Summary: The church has influenced the world over the years because the message changes people. It will change you too.
Here’s the church / here’s the steeple
November 30, 2008
+ Various Scriptures in Acts.
We are preparing a mailer to send to over 10,000 homes in December. The footer at the bottom says, “Love God Love People Change the World.”
Think about it. How would our world change if every man, woman, and child, “loved the Lord their God with all their heart, mind and soul, and loved their neighbor as themselves”? – the greatest Commandment
It would be a revolution. Over the years the church has made great strides in changing the world though love, and has made terrible blunders.
A people who follow the great commandment would not only lead a revolution but would wield great influence in society.
I’m going to pick up a little where we left off last week. As we look at how Christianity has influenced America, the world, and you.
We can take a short trip back through history and see the influence of the Church in all parts of life.
The condition of the slaves was horrible in the ages of antiquity. According to law and usage a slave was considered, not as a human being, but as property, over which the master had the most absolute control, up to the point of inflicting death. Gradually, the spirit of Christianity restricted these inhuman rights.
According to Roman law the power of the father over his children was as absolute as that of the master over his slaves: it extended to their freedom and life. The harsher features of this usage were gradually eliminated. Thus, according to the laws of different emperors, the killing of a child either by the father or by the mother was declared to be one of the greatest crimes.
In the ancient law of many of the countries the wife was, like the rest of the family, the property of the husband, who could dispose of her at will. Christianity rescued woman from this degrading condition by attributing to her equal rights, and by making her the companion of the husband.
Last wills, Property rights, Contracts, Legal procedure
As we know them today were woven by Christian Influence. Even if the Atheist doesn’t want to admit it, Christianity has done a lot of good for the world as it has influenced it in positive ways.
America was built on the foundation of Christian Ethics.
Moral laws, freedom of worship…
The church can change the world, because its message changes people:
2 Cor 5:17-18 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
Rob Testimony here: I had one of our members give a personal story of how Christ had changes his life...
I can think of no greater change on a Biblical character than the change in the life of the man who wrote those words, Saul of Tarsus.
We think of Saul, later named Paul, as a great intellectual, a great man of faith, the key evangelist that traveled 100s of miles spreading the gospel of Christ.
But, the first time we see Saul is in Acts 7:58, 8:1 Read - explain
By his own admission, he
4 I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison,
5 as also the high priest and all the Council can testify. I even obtained letters from them to their brothers in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished. (NIV)
9 "I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the saints in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them.
11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. In my obsession against them, I even went to foreign cities to persecute them.
Paul was a militant terrorist…
12 "On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. (NIV)
And on that fateful day, Jesus appeared to him and rocked his world!
He was a changed man…
Not just from Jewish faith to Christian or from darkness to life, or lost to saved, BUT a complete heart change.
No longer would he persecute those who disagreed with him, he would share love and compassion with the world.
Why? He tells Timothy, 1 Tim 1:12-13
12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.