Morning Musings: Revelation 7:9-10

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!'”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

This is really an incredible picture, and a challenging one for the modern church.  John hears the sound of the famed 144,000, but when he turns he sees a great multitude of people from every nation, tribe, people, and language gathered before the throne of God and giving Him praise.  What John sees here is a picture of the church universal gathered for worship. Read the rest…

Morning Musings: 1 Corinthians 12:4-6

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

It takes a lot to make the church work.  There are all kinds of different roles that need to be filled.  Some of them are out front and flashy.  Some of them are entirely behind the scenes and go completely overlooked…unless they’re not being done.

The challenge this presents the church is that we tend to assign value based on external factors only.  If something is visible, we count it as more valuable than something that is invisible.  If something draws our eyes because of its prominence, we count it as more valuable than something which is not as eye-catching.  Read the rest…

Morning Musings: Romans 16:17-18

“I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.  For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.”  (ESV – read the chapter)

When it comes to non-Christians, the church is to be open to all people.  We should receive with grace and gladness anyone who is interested in becoming a follower of Jesus regardless of their background or what they’ve done.

In the church and among people who claim to be followers of Jesus the story changes somewhat.  Oftentimes today, people who are most concerned with protecting the purity and unity of the church work to keep out the world.  In the New Testament, the exact opposite approach is taken.  The biggest threats to the purity and unity of the church are never from without, but rather within.

Read the rest…

Morning Musings: Romans 14:1

“As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.”  (ESV)

So many fights in the church are over issues that are far less significant than we have made them.  Often someone has read something in the Scriptures (even in community) with a desire to apply what he’s seen, but, in his efforts to apply the Scriptures, he’s given too much power and position to the issue.  The result is an insistence on a certain behavior that, while not necessarily unwise, much less sinful, is an unnecessary restriction on the freedom we have available to us in Christ.   Read the rest…