Reformed Pres Church in St. Pete -Christmas 2017

The Universal Church

As we consider the early church in the book of Acts, it’s important for us to see ourselves connected to her, though (no doubt), were we transported in time to her (or her to us), we would all find stark defenses of culture, including language, music, dress, buildings, food, and even some doctrine. We would feel out of place because we would be out of place. The same is true with Christian churches today in different locations and denominations. Nevertheless, we would soon find great comradery with them as well since we are all followers of Jesus Christ and have been incorporated into His Body. We are family. We are brothers and sisters. As the Apostle Paul wrote:

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. ― Ephesians 4:1-5

God “put all things under Jesus’ feet and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:22-23). Jesus was leading and directing His church in the first century, He has done so for the past 2,000+ years, and He continues to do so today. Even with our differences, we remain one in the Spirit. All Christians, in all times, in all places, from every tribe and tongue, from every nation and ethnicity, are our people. Cyprian, a distinguished Chris­tian Father of the third century, wrote:

The Church is one, which, by its fruitful increase, is enlarged into a multitude. As the rays of the sun, though many, are yet one luminary; as the branches of a tree, though numerous, are all established on one firmly rooted trunk; and as many streams springing from the same fountain, though apparently dispersed abroad by their overflowing abundance, yet have their unity preserved by one common origin; so the Church, though it extends its rays throughout the world, is one Light. Though everywhere diffused, its unity is not broken. By the abundance of its increase, it extends its branches through the whole earth. It spreads far and wide its flowing streams; yet it has one Head; one Fountain; one Parent; and is enriched and enlarged by the issues of its own fruitfulness.

May we look beyond the walls of GCPC and the CREC and see the expanse of God’s people throughout history and throughout the world. May we build on the previous labors of the church, and may we continue to labor together now. Pray for the great advancement of His kingdom.

-Pastor Booth

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