Part 1 – Blogging Through Acts: Of One Accord

Today is the beginning of a new series entitled “Blogging Through Acts.” As I study through the Book of Acts, periodically I will expound on a theme found there.

In these last days, we are witnessing the formation of unbiblical and unholy alliances as professing Christians are willing to work with any group naming the name of Christ (ex. Roman Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witness) in spiritual enterprises. But don’t let the counterfeit ecumenical unity movement fool you into thinking that there isn’t a true unity among genuine followers of Christ.

While the disciples were waiting for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit soon after Jesus’ ascension into heaven, Luke tells us in Acts chapter 1 that they were all together “with one accord” (v. 14). (It is one of Luke’s major themes. In fact, he describes the early believers as such seven times in the Book of Acts!) All of the Apostles, with their various backgrounds, personalities, and political views-along with the rest of Jesus’ followers-finally began to obey His command to “love one another” (John 13:34). Jesus’ prayer that his followers be one as He and the Father are One (John 17:11, 20-23) became a reality. At this point, the twelve no longer argued about who was the greatest, as they did on multiple occasions, including the night Jesus was betrayed (Luke 22:24). Jesus’ mother and brothers, who were present with the disciples at this time, didn’t seek any prominent roles or special recognition, as they could have potentially claimed as members of His family. What was it that brought these followers together for prayer as they waited for the promised Holy Spirit and united them as one? Their shared experience of the reality of the Risen Christ.

Chapter 2 continues in the same vein. After 3,000 people had been converted at Pentecost, verse 42 says “they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” What unified these 3,000+ souls? The Apostles’ doctrine.

Contrary to the popular modern saying “Doctrine divides, but the Spirit unites,” in Acts, we see it was doctrine that united the Believers. And that’s the way it has been throughout Church history. Christians have always been united based on beliefs that are in accordance with the Scriptures. Anyone can be nice to their neighbor, so generosity by itself is no testimony to the Gospel. It is our doctrine, however, that sets us apart as distinctively Christian. And it is this doctrine one must believe in order to be saved. We’ll see some of these truths as we go through the rest of this “Blogging Through Acts” series. (Hint: One major doctrine is in Rom. 10:9).

Did Abraham Call Things Into Existence?

Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. ~Romans 4:16-18

Who is it who calls “those things which be not as though they were”? Is it God or Abraham? Verse 18 is clearly referring to Abraham. It is he who believed and to whom the promise was given. But what about verse 17? Standard Word of Faith (WoF) teaching says this is Abraham, and therefore we can also exercise our faith by calling “those things which be not as though they were,” essentially speaking things into existence. However, paying attention to the context and comparing Scripture with Scripture leads to a different conclusion. Notice what verse 17 says, “…even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.” It’s easy to see God is the One Who speaks things into existence because He is the only One who can give life to the dead.

But is this consistent with the rest of Scripture? Where else can we see God speaking things into existence? One only need to open their Bible to its first page to find the answer. That’s how He created the world. “And God said, ‘Let there be…,’ and there was…” (Gen. 1). This WoF teaching turns Abraham, and therefore us, into little gods, giving us the power of creation, a power only belonging to God. But the “little gods” heresy is a topic for a whole other post.

So what was Abraham’s part? Where does his faith come into play? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness” (Rom. 4:3, also see Gen. 15:6). It was the object of Abraham’s faith, i.e. God, that made the difference, not his words or positive confession.

Nigeria: Did You Forgive? (Voice of the Martyrs Radio, Feb 6, 2015)

Imagine opening your door to menacing Boko Haram terrorists, who then ask you to deny your faith in Christ. Or imagine watching other Christian believers getting killed right in front of you. Maybe it’s a friend, or a father or other loved one. Many believers face this reality every day in countries like Nigeria. Voice of the Martyrs is perhaps the first of many organizations who have made it their mission to help our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. Their stories deserve to be told. We need to remember them and keep them in our prayers.

Welcome!

Hello internet!

Welcome to the blog of Jimmy Coates and Rebecca Jefferson. We would love for you to come and enjoy our posts about the Bible, theology, apologetics, current events and the occasional short story. So sit back and enjoy!