OH… I GREW UP IN THE CHURCH!
How far back can you go in your memories? What’s the first Easter you can remember? How old were you? When I’ve asked myself those same questions I’ve been surprised. Even though I was “brought up in the church,” my earliest memories are from my early elementary years. I think can remember back as early as second grade. I know that may seem like a long time ago but, considering the fact that we were ALWAYS involved in the church, it just seems like I should be able to recall even further back in my life. Because, after all, “I grew up in the church.”
How many times have you heard someone use that expression, “I grew up in the church,” or “I was brought up in the church?” Not only have I heard that expression or similar ones, more than I can begin to enumerate, I have used it numerous times myself! Unfortunately that religious heritage can become very deceptive. The church doesn’t make us a Christian, Jesus does! Although I shouldn’t neglect my involvement in the church, (see Hebrews 10:25), Jesus is still the only author of my salvation, (Hebrews 12:2).
Peter and John went to the Temple at the time of the afternoon prayer. They met a man at the gate called “Beautiful,” who was unable to walk. Through the power of Jesus Christ they were able to heal the man. As a result of this miracle many people gathered around Peter and John to hear about Jesus. However, this caused a disturbance among some of the members of the Jewish Sanhedrin, who in turn had the apostles arrested. It was while Peter and John were on trial that Peter spoke of this essential truth of the Christian faith, with regard to Jesus he said, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.” Salvation is not in the name of the church or any other religion, it is found in Jesus Christ, a person.
For this season of Lent and Easter we have been talking about “The Jesus-Centered Life.” I pray that you and I will not mistake a “church-centered life,” for the true life God has called us to live and experience.
Trusting in Him,