I wonder what the early Christian church was like, before the corruption of its tenets – before reason got involved – before faith took a back seat – before factions of the original church broke away and became more to man’s liking.
We read all about the early Christians by visiting the book of the Acts of the Apostles. We can also learn through the four Gospels and their words of Christ Himself. We can observe the growth of the church throughout the Middle east and Africa. The epistles to established churches also indicate early missteps by them. Still the purity of God’s Word was spreading like wildfire.
I think about the early church in America – the Protestants who broke away from the Catholic church and the Church of England. They came to find religious freedom. Their beliefs insisted on prayer and daily reading of scripture, not to mention hours of worship in the church building.
So many of those beliefs stemmed from the basic core of God’s Word, but consisted mainly on the condemnation of the law and the consequences of sin. The Gospel almost became an after thought.
The purity of Christ’s church began with His countless sermons on things that affected the lives of His listeners. The parables were stories they could relate to, which had lessons pertaining to them. The Beatitudes set forth innovative ideas about how to treat each other as we travel through life.
He related to those starving minds that this world was only temporary. He taught us how to pray – not as those who made hypocrites of themselves, but in the quiet moments of silent supplication and humility before God. He told us not to worry about things – not to store up treasures on earth – to look forward to our time in eternity – to ask God to fill our needs and then be confident that He would. He told us how to love each other – even those who persecute or hate us. All these teachings seem completely opposed to how the world really is.
Dear, Holy, God, You inspired your truth into the minds and hands of the early Christians. Help us to search the Scriptures for all the amazing truth within its pages. Corruption is a natural thing for us human beings, because of the effect of our original sin. Remind us that you have washed away every blemish through your dear Son, Jesus. As we near the season of Lent, put us in touch with you again through your Word. It is your voice of promise, hope and forgiveness. It is my prayer that we use it as our manual for living. May we keep its content ever pure. Amen!