Acts 1:1-3 (NKJV)
The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
One of the depressing things about modern American Christianity is that the word “faith” has come to mean belief without evidence. Christianity sure didn’t start out that way.
Jesus didn’t just give the first Christians evidence; he gave them proof – many infallible proofs. But what did He prove?
That He was alive. They knew He was dead; they saw it. That ruined everything. Their faith was crushed.
Then Jesus showed up alive – even healthy. Imagine the shock. Imagine how you would have felt.
We tend to think that Thomas’ doubt was abnormal. It wasn’t. People don’t just change their minds in an instant. When you see something that can’t be true, you don’t just go, “Well I guess everything I know is wrong.” No, you cling to what you understand, and you don’t believe “your lying eyes.” This is especially true when you’re depressed. Good news just bounces off you like a beach ball.
So, casual chit-chat just wasn’t going to do it for these folks; they needed proof. Nothing less was going to fix their broken faith.
And they were going to need rock-solid faith for the coming persecution. In fact, the faith they had before Jesus was crucified wouldn’t have cut it. They needed something better, and the resurrection was just what the doctor ordered. After seeing him they didn’t just think Jesus is God; they knew it.
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. – Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
These eyewitnesses went on to live and die in poverty and torture without recanting. Their lives testify to the truth of what they saw.
That’s our proof.
The early church was strong because its faith was strong. The modern American church is weak because its faith is weak. We think it’s all true. We hope it’s all true. But we aren’t so sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. That’s why the modern American church can’t seem to get off the couch.
We need a revival.
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