When we left the church we once attended for another church, we were told by the pastor we could no longer fellowship with his parishioners. We were even “unfriended” by some on Facebook. It’s hurtful and sad when Christians behave in such a way – but I wonder if we fully understood church history would our behavior change?
First, allow me to back up and say, we left the church I’m referring to because it was not aligned with our core values as a family. As Christians we are mistaken if we believe we MUST stay at one church – even if that church is not right for us. Every church is designed differently, and our family was prayerfully seeking something else. We did not leave because of an offense. Regardless of where one chooses to fellowship, the purpose as Christians should be the same – to spread the gospel message.
In the early Christian church, it might be assumed that missionaries such as Paul and the apostles spread the gospel. That is true, however, the growth of the Christian church expanded through martyrdom. Those who literally died for Christ. Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullian once said “The blood of martyrs will be the seed of Christians.” St. Perpetua was the most famous martyr of the third century. She was a young mother of only twenty-two with a nursing baby – and she died for Christ. Her murder was brutal, yet heroic. There was also unity within the Christian community. They were common folk living for Christ and their common lives expanded the gospel.
I get disturbed today with all the infighting within churches and denominations. We are all here for the same purpose. We do not have to agree on every detail – we just need to agree that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior and through Him we have salvation. We don’t all need a mega-church. We can preach to two faithful people who in turn will spread the gospel further than we can imagine. Did the early martyrs die for us to fight one another? No. Or better yet, did Jesus Christ die for us to be in battle with other churches or Christians? We have lost focus – and I pray we get back on track. This blog post is not even a nugget of what the early church went through so that we could be here today worshipping Jesus. Take time to study early church history for your sake, and for the sake of people God will put in your path.
Dear Lord, help us remember the purpose of what you came and died for.Help us to be people who die to ourselves, so that your message can live in our lives. Help us remember to seek you first every day. Help us to remember, serving you is not our career – it’s our calling. Help us reach the lost and help us spread your love to all nations. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Colossians 3:15 “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”