When Rome Failed Christianity Prevailed
While Rome was collapsing, Christianity flourished. Gradually forming an independent and increasing state in the heart of the Roman empire. As the Roman Empire failed, so will the American empire unless there is a radical change leading to national repentance of sin and turning back to God.
Reading "Fall Of The Roman Empire," by Gibbons offers insight on the expansion of the Church of Christ within a declining secular state such as we have today in America. In the work, he writes of the Christian Church as a state within a state. "The union and discipline of the Christian republic gradually formed an independent and increasing state in the heart of the Roman empire.”
That independent state within a state was the Kingdom of God increasing within the Roman Empire. So what did the early followers of Christ do during the political decline? Author Wayne Jackson commented on Gibbon's work.
"The early church was characterized by a sense of solidarity (cf. Acts 4:32); Christian unity provided a source of strength against the hostile forces of the world. Only later did “sects” mar the scene. Second, the historian noted that the disciples were cautious “to detect the errors of heresy” as such evolved within the movement. The devout were willing “to expel” from the society of the faithful those, who by teaching or practice, threatened the safety of the religious community (417).
Gibbon also notes that one of the factors that preserved the integrity of the Church in those early days was that every congregation was “separate and independent,” and as yet not “connected by any supreme authority or legislative assembly” (420). Thus the divine organization of the Church, along with its willingness to discipline the unruly, facilitated growth. The historian surmised that by the end of the 3rd century A.D., there were approximately 1 million Christians in Rome. Modern estimates go much higher and suggest that one out of every five persons was a devotee of Christ. The reasons Gibbon cited for the rapid expansion of the faith certainly do not exhaust the story, but surely they reflect some valuable truths from which the serious student can profit."
This is an interesting observation of the rise of the Christian Church within a failing Roman Empire. This is particularly interesting to the student of history because America the Empire is also in rapid moral decline. As a nation, we have thrown off the restraints of the U.S. Constitution, rejected God, and built an oligarchy of secular humanists bent on creating a utopian socialistic empire free from the moral restraints of Jehovah. The early Church of Christ flourished within the collapsing Roman Empire by:
- A union of common interest and shared values.
- Unity of the faith.
- Guarding against heresy.
- Correcting the unruly.
THE EXPANDING KINGDOM OF GOD
Just like the Roman Empire failed, so too will the American empire unless there is a radical change that leads to national repentance of sin and turning back to God. If that fails, however, there is still good news. Scripture declares, "Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this "(Isaiah 9:7).
The truth is, the Kingdom of God is ever-expanding and unstoppable. Scripture says,"Unto what is the kingdom of God like? And whereunto shall I resemble it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it. And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened" (Luke 13:18-21).
THE GLORIOUS CHURCH
God is not returning to a defeated, powerless Church. He is coming back for a glorious Church as it is written, "That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish"(Ephesians 5:27).
The Holy Spirit is declaring, "As it was in the beginning, so shall it be in the end." In the process of time, "the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever" (Revelation 11:15).
Don't get discouraged. Jesus offered his disciples a solution. Build your house on the rock, and you will be protected from the approaching economic storm that American will face. "Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock"(Luke 6:47-48).
(c) Apostle Jonas Clark
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