History of the Church
By Nick Bibile
What is church history?
In just one sentence, the church history is, “Accomplishing the purpose of God in history.” This include even the very details.
9 remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no
other; I am God, and there is none like me,
10 declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
11 calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.
When did the history of church missions begin?
89: 3 You have said, “I have made a covenant
with my chosen one; I have sworn to David my servant:
4 ‘I will establish your offspring forever, and build your throne for all generations.’” Selah
5 Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord, your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones!
It began from God himself. Through out in eternity in the counsel of God, the Father purposed to give a people to the Son. Church history is the outworking of God’s purpose. Yes, history have a purpose and you and I are part of that purpose. Church history is always active going forward to fulfill that purpose.
Rev 5: 9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are
you to take the scroll and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.
Some Important Points on Church History
You may have heard that church history is a boring subject. That is not so. Church history is important for every believer.
There is a saying, “Those who are ignorant of the past are doomed to repeat it” It is very true especially when you are a Christian.
Romans 15: 4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
1 Cor 10: 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.
Let me give you some points why church history is important?
Dan 5:34 For his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation
Grafting of the Gentiles
Jesus told Nicodemus, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)
Also Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world” Meaning not only the Jews but also the Gentiles who will believe in him.
Jesus told the disciples to preach the gospel beginning from Jerusalem to all nations, including the Gentile nations.
Ac 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Early Disciples were about 120
Acts 1:12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away. 13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. 15 In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120)
Fulfillment of John 3:16
God told apostle Paul “I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” Acts 13:47
Ac 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.
No wonder why Nicodemus could not understand when Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Joh 3:16)
The world is any Jew or Gentile who believes in God.
Nature of the Church
John “My kingdom is not of this world. (John 18:36)
This spiritual kingdom will be enlarged to all the families of the earth.
Mat 24: 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
Corruption of Rome
Rome fell from the inside out The Roman Empire lasted from 27 BC - 476 AD, a period exceeding 500 years. There was idolatry, immorality, adultery, perversion and orgies and divorce. Emperors such as Tiberius kept a group of young boys for his pleasure. There were thousands of prostitutes in Rome.
The apostolic period extends from the Day of Pentecost to the death of apostle John, and covers about seventy years, from 30 to 100 A.D. It began in Palestine, extended over Syria, Asia Minor, Greece, and Italy. The most prominent centers are Jerusalem, Antioch, and Rome, which represent respectively the mother churches of Jewish, Gentile. As early as 58 A.D Paul could say:
" Romans 15:19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; 20 and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else's foundation."
He afterwards carried it to Rome, where it had already been known before, and possibly as far as Spain, the western boundary of the empire.
There was immorality and corruption in Roman Empire. Paul often told the early Christian church not to go back to their old life styles and not to get tempted of wickedness.
Eph 2: 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
Also see Ephesians 5:1-4
Christianity brought freshness and purity, the living water of the new creation. Those days men had many women, Christianity appealed to the women, as it was against immorality and adultery. Christianity came down from heaven to the wicked men and women and were transformed to saints. There were Signs and wonders and extraordinary demonstrations of the Holy Spirit, heathens were converted. Christianity did not come with a sword, without a war or bloodshed, but by holiness and the power of the Holy Spirit, people were converted. Christians were humble, lowly and did not have a great outward appearance, but were filled in the Holy Spirit and without silver or gold, strong in faith, fervent in love, and joyful in hope were able to take the gospel to the most wicked places. They were earthen vessels the imperishable treasures of heaven.
The Church was a Light to the Nations
1 Pet 2: 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.