Most people are concerned about their own interests, and it is hard for any of us to think much beyond them.
I remember one pastor had a plaque on his desk with a saying on it, “People are not against you. They are for themselves.”
As the Apostle Paul thought about the churches he had planted, he lamented, “Everyone looks out for his own interests, and not the interests of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 2:21).
Isn’t this true? How many of us are really able to think beyond our own prosperity and comfort? How many of us can sacrifice for a cause that is truly bigger than ourselves?
As a Pastor, I need to ask this, too. Would I care about the prosperity of the church I serve if I was not its Pastor? How much do I care about church in general? Do I participate in church activities when I’m not being paid?
If we’re honest, as Pastors, a lot of our interest in church is more self-interest than we realize.
Truly, everyone looks out for his own interests and not the interests of Jesus Christ.
Why are we so obsessed with our own interests? Continue reading “Hardly Anybody Does This, But Everyone Should”
What progress can the church expect to make in history? What are the prospects of the church before Christ returns?
There are several places in Scripture that indicate a progressive growth in the kingdom of God before Christ’s return. For example, Jesus compares the kingdom to a mustard seed: “Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches” (Mt. 13:32).
Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel envisions a kingdom that breaks all other kingdoms. It “became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth” (2:35).
I believe that it is very hazardous to predict the future, even with the images that the Bible gives us of the future. Most who have tried to do it in any detail have been totally wrong. It is not for us to know the times and the seasons.
That being said, I predict that Jesus will return on October 25, 2134. Just kidding. Not going to make that sort of prediction.
However, I do think that history has shown us enough for us to believe that these images of progressive progress do tell us something about the direction of history. The movement of history seems also to teach that the kingdom will continue to make progress throughout history before the consummation.
Consider the early church. It grew from a small group in Jerusalem to a multitude of congregations throughout the world.
From there, the church continued to grow until it overran the Roman Empire and displaced the pagan religions there.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, Christian missionaries went out and brought the Gospel to those who had overran the Empire. The conversion of “barbarian” tribes continued throughout the Middle Ages. Continue reading “The Progress of the Church in History”