Wednesday Evening Service
In the Book of Acts, the Christian church was a new group. The term ekklesia refers to a called-out body of believers. They were united in their form of baptism. There are some groups that call themselves churches, but are merely social clubs.
Jesus had started by going to John the Baptist, and then began calling people from what they were doing to Himself. After Jesus died and rose again, the Roman government began persecuting the church. This persecution caused a dispersal of the faith, spreading the Gospel over a wide area. In the Book of Acts, people were angry at the preachers because they didn’t want to face their own sin.
Barnabas had gone to a place to teach the new Christians. Our churches need to be a welcoming place for new Christians to learn. This is a discipling, learning to be more like Christ. The mature Christians here had been persecuted and tortured, and they still told others about Jesus.
To exhort someone is to convince with a strong argument. Barnabas exhorted the young Christians to have “purpose of heart.” He was encouraging them to have a steadfast dedication to Jesus Christ. If we’ll put our heart in the right place, we can endure any trial.
When Daniel and the other Hebrew boys were captured by the Chaldeans, their captors attempted to integrate them into their society. However, Daniel purposed in his heart not to betray God. Daniel had made his choice before he had to. He had already made his decision before the temptation came.
Daniel decided to live his life for God, regardless of circumstances. Even when some princes attempted to destroy him out of jealousy. They were unable to accuse him of anything, and we should live our lives at work the same way. We shouldn’t give God our leftovers.
The princes had a plan to destroy Daniel. Even though Daniel was aware of the plan, he still didn’t quit. He had purposed in his heart to follow God. Daniel was so steadfast even the king believed God would deliver him.
In the end, God foiled the princes’ plan. The princes themselves were destroyed. We often don’t like the circumstances God places us in, but sometimes He wants to use our circumstances for a victory. Daniel had purposed his heart, placing it in the forefront.
Barnabas encouraged the Christians to purpose their hearts, placing them in the forefront. The intent of this purpose is to cleave unto the Lord. This implies a splitting from something followed by a cleaving to something. We are to split from the world and cleave unto God. We need to make decisions before the temptations come. Don’t just split from the world; cleave unto Christ.