Today it is Spiderman, but back in the 1940s, Captain Marvel was the comic book hero that captured the attention of the nation. Poor, orphaned Billy Bateson could turn himself into Captain Marvel just by uttering one magical word – Shazam! Shazam was actually an acronym stating all the powers Bateson received when he transformed into Captain Marvel. It stood for Solomon’s wisdom, Hercules’ strength, Achilles’ courage, Zeus’ powers, Atlas’ stamina, and Mercury’s speed.
The power of the Holy Spirit goes far beyond the minor gifts granted to Captain Marvel. The Holy Spirit is Christ alive in us. All the works that the disciples had seen Jesus do – preaching, teaching, inspiring, comforting, healing, increasing of resources (like the loaves and fishes) – they would be able to do. Jesus’ presence had to depart in order for his power to descend.
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1. A Biblical Reason: It is a visible expression of a Spiritual Reality. Christ is committed to the church. I Corinthians. 12:27 “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” The more spiritually mature you are, the more you will love the church in spite of her faults and imperfections. “.Christ loved the church and he gave his life for it.” Ephesians 5:25
2. A Cultural Reason: It is an antidote to our society. We live in an age where very few want to be committed to anything. a job. a marriage. a church. This attitude has ever produced a generation of “church shoppers and hoppers”. Membership swims against the current of America’s “consumer religion”. It is an unselfish decision. Commitment always builds character.
3. A Practical Reason: It defines who can be counted on. Every team must have a roster. Every school must have an enrollment. Every business has a payroll. Every army has an enlistment. Even our country takes a census and requires voter registration. Membership helps us define who can be counted on.
4. A Personal Reason: It produces growth The New Testament places a major emphasis on the need for Christians to be accountable to each other for spiritual growth. You cannot be accountable when you’re not committed to any specific church family. Did you know that there are 39 “one another” commands that
cannot be fulfilled without a commitment to a specific church family?
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