We live in the digital age. Physical communities have given way to online ones. So what makes the church unique? Why should a person get up on a Sunday, get ready, drive to a location and gather in person with others? What's the point when you can hear great sermons online and listen to all your favorite worship songs on your phone? In this teaching series, we'll explore and discover the irreplaceable, life-giving, transformative power of the church when we return to our roots and live on mission together.
There is a feeling that will change the world... it is intensely personal but doesn't remain private; it is immensely powerful but it is not paralyzing; and it will be persuasive but never pretentious. Discount this feeling and you cannot explain the power of Jesus to change lives today nor can you explain the meteoric rise of the Christian faith that penetrated and prevailed in a hostile empire without ever resorting to the sword or insurrection.
29 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,
“ ‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
35 until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.” ’
36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”
37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
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Eusebius' History of the Christian Church is the earliest history of the Church written between A.D. 290-324. Bishop Eusebius, a learned scholar who lived most of his life in Caesarea in Palestine, broke new ground in writing the History and provided a model for all later ecclesiastical historians. In tracing the history of the Church from the time of Christ to the Great Persecution at the beginning of the fourth century, and ending with the conversion of the Emperor Constantine, his aim was to show the purity and continuity of the doctrinal tradition of Christianity and its struggle against persecutors and heretics.
The History of the Early Church (A.D. 30-451) or The History of the Christian Church are very accessible... The first is from a Catholic/Orthodox perspective the latter from a Calvary Chapel pastor who loves Church history.
Christian History Made Easy: A Quick and Colorful Guide to Understanding the Key Eents and People that Every Christian Should Know explains early church history, the Church Councils, the Great Schism, the Crusades, Francis of Assisi, John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, the Protestant Reformation, and more. Christian History Made Easy presents key church history events and great Christian leaders everyone should know, along with full-color church history timelines, photos, pictures, and maps.
The Story of Christianity: Volume 1: The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation elates the dramatic events, the colorful characters, and the revolutionary ideas that shaped the first fifteen centuries of the church's life and thought.
The Mosaic of Christian Belief: Twenty Centuries of Unity & Diversity traces the contours of Christian belief down through the ages, revealing a pattern of both unity and diversity. He finds a consensus of teaching that is both unitive and able to incorporate a faithful diversity when not forced into the molds of false either-or alternatives.
The Message of Acts by John Stott. The Spirit moves the church into the world. That is how it has always been since the day of Pentecost when the Spirit brought thousands from many countries into the body of Christ. Stott writes, "The Acts of the Apostles have long ago finished; the acts of the followers of Jesus will continue until the end of the world."