"..Yet in My Flesh I Will See GOD" [Job. 19.26]

Thursday, February 7, 2019

How the Acts Church Really Started Mission Work 1

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It wasn't because they didn't to go out and do mission work that God allowed them to be persecuted and scattered abroad, which suggests forced missionary work. God does everything by grace, not force, coercion or compulsion. But the story floated around by some preachers said God allowed the church to be persecuted because it refused to carry out the great commission and remained contented staying in Jerusalem. This is grossly inaccurate.

From the start since Pentecost, the church has been excited about evangelism. Prior to Pentecost they locked themselves up in the upper room, but only per Jesus' instruction. He said wait in Jerusalem for the promised Holy Spirit. And the disciples knew well what "wait" meant. The modern church doesn't. It just does anything it sees effective and gathers crowds. It loves doing what I call just-do-it evangelism. The principle is similar to the days of the Judges--they did as they saw fit.

Modern Church is Groping in the Dark

Church today grows more uneasy and impatient as the end times draw near. It aches to always gather crowds the soonest possible time. And this without God's timing. This is in accord with Jesus' prophecy when he asked, "When the Son of Man returns, will he find faith on the earth?" And John's prophecy about a church known to be alive but is dead. But the disciples waited. They didn't do anything but meet and pray. That's what Scriptures mean by wait--we pray, worship and meditate God's Word while waiting for God's move--his leading and direction. But church today laughs at this, thinking it a waste of time.

Healthy eating according to Scriptures. See video here.

The modern church being hopelessly oriented to getting busy--making things happen and doing good works to please God (church thinks being busy for God makes them productive), misunderstands what waiting on God is. They thought the Acts church was contented to stay in Jerusalem and refused to proceed to Samaria and the ends of the world. This is farthest from truth. Once filled with the Spirit and spoke in tongues, they shared the Gospel. But in God's direction, timing, pace and cadence.

They started in Jerusalem, eventually found themselves in Samaria and then later to the ends of the earth as God led and enabled them, providing open doors. They didn't sit down and planned. "Okay guys, this is how we do it. First we open doors..." 

It's Not Evangelism But Being Upset and Troubled

God leads, we follow. He opens doors, we enter. Simple, isn't it? But we refuse to do it that way. We lead and drag God along. We open doors and ask him to enter with us. We pay lip service to waiting on God to lead and go before us, but really don't believe it that way. In fact, we think it's stupid. Like Martha, we can't stand it when Mary just sits there doing nothing but listen. We like to get busy. The church is addicted to that. But Jesus said, that's not being productive. That's being upset and troubled. Period.

When you wait on God, the modern church sees it as idleness. It wants you to look like a mad hen running to and fro trying to make things happen. Being stressed and exhausted in ministry is obedience. To them, you're doing the great commission if you're like that. Remember Peter in the Transfiguration? Jesus taught them to wait by praying. And when finally the transfiguration happened and Moses and Elijah were giving Jesus instructions about his death, Peter in his uneasiness planned of building three shelters or "churches" (as we would do it today). That's how modern believers are--the first thing they think of is build local churches and secure people there.

But the bible is explicit. Luke says Peter said this "because he didn't know what he was saying." And most believers do not know what they're saying when they think they can just go on doing whatever they see fit, plan their course of action, plant churches, go on missions and grow their membership. God told the disciples what to do: "This is my Son in whom I'm well pleased. LISTEN TO HIM."

Sadly, this is what the modern church has lost--the supernatural ability to hear God's voice and listen. What they do is plan and pray, hoping that God would bless their plans. But God already has a plan conceptualized and finalized before the foundation of the world. We should simply implement it.

God Orchestrates Evangelism and Missions

We see in Acts a simple God-designed evangelism strategy--just share the Word. Simple as that. It's not your problem how many will receive Christ or how your church will reach out to people in far places or overseas. Just share the Word where you are. Just flow with God. He decides your course, direction and reach. He decides when. Your only job is to share. Some churches make it their problem how to reach the unreached in remote places on earth.

It's not your problem. God will do it in his time. His goal is to have every individual on earth hear the Gospel, and he will surely accomplish it by moving his church around the globe as he sees fit. That's what happened in the Book of Acts. The apostles didn't sit down and plan how to go about it. God made things happen and they simply flowed with it. What they did was ride on the tide of God's move.

First, God made Pentecost happen. People from different nations on earth were in Jerusalem (God orchestrated that, it was not a coincidence) and it provided opportunity for the apostles to share the Gospel in different tongues. They didn't sit down and plan the whole thing. "OK guys, let's plan a Holy Spirit event on Pentecost. First part of the program is praying. Then, second is the sound of strong winds. Third, the tongues of fire on each of us. Then we will speak to people in their respective languages (so choose what languages you're going to speak in). Is there any question? None? Are we ready to vote? OK we have voted. Let's pray."

Funny but that's how church does things today.

God decided everything. The apostles simply made themselves available and useful by praying and waiting. How many were saved after Pentecost? About 3,000. Perhaps, if we go back to the ways of God he would again cause this conversion rate to happen to the church--3,000 in a day. And the reason why conversions in church don't reach by the thousands--no matter our hard efforts and gimmicks--is because we've not been doing it God's way.


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