October 17, 2016

Great Fear

Normally when the church loses a prominent contributor we react with grief…grief for the loss of the person and also for the loss to the church. We mentally calculate such a death in terms of the person’s service, financial contributions, personality and spiritual knowledge. In the early church Dorcas, who was always doing good and helping the poor, died. To the joy of believers and the widows Peter then raised her from the dead and restored her to the church. (Acts 9:36-43). Ananias and Sapphira, in spite of the fact that they exaggerated the amount of their donation to the church, were still big financial contributors to the work of the Apostles. However, because they lied to the Holy Spirit, each fell down and died when confronted by Peter. The church did not grieve in the loss of this husband and wife, but rather, “Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events” (Acts 5:11 NIV).

1 comment:

Steve Corey said...


-----The church is not without the effects of social psychology. The looking-glass principle has been the basic tenet of psychology for nearly three centuries. Its noted effect is that people behave like the people around them behave. Add to that the fact that people are not studious by nature. Most tend to accept what they hear. But accepting what is heard is dangerous. So, many people more interested in truth than personal advantage will be selective of their information sources. It is still not the best way to do the business of running a life, but it is a reality.
-----I often think that if God had His way regardless of the effects to others, He would just annihilate this world and Satan’s rebellious mess and then go on with His own perfection. Eventually, though, He would be all alone, at least I suppose the inevitable question would keep popping up, “Who are you to say what’s right?” It seems logical that at least a partial purpose in this age of grace we now experience is a bit complicated demonstration of the answer to that question: God is. Well now, anyway, He is somewhat allowing Satan’s rebellion to advance. He is allowing people and demons alike to choose their own paths and to make their own expressions and think their own thoughts for their own reasons. And the world and all God’s faithful angels are very soon to see the sum total effect of all that careless thinking and doing work its way through the looking-glass principle unto a final, horrific handful of loathsome years.
-----We like to think the church has had a dampening effect on evil’s growth. A quick scan of the letters to the angels of the seven churches in Revelation rather helps clear up that misconception. Two of those churches were praiseworthy only, one for being persecuted, the other for keeping His word and spreading the gospel. The rest were major foul-ups to which their letters addressed shelter for only the faithful few, the remnants. If any holding back has been done in these last two centuries of the world’s culture going off-the-edge corrupt, it has been done by churches of the Smyrna and Philadelphian types and by the remnants of the other types.
-----For the most part, the church organization itself has become a contentious bone rather than the peaceful haven Christ’s body of remnants are. That’s what happens when time has introduced too many leaders to too many people who know their stuff only by what leaders say. And this is a reality that God knows He must work with.
-----It makes sense to me that the events and affairs of the first century church were rather spectacularly miraculous so the whole ball game of this “church thing” would at lest get rolling in the right direction. John and Jude wrote letters to the church apposing heresies arising even in those early days, and many other letters of the New Testament at least mention the heretical. That pressure was there. If these men God chose for leaders were not given the beacon-like supernatural powers to distinguish their leadership from the heretical, the church’s important first few steps may not have been sound enough to support the evil centuries to come.

Love you all,
Steve Corey