I've been thinking ! That can be dangerous I know, but the results of my thinking are some points that are fascinating to me and I thought they might be of interest to you as well.
HAVE YOU EVER NOTICED____
When Paul the Apostle dealt with LEGALISTS [rules keepers], as he did in his letter to the Galatians, he uses the Law of Moses as his weapon of choice to correct them. The Galatians were groups of young Christians [churches] who had a fantastic beginning.
Their response to the preaching of the Apostle was heartwarming. Paul was greatly enthusiastic
about these groups of growing young Christians. But, after a while, word
came to him that legalism, or rules keeping, had set in and it was certainly taking its toll. What
had been a bright and marvelous testimony of the grace and glory of God
was being turned into a dull, apathetic group of rules keepers__ cold,
barren, and empty__ almost devoid of spiritual life. He tried to show them in the Galatian letter that even the law of Moses would never be a good tool for salvation or sanctification. Legalists got the lesson of the Law from the Apostle.
But when he dealt with LIBERTINES, [there are no rules to keep] as he did in his letter to the Corinthians, he NEVER used the Law of Moses as his weapon of choice. In fact, he doesn't even mention the Law in the first Corinthian letter. He did use, however, the Wisdom of God to counteract their misconceived notions of their own wisdom. They were philosophers remember, [Phileo_lovers/ Sophia_wisdom or lovers of wisdom] and liked to think of themselves as people who were smart enough to live their life the way they wanted without ANY rules from ANYONE. In that first Corinthian letter Paul showed them that God's smarts are so far above their own that it made their smarts seem like foolishness. Libertines got the lesson of God's Wisdom from Paul. Not the law of Moses.
I'm finding myself thinking that, culturally, America is more libertine than legalist in the present day and I'm wondering if there might not be a lesson for us here!
HAVE YOU EVER NOTICED___
In the New Testament there is no mention of the early churches ever putting on seminars, holding revival meetings annually, doing workshops to train Christians on how to have quiet times or do scripture memory. Don't hear me say those things are WRONG. I'm not! But it is interesting to me that the early church had none of them, and yet, they had an unbelievable power and even a purity that makes present day church life rather anemic, if not pathetic, in comparison.
What they DID seem to have, however, was an incredible SIMPLICITY about their preaching and teaching of the gospel. They seemed to simply relate all of Who Jesus was/is to everything about who they were, what they had and what they did in life. I think their power and purity was BECAUSE of that simplicity. Christ and His Cross work was the SOURCE of life for them.
The source is that from which we draw all that is really needed for life and is what makes life really worth living. Everything thing else is simply a resource which may help a little but isn't the source for anything. So for those SIMPLE early day Christians JESUS was the source of what made life really life and job, family, church attendance, etc, were all good resources but nothing more.
Present day Christianity is mistakenly making RESOURCES [local church attendance, bible reading, prayer, sermons, witnessing, marriage, family, work, money] the SOURCE in their search for a full and meaningful life and are reaping the unfortunate harvest which is a loss of power and purity in living. [The Jews had done the same thing with the Old Testament scriptures and Jesus reminded them, "You search the scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life but they are they which speak of me."]
I'm often asked, "Whatever happened to the power and Purity of the early Church." My question is,"Whatever happened to the simplicity with which they viewed Christ as their very life?"
Just a couple of things I've noticed.