What Is Church?

Saturday, February 9, 2013
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Listen while you read: "The King Of Love My Shepherd Is"1 (Lyrics)

Luke 13:18-19 – Then Jesus asked, "What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches." (NIV)

I find it amazing to think that Christianity is actually the world's largest faith. About one-third of our planet's population is connected to Christ, and each year, that number is growing all over the earth. Beginning on a hillside in Galilee two thousand years ago with just a couple of hundred followers, Christ's ministry has expanded and increased throughout the centuries. In every nation on this planet, there is a Christian community. The gospel has been preached in every corner on earth. The mustard seed of God's kingdom, which was planted so long ago, now has people of every nation living in its branches. There are currently more Christians on earth than at any other time in humankind's history. Christ's life, work, and ministry continue to grow. It is a faith that cannot be stopped; it is a teaching that cannot be curtailed.

Churches are springing up everywhere. Old buildings may be closing, but new fellowships of faith are being planted. Christ's mission never stops, and despite what western media or anti-religious groups express about the decline of Christianity, the numbers across the world prove them to be false prophets. Western Christianity is being transformed, and a rebirth of faith is being experienced. The church changes as each century comes and goes, but one thing remains constant: Christ's people are growing numerically and spiritually across this planet in every generation.

Sometimes, we western Christians get downhearted about declining congregational numbers and moral standards of society. We get hung up on finances and money instead of being inspired by faith and mission. All that we are negatively experiencing are the birth pangs of a new twenty-first-century church. Christ will not let His people down; Christ will not let His mission die.

So let's rejoice, because throughout the earth, more people will be brought closer to Christ today and give their hearts to His kingdom.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, Your work on earth continues each day, and new souls are saved for Your kingdom. Thank You for allowing us to be a part of Your great commission. Help us to reach out to other people in charitable and cheerful ways, so that they may also be drawn closer to You. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

John Stuart <traqair@aol.com>
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    John, thank you this is very good and I enjoyed it very much. Thank you.

    Very encouraging.
    God Bless.

    Well said, John. I plan on sharing this powerful, insightful message. Thank you for your vision.

    Thank you for the encouragement. We are always being told that Muslims are the big faith people … glad to hear truth.

    John you are right.
    We don’t often hear the positive things that are happening.

    Our Presbyterian Church is going through difficulties and this message hit home and brought tears hope to me. Thank you and Peace be with you.

    Good morning, John: It is wonderful to know 1/3 rd. of our world’s population is connected to Christ.
    His church will go on growing until He sets His feet back on our planet and rules! I can hardly wait!

    Hi John. Just a note to say I appreciated your observations in the Daily. We need to remember that the media perspective is not all that accurate. God is still building His Church.

    It is so true what you say: “We get hung up on finances and money instead of being inspired by faith and mission.” We are indeed experiencing birth pangs of God bringing about something brand new! This is an exciting time in which we live!

    Greetings, John,
    Thanks for your devotional. What you said about Christ not letting his people down or letting his mission die is what helps to sustain me in ministry when at times all around seems to be denying this. I continue to be blessed by your devotions so please keep writing and God bless you and your ministry.

    Hearty thanks John,
    for an encouraging and reassuring devotional. Where comforts were declining you have sent a shining ray. We Christians have every now and again to be reminded that He will build His church. Sooner or later there will be a revival in the Western churches. His word shall not return unto Him void at all. His promise is true. Our task is to keep praying and believing that times of refreshing will come. We’ve been living too long too high on the hog for our own good…I think.
    God bless you John for this devotional.

    Excellent, John.
    It will be the simplicity and the charity of Christ as He works through His Church that will rebuild the planet.
    I believe it was C.M.Ward who said that God had no intention of destroying the planet as He had too much invested in it (namely His Son), but C.M. Ward continued that from time to time, God had to fumigate the earth to get us back on the straight path. (I think I can smell the incense now!)
    Anyhow, keep writing and keeping pitching!
    God speed.

    Dear John Stuart,
    Thank you for such an encouraging report of the growing numbers of persons in the world becoming Christian. May we praise God and pray for Christians everywhere that they will live and love in Jesus’ Way.
    Yet we must not be come complacent. There are still, I think, over two hundred ??languages in the world waiting to receive the Word of God in their mother-tongue. We pray that God will send his servants to these people with his Word of life. Amen.
    Yet, there are wonderful things being done with audible Bibles on little hand-held electronics where the Word is not yet available in print.
    Please continue to keep us informed.

    You are right about the “closing” and “planting”.
    The Presbyterian church I had attended for years lost its vision and now can’t afford a full time minister.
    The church I go to now is a very liberal denomination, but the minister told me he toes the orthodox line.
    He asked me to join a “Think Tank” on evangelism, exploring how the “planting” can be nourished to produce the fruit that is God’s delight. It is an exciting time for me; after a “wilderness” period pushed me to grow within.
    The PresbyCan devotional is now my only link with “mother church”; your devotions are always an uplift!

    Good Morning Rev. Stuart:
    Praise God for your wonderful words of encouragement. Thank you for assuring us God is still King of Kings and will not allow His church to crumble and fall under the hand of His rival, Satan.
    Like you so ably said, sometimes, we western Christians get do get downhearted about declining congregational numbers and moral standards of society, however we must never forget God’s precious words tell us we will not all be Christians and maybe the time has come when He is purging the church and in doing so only the truly faithful and devoted are remaining to enjoy and proclaim the true word of God.
    You mentioned the fact we get hung up on finances and money instead of being inspired by faith and mission and this is very true. Christ will not let His mission die if those who sit in the pews are those who want to hear the word of God and serve Him every day in every way.
    Churches are indeed springing up everywhere and we should be so thankful the word of God is being proclaimed to those who want to tell and hear the Old Old Story. Let us humbly praise the Master knowing He will never leave or forsake we who are faithful to His Word.
    I loved this message, we hear so much about the Christian Church dying and in some places the congregations are becoming smaller and smaller, however, It is dying only to those who do not want to be part of God’s wonderful plan of salvation and are ready and willing to search for happiness in some other way.
    You write with the future of the Christian Church and it’s people in mind.

    Dear John,
    God’s Spirit is working His purpose out as year passes on to year!

    Thank you, John, for being so positive. What an uplifting article. It really lifted my spirits.

    Thank you, John, for reminding us that the Church of Christ is still marching onward, gathering many as it goes.
    Every blessing on you and your family.

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