wherein the other great so-called spiritual leaders of the world are dead and still dead. The Romans soldiers became one of the best witnesses concerning Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. They killed Him, they provided security over the Garden Tomb, and were on hand when He arose, even to the giving of detailed accounts of Heavenly music, glowing light, and those that were dead, now seen alive in grave clothes shouting the victory. This information can be corroborated/ obtained in historical archives, check under letters by Pontius Pilate to Caesar. So much more could be said, but the evidence speaks for itself. I believe the written report to be representative of the facts portrayed.
Once again, the; “called out ones”. This is not a new concept, as it has its origin back in the days of Abraham, some two thousand years before Christ came the first time. In the days of the Old Testament, God would call a group of people out from the rest of the world to follow Him and be His chosen people. That’s not to imply God had no use for the rest of the people on the planet, but He had a special purpose for His chosen ones. Most folks have never heard this before, but long before God revealed Himself to Abraham, He revealed Himself to mankind. We live in a time where we people have been taught to believe things happened randomly, random life, the many random life forms, intricate detail, all random, everything. But here is something that blows the random foolishness out the window. When the Universe was created, (not exploded), God in His infinite wisdom placed the star system in a Divine pattern. It’s called the Zodiac, these patterns, everything from pots and pans to a “lion” and a “serpent”, a virgin as in Virgo all reveals a timeless message. By connecting the dots, pictures are formed, it’s where dot to dot coloring books came from, I think. The story of the plan of salvation was being revealed on the biggest screen in world, the Universe. It would tell of how a serpent (devil) would try to kill a child (Jesus), and in the end, the serpent gets slain, plus so much more, space here too limited to share. These planet configurations would forever be an “object lesson” to humanity of someone, somewhere is bigger than us a/The Creator. Now back to how God would call a chosen people to Himself, ye a forerunner of the Church.
History shows mankind failed to connect the dots of the celestial plan of God as moral decadence and violence ruled the planet. God would send a flood and basically start over with the exception of 8 people, Noah and family, who were found righteous. In due time God would raise up Abraham who would be a Father to a Nation of people who would become God’s chosen ones (the called out ones). These chosen ones of old would “represent” God in the world. They were to walk a different walk, talk a different talk (talk in light of His Word) worship God a certain way, and be very obedient in every way to the will and purpose of God. In this another object lesson, a contrast would develop in that there were those that would follow the plan of God from those that did not, or refused to do so. Fast forward to Jesus’ day and time. He would call out people and say follow Me, and they did. As a matter of fact in John’s Gospel; as many as received Him, to them gave He power (authority) to become the sons of God, even to them which believe on His name (John 1:12). And those that respond to the call of, coming out of the world and being separated unto Him are the believers, the called out ones, the Christians, the ones that make up the Church in discussion.
When a person accepts the Lord as his/her Savior, they willfully and deliberately want to follow the Lord and be a part of the called out group of people that we call the Church. A good many of these folks are rough in the beginning, as they were deep in the world and its ways, maybe for a long time. Though the Church should be exemplary in action and deed always, none are perfect, though striving for perfection is the goal, but in the end there is only one who was perfect, that is the one who called us out to follow Him, Jesus. Those that are part of the Church, the called out ones, are actually part of the Body of Christ Himself. As our human bodies are made up billions of cells, so is the Body of Christ made up of million/billions of Christians. And because of this, the people of Christ are able to be what they are called out to be, and that is a peculiar people unto the Lord. And like the Old Testament Church we represent Christ to the world. In my opening paragraph I mentioned the Church being persecuted across the world, what’s behind that I wonder? In conclusion, if we accept the existence of God, then we have to accept the fact that He has a people as He says, and if He has a people, then they have a purpose and a message. To silence the messenger is silence the message.
Pastor Thomas Nosworthy
Light the Way Ministries.