In the days of the early church, we can see another example of the issue of worship, and of what people worship—this time in the ministry of the apostle Paul when he was in Athens, the place where three of the world’s most influential philosophers (Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle) once lived.
What a different audience Paul had to deal with here than Peter did years earlier before all those devout Jews in Jerusalem!
Read Acts 17:15–34, the account of Paul’s preaching in [...]
A great part of the Protestant worship tradition has been the preaching of the Word. A sacred responsibility falls upon the one given the task to feed the sheep, to teach and to preach and to exhort and to encourage. Music, liturgy, prayer, the Lord’s Supper, and foot washing all have their place, but, perhaps, nothing’s more important than what is preached from the pulpit during the worship hour.
Read Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14–41). How are [...]
From a human perspective, Jesus’ earthly ministry did not look so successful. Though He had attracted a fairly popular following while alive, it did not catch on en masse. Many leaders rejected Him, and, of course, the Romans crucified Him, causing His closest disciples to scatter and flee.
Things looked pretty bad until His resurrection and then Pentecost, when suddenly His followers found a new boldness to proclaim their crucified Master as the Messiah of Israel. It was only after the [...]
Read for This Week’s Study: Acts 1:1–11, 2:14–41, 17:15–34, 18:1–16, 1 Corinthians 13.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1, NIV).
Soon after Christ returned to heaven, the early church began to expand and grow. At first, it almost was exclusively Jews who were accepting Jesus as the Messiah and coming into the ranks of believers. Indeed, at [...]
Read Ellen G. White, “God With Us,” pp. 19–26, in The Desire of Ages.
“Not by seeking a holy mountain or a sacred temple are men brought into communion with heaven. Religion is not to be confined to external forms and ceremonies. The religion that comes from God is the only religion that will lead to God. In order to serve Him aright, we must be born of the divine Spirit. This will purify the heart and renew the mind, [...]
Over the long years of Christian history, the church has been divided over the issue of Christ’s divinity. Was He truly the eternal God, one with the Father since eternity? Or was He created later, a being who came into existence through the creative power of the Father?
Though early on in our own church, some confusion on this matter existed, Ellen G. White made it very clear years ago what her position was—a position that, as a church, we have [...]
“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him” (John 4:23).
After pointing the Samaritan away from specific places of worship and then telling her of the superiority of the Jewish faith over hers, Jesus then tells the woman about “the true worshipers.” In verse 21, Jesus said that the hour “is coming” when people will not worship either in that mountain [...]
As we have seen numerous times, even with all the intricate and deep forms of worship that the Lord had instituted for Israel, it was not the forms alone that the Lord cared about. The forms and traditions and liturgy were all means to an end, and that end was a person surrendered in body and mind to his or her Creator and Redeemer. It is much easier, however, to make one’s religion a series of formulas, traditions, and outward [...]
“And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it [...]
Though Mary, the mother of Jesus, has been the subject of an intense amount of religious interest through the centuries, most of that interest is tradition derived from a host of sources that are not rooted in Scripture.
Nevertheless, in the question of Christ’s coming to earth, Mary played a crucial and pivotal role: in her womb was the Savior of the world miraculously conceived; in her womb He grew into the infant Jesus. Looking back with all the hindsight and [...]