Sections of church history are like sections of the Old Testament. While there are glorious moments, there are many periods where people just plain messed up! In the previous post, Part of the Good News is Bad News, I include an appendix that lists 40 verses where the people “did evil in the sight of the Lord” that illustrates how common that behavior was. These verses are included for our learning:
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. (Rom 15:4 ESV)
I want to look at the verses after that:
May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, (Rom 15:5-8 ESV)
Look at the words here: endurance, encouragement, harmony, accord, glory! The point of looking at what is past and being instructed by it is to have these great qualities in our lives!
Despite what may have happened in the past we are charged to:
But I say, walk by the Spirit, (Gal 5:16 ESV)
And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Eph 5:2 ESV)
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Rom 15:13 ESV)
For all the incredible power and tremendous spiritual qualities we see in the first believers they were living in a dangerous world with a knowledge of how believers in the past had erred.
So the charge is still the same for us. We need to learn from the past while we walk in the spirit, in love, filled with joy and peace in believing, abounding in hope!
So, if the material gets to where you can’t do that, stop looking at it. I don’t believe that everyone is called to do the same thing at the same time.
The analogy that we are given by the Apostle Paul is that we are different parts of the same body. Some are hands, some are legs, some are eyes, some are kidneys, livers, and lungs. In other words they are different parts doing different things to help the body. These functions are things they were made to do, their calling, if you will. If the eye says it wants to be a lung, how does that work?
Likewise, in the body, we are called to different functions in the body. While all can share the word, some are called to be teachers and apostles. These offices are called to share the word to a degree way beyond the rest of us believers. That doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t share the word, we just don’t do it to the degree that teachers and apostles do.
I don’t know that everyone is called to study original Christianity and church history in the depth that I feel called to. There is a way that it grounds me. It is something that I feel called to do, and I feel the leading of the spirit in it.
Look at where the spirit leads you to grow, and to increase in the fruit of the spirit. Remember that the priority is that we walk and rejoice in the Lord.