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Written by Matt Sieff
Last Wednesday night was an evening of great relief and excitement for New South Welshmen.
After so many years of defeat, the NSW State of Origin team had a breakthrough in triumphing over the QLD team. For those who follow rugby league, you will understand what I mean when I say NSW finally broke the drought. For those who don't, I'm sure you'll understand the analogy.
Even though several reasons for the Blue's win can be found, one of the most obvious was
their unified defence – something the NSW team seemed to lack over the last decade. Many
rugby league experts will tell you games are won by how well a team stands together against the opposition's attack.
As we approach the meaningful time of Pentecost (and maybe you saw this coming), I'm
reminded of how God's Spirit is one of the greatest unifying factors in the lives of His people.
Ephesians 4:4-6 states the "oneness" that the Body of Christ is to embrace. The result of a
unified approach strengthens the Church to function in healthy co-operation, especially when challenges fall upon the Body of Christ.
Before the State of Origin "kicked off" on Wednesday evening, one of the commentators went through each player's background. The vast majority were from completely different places; coming to rugby league with very different experiences, with some stemming from very humble beginnings. Yet, each team (both NSW and QLD) played with one purpose, direction and hope.
This is also a parallel to what Christ expects as our frame of mind. Even though we differ from each other in the Church, it is the gift of God's Spirit that unites us. Romans 8:14 says "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God". We all "play" on the same team when we rightly respond to God's power.
What does that unified response look like? Acts 2:9-11 tells us that people from all walks of
life had come to observe the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem. However, verses 41- 44
clearly show how those God added to His "ekklesia" (assembly of God's people) after
the apostle Peter's sermon, were unified by more than just observing His Law.
1. Joyful to share God's Word
2. Obedient to heed God's commands
3. Teachable before those Christ appoints
4. Communal, eating together in fellowship
5. Prayerful to remain close to God
6. Reverent of Jesus Christ
7. Generous towards the brethren
All these points reflect the fruit of the Spirit of God. God's Spirit is a wonderful gift that we are expected to use to bring us closer to our Heavenly Father and to each other (John 15:5-6). The Church will face difficulties in its existence, but Christ promises "the gates of hell will not prevail against it". As the Head of the Body, He will oversee its longevity in the world. However, what takes place on the inside of the Church (how well we stand together) has a lot to do with what we give to it in love, humility and service.
If there's a "drought" of unity amongst ourselves, then stirring up God's Spirit is the answer to breaking the drought.
So let's be encouraged by those who became part of the Church on that Day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts chapter 2. And let's continue to walk side by side as the "family" team of the Great God who is bringing many sons to glory!
Scripture tells us that we, too, need to undergo a transformation - a change, with God's help, from "the old man" to "the new man," a human being "renewed in knowledge" and "created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness" (Colossians 3:9-10; Ephesians 4:22-24). In this lesson we discuss this remarkable change, made possible by the transforming power of God's Spirit.
What are the roots, the history, of the Church? What sets apart people whom God calls His own? How does God use the Church to achieve His purposes? What does the Church do for you, and what should its members do for the Church? How can you be part of what God is doing through His Church? In this lesson you will learn what the Bible teaches about God's Church and what it means for you.
In this booklet we will examine the Bible's teaching on conversion—it is not just a one-time event. Instead the Scriptures reveal that it is a process. The process begins with God's calling, followed by the key steps of repentance, baptism and the receiving of the Holy Spirit, finally climaxing with the return of Jesus Christ — when the dead in Christ are resurrected to immortality and given eternal life — the ultimate transformation!
Are you desiring a closer relationship with God? If so, where do you start? What tools can you use to grow spiritually and build that all-important relationship with your Creator? This important study aid will set you on the right path. Read and begin implementing these important elements today!
Almost 2,000 years ago, a miraculous, momentous event occurred—the New Testament Church was founded on the Feast of Pentecost. What made this event so astounding—and Acts 2 records that the circumstances of that day were truly dramatic—was the giving of the Holy Spirit to the followers of Jesus Christ, just as He had promised.
Have you ever considered how much the Easter holiday just doesn’t add up? Start with the timing: Jesus said He would be in the tomb three days and three nights. But do the math—a Good Friday crucifixion to a resurrection on Sunday morning is at most only one day and small parts of two others, plus two nights. Also, John’s Gospel tells us Jesus was already resurrected before sunrise, so we can’t count that part of a day. Does the Bible offer a solution? Yes, and when we understand it, everything adds up perfectly! But that’s not all that doesn’t add up about the Easter holiday. What do rabbits, colored eggs and sunrise religious services have to do with Jesus Christ’s resurrection? Discover the fascinating historical truth about all this and much more in this issue of Beyond Today!