April 20, 2018
Galatians 1:13… For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently, and tried to destroy it.
This letter was written by Paul, who, before he was saved, was known as Saul. He was a Pharisee in the Jewish religion and was zealous for the things of God. He viewed the church of Jesus Christ, which was just getting started, to be a heresy. He tried to destroy it. God miraculously saved him when he was on the road to Damascus to persecute the Christians in that town. I realized, as I read this, that we owe a great debt to the early Christians. They were not large in numbers and did not have much success to rely on. But they stood their ground, even thought they were under attack from all sides, including from the former religious community. And Saul, who was a bigshot in the Jewish tradition, was persecuting them and even killing them when he could. The church survived and is going strong today. Jesus said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” That’s what we are part of. We are not part of a social group that is trying to be heard. We are part of a community that has survived challenges for about 2000 years.
No matter what you are facing, God can handle it. And, if you are part of His church. He will take care of you. We, humans, have a tendency to think our troubles are the worst ever. As I read history, I realize it is not true. Many people have suffered greatly for the sake of the gospel. I read a book many years ago... “The book of martyrs” which told the stories of men and women who had given their lives for the gospel. That can either make me feel wimpy or it can strengthen the heritage upon which I stand. I choose this morning to consider the strength of the Church, which has survived much. I am standing with many faithful people, who have gone before me, and I am proclaiming the greatest message ever written… “God sent Jesus to die that we might live.” I do not say that the message is easy to understand, I say, it is the greatest. The Church is not man’s idea about getting to God. The Church is God’s idea about relating to Him. Notice, I put a capital C on Church. That is my way of designating the Church, Jesus is building.