In our final lesson on “Christianity…In The Beginning” we talked about the church at Antioch. The chart below highlights some of the good things they were accomplishing.
We also suggest that this was a good stopping place for our study. Christianity had finally become what God intended it to be. Accepting the Gentiles was a big hurdle for the early church and the church at Antioch seems to be the first group to embrace the Gentiles. But they also showed their love by the act of Benevolence toward the predominantly Jewish Christians in Jerusalem, and their love for all the world by sending out Paul and Barnabas to preach.
Who it was who labeled them “Christians” is not stated in the text but I believe it could be said that at Antioch the church was really becoming for the first time all that God wanted the church to be.
A big question for us is, does our church deserve to be called Christians?
Barnabas and Saul return to Antioch from Jerusalem.
Earlier we read how they had labored there for a whole year and had great success. Now, at the direction of the Holy Spirit, the church sends them out on what is called “Paul’s first missionary journey”.
We have noticed many great examples about the church at Antioch. What great example do we see in this final reading?
How might it be said that, at Antioch, we see “Christianity” in its maturity — what God really wants His people and churches to be?
The church at Antioch learns about a famine that will afflict Jerusalem and they respond by sending aid “to the brethren dwelling in Judea”.
What does this say about the kind of people that made up the church in Antioch?
What does it teach about what the church should be and do?
The church in Jerusalem hears about the group of disciples at Antioch and sends Barnabas to help them. Barnabas sends for Saul and for a year they work together building up the church at Antioch. Verse 26 says it was here that the disciples were first called Christians.
What are your impressions of the church at Antioch?
Today’s reading is a summary of the life of the first Christians in the days following Pentecost. We see they continued in the apostles teaching. We see their love for one another. It seems to have been a very joyful time for the new church.
We call this study “Christianity… In The Beginning” and at the end of Acts 2 we can truly say Christianity has begun. The church is been established and is growing.
Verse 43 says “fear came upon every soul”. What kind of fear was this and why were they experiencing fear?
Today’s Reading: Luke 11:27-36
Today’s reading contains teaching about various topics. First, the blessedness of those who believe and obey Jesus’ words. That can be you and I! He then discusses the error of those who continue to seek signs. Finally he uses a lamp as an illustration of letting our lights shine and the need to purify our focus in order to insure our life is filled with light and not darkness.
Verse 3o says, “For as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so also the Son of Man will be to this generation”.
1. We know Jonah preached to the Ninevites but how was he a sign to the Ninevites?
2. In what way is Jesus like Jonah?
Today’s text: John 7:2-9
The feast of Tabernacles occurs in late September / early October so we are about 6 months away from the Passover during which Jesus was crucified.
Jesus would often tell his disciples not to tell anyone that He is the Christ. After several of the miracles He told the person healed not to tell anyone what He had done for them. It is an good and curious question as to why Jesus would do this.
In today’s reading His brothers raise a similar question as they urge Him to go to the feast and make Himself known. “No one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly (4)” seems reasonable.
How does Jesus respond to their request and how might this explain the other times He wanted to do His work quietly?
Our new study, “Christianity…In The Beginning”, starts January 1.
It is exciting to start fresh, from the beginning. It is also challenging to study without filtering everything through our preconceived ideas and beliefs. It is a little scary to not know what we might discover and where faith may lead us in life.
We are aiming for the fresh approach in our study. We are asking God to open our eyes and help us better understand why God sent His Son, the life Jesus lived, what Christianity was really like “in the beginning”.
Everyone is invited to join us on this journey in 2015. Click on the subscribe link to the right to receive the daily updates in your email. Like us on Facebook to invite your friends!
Question: (a) Exciting, (b) Challenging, or (c) A Little Scary? Which describes how you feel as you enter into a fresh study of “Christianity… From The Beginning”, and why do you feel that way?
Christianity…In The Beginning is a chronological journey through the New Testament.
Here is how it works: We will read a few verses out of the New Testament everyday. The readings will be posted daily at www.dailybiblereview.com. You can also sign up to have the daily reading sent to your email (use the subscribe link to the right), or you can get the daily updates by following us on twitter (@lakeshorechurch). A short summary and question or two will challenge us to do the reading and share our thoughts about that days text. We also encourage everyone to share their ideas!
Additionally, each Wednesday in our mid-week Bible study at the church we will review the previous week’s readings and discussions. This review will be offered at both 10 am and 7 pm starting January 7.
The New Testament is the inspired, historical record of the beginning of Christianity. There is no greater knowledge than the message it contains! You are invited to join us starting January 1!
Sunday our high school group planted this cross on the property of our church building. The words on it are from 1 John 3:16: “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us.”
Don’t miss what that is really saying: Jesus on the cross is how we know love. There were and are lesser types of love in the world, but God (who is love, 1 John 4:8) defined what love truly is in giving His Son on the cross.
This is one of the greatest things about Christianity and really an argument for it being the true religion. The story of its founder and the event of its founding (the cross) is the purest definition of love the world knows. God sent His Son to make the ultimate sacrifice, not just for his friends and family, but all men – even His enemies. There is nothing selfish or impure about the cross.
Furthermore, the unselfish cross is not only what He did for us but it is the example of how we are to live our lives. When we struggle with how to show love in our various relationships we should look to the cross and act like Jesus. Sometimes unloving things are done in the name of Christianity, but pure, unprejudiced, self-sacrificing love is the fruit of true Christianity.
Question: What aspect of love does the cross best illustrate for you?