Standing for Truth and Defending Your Freedom
Standing for Truth and Defending Your Freedom

Despise Not Small Beginnings

by Dr. Jerry Newcombe, D. Min.

Imagine two men, strangers to one another, engaged in a conversation on an international flight. As they talk with each other, it is revealed that one is a businessman. The second man is a representative of a worldwide organization with franchises in every country.

“Really?” asks the first. “You must work for Coca Cola.”

“No,” replies the second, “We have far more field representatives than they’ll ever have! We have more employees and more customers, if you can call them that.”

Now, the first man is definitely intrigued. “Microsoft?”

“No—infinitely bigger.”

“The U.N.?”

“Again, much bigger.”

“Bigger than the U.N.? Well, then, I can’t imagine who you work for. Tell me.”

The second man looks him straight in the eye and replies that he is a minister in the Church of Jesus Christ.

Think about it. The largest institution on the planet, the kingdom that contains more citizens than any country on earth, the association that has the most members, the world’s biggest, most diverse family, is the Church of Jesus Christ.

The collective body that professes to believe in the Son of God (though not any one denomination within Christendom) comprises the largest group of people on the globe.

Christ’s Church contains members from every country and every race, speaking a vast multitude of languages, from every socio-economic stratum. There’s simply no other group, institution, or fellowship even remotely similar. That’s true diversity.

Dr. Paul L. Maier, a great scholar and professor of ancient history, once told me in an interview, “Well, there’s no question that the Christian Church is the most successful phenomenon, even statistically considered, of anything that has ever happened on this planet.”

He gave these statistics as an example: “. . . there are 2.25 billion Christians across the globe and nobody has statistics like that. The nearest competitor would be Islam with about 1.1 billion adherents.”

Dr. Maier added, “So there’s no other religion, there’s no other faith, way of life, institution, governmental group, ethnic group—you name it—that has that number . . . . There’s hardly an area of the world that Christianity has not touched. And in many ways it’s a remarkable fulfillment of the command that Jesus made in Matthew 28 when he sent out His disciples to conquer the world for His message.”

Sometimes it’s easy to get discouraged. Sometimes it’s terrible to read about the regress of the Church in parts of the world—including ours. We’re reminded of that virtually every day when we see that,

  • Christians have lost many aspects of the culture war in the West.
  • Formerly Christian institutions (like Harvard) now often promote the opposite message.
  • There is unprecedented slaughter of Christians in some parts of the Muslim world.

Yet as Dion DiMucci sang years ago in his song “I Believe (Sweet Lord Jesus)”: When kids run laughing by on Sunday mornings / You can hear the distant church bells chime / You see how we’ve survived the thousand decades / Don’t you know He helped us through that time?

Every Christmas is a reminder that the King of kings, seated at the right hand of God the Father, is slowly building His Church in virtually every nation on earth. The future belongs to Him.

When Jesus came into a corner of the Roman Empire 2,000 years ago, He established a kingdom that can never be destroyed.

Beginning with 12 men—one of whom turned out to be a traitor—Jesus established a kingdom that continues to this day. It now claims the professed allegiance of about one-third of humanity.

Napoleon once said, “I search in vain in history to find the similar to Jesus Christ, or anything which can approach the gospel . . . Nations pass away, thrones crumble, but the Church remains.”

All this began so modestly 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem, where a visitor could easily have been repulsed at the smells of the original Christmas—as the Son of God was laid in a manger . . . not a bed for baby Jesus, but a feeding trough for animals.

But these were simply the humble roots of the most successful enterprise in the history of humanity. As the Lord said through the prophet Zerubbabel: Despise not small beginnings.