Wednesday Night Prayer Meetings?

September 13, 2019 at 8:34 am | Posted in Q&A | 1 Comment
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Question: I don’t see the big deal about going to church on Wednesday nights, especially if it’s just a prayer meeting. I can pray at home. Why should I go listen to other people pray?

Answer: Well, attendance numbers indicate that the vast majority of Christians agrees with you, but there are many reasons why the members of a local church body should meet together when the church has a regular service, whether or not it’s a prayer meeting. Instead of addressing that, though, since your question is specifically about prayer, take a look at how church meetings took place in the Bible. If you read through the Book of Acts, you will see the Church of Jesus Christ, from its very inception, has been dedicated to the practice of corporate prayer (praying together as one body), and physically meeting together for this purpose. It is difficult to read very far in Acts without coming upon a passage of Scripture alluding to prayer. Just two examples:

And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where MANY WERE GATHERED TOGETHER PRAYING.

Acts 12:12

And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and PRAYED WITH THEM ALL.

Acts 20:36

I capitalized the key words for emphasis, but you can also check out Acts 1:14, 3:1, 6:4, 12:5, and 16:13-16. If you pray by yourself or with your spouse and children at home, that is great, but, as Christians, we must have a deep concern with obeying the Bible, and with involving ourselves in church according to the Bible’s principles and precepts for what our responsibilities as Christian church members are. Remember, corporate prayer in a church meeting should not be one person praying aloud and everyone else listening in. It should be a group of people unified by the Holy Spirit, all praying mentally to the same Lord, even while one person is leading by speaking aloud. Don’t cut yourself, or your family, off from this crucial means of grace and growth in Christ-likeness. “Our” denotes plural – a group of people praying together – in “Our Father…” (Matthew 6:9).

Acts

December 7, 2011 at 9:53 am | Posted in Acts | 2 Comments
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The Books of Acts records the organization and spreading of the Christian Church at its beginnings. Many of the things we do today in church – evangelism, preaching, praying, singing, fellowshipping, sharing meals, ministering to the needy, missions and missionary support – are patterned on the way things were done by the early Church in the 1st Century. Acts is an invaluable resource for Christians today. Below are links to lessons which feature some of the highlights from the Book of Acts:

1. Powerful Changes
2. The Power of the Resurrection and of the Holy Ghost 
3. Praying in Between
4. In One Place in One Accord
5. Unction in Church
6. For the Ladies…
7. Acts and the Apostles: Activated, Authorized, Audible, and Accountable
8. From Power to Proclamation to Prayer *
9. God’s Decretive Will
10. The Blessing and the Cost of an Honest Report
11. Beware the Fear that Falls
12. Exposing the Enemy and Going Forth with the Truth
13. Changing Names and Calling Names (Acts 9-11)
14. Three Questions and Three Answers (Acts 9:4-6)
15. Catechism Question 18
16. Testing Your Testimony

17. Preaching, Pressing, and Pushing On
18. The Life of a Missionary: Having a Fit, Making a Tough Choice, and Singing in Jail
19. The Most Important Question in Life
20. Don’t Get Caught Up the Creek Without Your Oars
21. Varied Results
22. Time Is Running Out
23. Insincerity, Inaccuracy, or Incompletion?
24. Promoted with Straight “A”s
25. The Man Who Fell out of Church (Narrative)
26. The Man Who Fell out of Church (Application)
27. Conscious of the Conscience
28. Innocent Bystanders
29. The More You See, the Better You Look
30. The Backstroke

31. When in Rome, Preach to the Romans

*most read post in series

When in Rome, Preach to the Romans

December 15, 2009 at 2:12 pm | Posted in Acts, Resurrection | 7 Comments
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Acts Chapter 24 tells us that Ananias followed Paul to Caesarea with his lawyer, Tertullus. There, they brought false charges against Paul under Roman law. The charges were as follows:

1. Disturbing the peace (being a pest by preaching the only way to true peace).
2. Sedition by leading an illegal religion (being a true Christian).
3. Profaning the temple (being friends with gentiles).

The Jews were afraid of a revival, but they wanted the Romans to fear a riot.

This was Paul’s summation:

Or else let these same here say, if they have found any evil doing in me, while I stood before the council, Except it be for this one voice, that I cried standing among them, Touching the resurrection of the dead I am called in question by you this day. And when Felix heard these things, having more perfect knowledge of that way, he deferred them, and said, When Lysias the chief captain shall come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter.

Acts 24:20-21

He brought up the Resurrection, which forced the Pharisees’ hand, and we see that Felix had some knowledge of “the Way.”

Paul was given certain liberties, but he was chained to a new Roman guard every six hours. Talk about a “captive congregation!” For two years he witnessed for the Lord in Caesarea as a prisoner.

He also got a chance to preach to Felix and Drusilla. Before them, he explained a fact of life that we don’t often call by its real name anymore. We tend to call it mistakes, weaknesses, tendencies, faults, errors, immaturity, or illness. But its real name is sin. Felix was convicted and he trembled, but he decided to procrastinate. Procrastination is one of Satan’s greatest tools. Felix thought Paul was his prisoner, but Felix was really the prisoner.

By Chapter 25 Felix had put the high priest, Jonathan, to death. The new high priest was Ishmael. Festus had replaced Felix as governor. Festus had to report to Marshal Dillon. (Sorry, I grew up watching Gunsmoke, and couldn’t resist!) Ishmael and the Jewish council revived the plot to kill Paul, so they wanted him returned to Jerusalem for his trial. They were going to kill him on the way there. However, Paul – as a Roman citizen – applied to Caesar Augustus (who we know as Nero), so he had to be protected and taken to Rome.

The last “King Herod” (Agrippa) shows up (possibly in an incestuous relationship with his sister, Bernice), and he and Festus decide that Herod will examine Paul. But Paul turned into the judge and proclaimed the Truth to Festus, Herod, Bernice, and everyone else in attendance. This is the longest of Paul’s sermons recorded in the Bible. It is found in Acts 25:32 – 26:32. Here is a loose outline of it:

1. Paul used to be very religious.
2. His eyes were opened by the Light.
3. His ears were opened by the Word.
4. He obeyed the Word.
5. He began his new life by seeing a vision and hearing a voice, but he had continued faithfully as a willing slave – even when things seemed impossible.

Festus accused Paul of being “beside himself,” and King Agrippa mocked him. However, we must wonder if this mocking was covering up an inside struggle when he said:

…Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.

Acts 26:28 (emphasis added)

Do you know somebody who thinks he or she is too wicked to be a Christian?

Paul was officially declared not guilty, but still had to be sent to Rome by virtue of his appeal to Caesar. Chapter 27 shows that Satan very badly wanted to keep Paul out of Rome. Paul had already survived plots to kill him, riots, arrests, two illegal trials, and now a shipwreck!

Paul advised that they wait in Fair Havens for safer sailing after the winter, but the Roman captain listened to the pilot and the owner – the “experts.” (Warren Wiersbe says that an “expert” is a regular “spurt” under pressure.) These experts were under pressure to deliver grain and make money.

Even in Acts 28, Satan is still not done – he sends a snake to bite Paul on Malta! When Paul doesn’t die, he is tempted in the area of pride by people who want to worship him. Satan is pulling out all the stops.

For two years Paul was chained to Roman soldiers in Rome, witnessing, preaching, and being used to write Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon. He was probably released, and he probably went to Spain where he was used to write I and II Timothy, and Titus. He was arrested again in A.D. 67, and tradition says he was beheaded. The Gospel he preached and lived so passionately lives on, and it always will.

The More You See, the Better You Look

December 1, 2009 at 10:42 am | Posted in Acts, Biblical Eyesight | 17 Comments
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In Acts Chapter 22 the Apostle Paul is telling the story of how he went from being the lost, hell-bound Saul of Tarsus, to being the saved, Heaven-bound man of God. Having been struck blind on the road to Damascus by the overwhelming glory of Christ Jesus Himself, Paul is taken to a devout Jewish man named Ananias. We pick up the story in Verse 13:

…Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him. And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.

Acts 22:13-15 (emphasis added)

In these three verses there are five references to the gift of sight. Saul had received a great gift from the Lord – the ability to see again. However, that gift was not given just for the purpose of being a gift. It was a gift given for a reason. The reason was so that Saul could see the Just One, Jesus Christ, and then tell others about Him, and so that others might see Him, too.

Eyesight is one of the greatest earthly gifts of God there is. However, we have an amazing ability to receive earthly gifts from God, and then make those gifts, rather the Giver of those gifts, the objects of our attention, affection, and even adoration.

The same can be said of spiritual gifts. Have you been given the gift of being able to be forgiving? Then, rejoice! But do not think of yourself as an expert on forgiveness, and revel in pride over how forgiving you can be. Think of forgiveness as a gift given to help you understand how much it cost God, and how much He must have loved you, to forgive you. Forgiveness is a gift that removes a barrier so that you can see God better!

Have you been given the gift of victory over sin to the extent where you are able to live a more pure and holy life? Then, rejoice! But do not think of yourself as an authority on personal purity and holy living. Think of purity and holiness as a gift which allows you into the intimate presence of the Pure and Holy God, so that you may see Him better! (Matthew 5:8)

Have you been given the gift of spiritual insight? Then, rejoice! But do not rejoice that you have become the person that people seek out when they have spiritual questions or problems, and do not expect the praise or compensation of men when you are able to help them. Instead, think of spiritual insight as a way to better know God!

Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 9:23-24


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