Tag: sent out
Scripture reading for June 20th: Acts 13:16-41
The Book of Acts contains over twenty messages from various ministers of the Gospel in the early church. If you are a preacher or like to share the Gospel, it is helpful to study these messages and see how the Holy Spirit inspired these early men of God to share. Their preaching was certainly not ‘ear-tickling’ and often got them into trouble because it stirred up people who were under conviction. It also brought salvation to those who listened!
Paul and Barnabas were sent out by the Holy Spirit on their first missionary journey. As they went to the city of Pisidian Antioch, they went to the Jewish synagogue on the Sabbath day. The synagogue rulers invited them to give a message of encouragement to the people. Paul stood up, himself a former Pharisee, and addressed the people who were gathered. In the back was a bench for ‘God-fearing’ Gentiles who were addressed as well. Paul began his message by going back through the Old Testament and recounting Jewish history to show them that Jesus Christ was a descendant of their forefather Abraham and then through King David. This Jesus was the Savior who was promised. (Acts 13:16-23)
Paul then told them the Gospel message that was for them, Jew and Gentile! Jesus Christ was crucified and buried. God raised Him from the dead! He was seen by many who are now witnesses of Jesus Christ. All these events were to fulfill Scripture promises that God had made to Israel! Paul cited Psalm 2:7: “You are My Son; today I have become Your Father.” He also sited Isaiah 55:3 and Psalm 16:10 to prove that Jesus would be resurrected according to the Scripture. “I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.” “You will not let Your Holy One see decay.” (Acts 13:33-35)
Paul concluded his message with an altar call and a warning! “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through Him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the Law of Moses. Take care what the prophets have said does not happen to you: “Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you so.” (Acts 13:38-41) (Habakkuk 1:5)
Scripture reading for January 12th: Matthew 10:1-23, Psalms 9:1-10, Proverbs 3:1-2
Jesus first taught His disciples to go out and preach to those who were lost in Israel. “As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:7-8) They were empowered with authority to take the message of repentance to the Jewish people and to demonstrate God’s willingness and ability to heal and deliver. They had not bought these gifts, but had freely received the power from Jesus and must freely give to all who would receive. They were also to travel light and live off the gifts and hospitality of those that they would preach to. Each worker was worthy of his keep!
Jesus knew that not everyone would receive them with hospitality. Some would reject the message and maybe even mistreat these disciples. He told them so up front so that they would not be discouraged or surprised by the treatment. In fact, Jesus gave them some practical advice for dealing with those who would not receive: “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:14-16)
When we share the gospel of Jesus Christ with people, we are doing more than we may realize. Every time we share, God is offering eternal life to those that hear. They are accountable for their actions. If they refuse the messengers, they are really rejecting God and bring the eternal judgment of God’s wrath on themselves. If they hear and accept, they bring God’s favor and and eternal life into their being. Jesus told the disciples that they were to shake the dust off their feet upon leaving the homes or town where they were not welcomed. That dust would be a witness against those who rejected the Lord’s messengers. They were not to waste time trying to argue or debate because they must go to others who would receive. Let’s think about this the next time we share the gospel!
Greetings on this Sabbath day of rest! We can rest today because “It is finished!” was the victory cry of Jesus Christ from the cross as He gave up His Spirit and breathed His last! (John 19:30) We can rest today because on the first day of the week, Jesus rose from the dead, as the first-fruit from death! (Mark 16:6) We can rest today because He is seated at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us! (Romans 8:34) We can rest today, because we are seated with Him! (Ephesians 2:6) We can rest today because He promised to come back for His followers and take them to be with Him! (John 14:3)
Out of this place of rest, we are commanded to go and preach the Good News to all nations and make disciples of all peoples. Missionaries are those who are called and willingly go. Missionaries are some of my favorite people! They have caught the Spirit of Christ and have a passion that inspires. Reading about the early missionaries and their exciting adventures makes me want to experience that for myself. There are three observations about missionaries I want to share with you today.
“And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 13:52)
First, missionaries must have the power of the Holy Spirit! We see them preaching, praying for the sick and casting out demons. We observe them following the directions of the Holy Spirit about where to go and when. We see them knowing how to address different cultures and effectively reach souls. We have read about some who suffered persecution and beatings and others who gave their lives sharing the Gospel.
Second, there is no joy like being in the will of God. Missionaries find great joy in preaching the Gospel. Even when run out of town or beaten for preaching, they counted it a privilege to suffer for Christ! When souls were saved, great joy filled the people. Paul and Silas rejoiced to see the Philippian jailer and his whole household come to Christ and rejoice! (Acts 16:31-34)
The third observation: “This Gospel of the kingdom will be preached to the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14) Missionaries are hastening the coming of Christ! Let’s either go ourselves or send them!
In His Love, Pastor John