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

Thursday, February 7, 2019

How the Acts Church Really Started Mission Work 2

Here's Part 1

Ylanite Koppens
While Waiting for More Instructions

After that, they had to wait for orders from heaven again. They didn't sit down and figure out what to do next. What they did was devote themselves in apostolic teachings, communion and prayer while waiting. The apostles did signs and wonders. They met together in the temple courts and fellowshipped in their homes. As they did, the Lord (it was the Lord!) added more to their number. So, they continuously shared the Word in their vicinity while waiting for further instructions.

Then comes chapter three. Peter and John "happened" to be in the temple (God again arranged this) and saw a guy lame from birth. Led by the Spirit, they healed the man and the thing attracted multitudes to gather around them at Solomon's Colonnade. Again, Peter had opportunity to preach. They didn't sit and meet to make these things happen. "OK, this time we go to the temple and heal a lame there (or place a lame man there for all to see and heal him). And then people will gather around us and Peter will preach. Our target for this crusade is about 5,000. Then Sadducees and temple guards will arrest us and that will give us occasion to share the Word with the elders, rulers and law teachers."

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They didn't operate like that. They were led by the Spirit as God provided the opportunities and opened doors. They simply flowed with God's move, simply walked on the path HE provided. The modern church does not operate this way. It plans and decides the opportunities and church people themselves open doors and provide pathways and connections, often even force them open by hook or by crook. Everything is artificial.

Take film showing for instance. They look for a place suited for this and pray. They choose the film they think is apt for the type of people living there and invite them to watch the movie and gather crowds. Sometimes they even dole out giveaways to lure more people. Of course, they pray about this, but you see that everything is planned and stimulated by man, not God, from start to finish. You see God moving nowhere. Man directs everything and invites God to join them.

It's Time for the Gentiles

Finally, the time for the gentiles came. Again, they didn't plan for this. God decided it. God arranged the events leading to it. The church didn't plan it, realizing that they should go out and preach the Gospel to Samaria and the ends of the world so they should start preparing for mission trips. Nope, they just waited for God to lead them to the next level. What that level was about, they didn't know. In the meantime, they pursued what was already evident to be God's will for them at the time.

What was evident was taking care of the church God had already birthed in Jerusalem. Taking care of church people was the focus so that "no one among them was in need." The apostles distributed supplies according to people's needs (the modern church, by the way, will go back to this setup in the last days). They fed the Hebraic and Greek Jews among them, and then God started a new move. He allowed a problem in church to give rise to anointed evangelists (formerly there were only apostles and prophets in church) leading to the martyrdom of Stephen.

The church didn't plan to create a new ministry, deciding that there ought to be evangelists in their ranks. Nope. God decided it. The church didn't know that in God's timetable it was time to release the evangelist anointing and create the ministry of the evangelist. The church thought that Stephen, Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas were fit only as waiters. They didn't see that God prepared them as evangelists.

Then God allowed the martyrdom of Stephen and brought this to the great persecution of the church. Church people were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria (some even to Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch), not because the church refused to spread the Gospel to other nations and were content to just stay in Jerusalem (nothing is said about that in Scriptures), but because it was now time to reach these places in God's timetable. So now they were also in Samaria where Philip did signs and wonders.

Philip Was Translated and an Italian Becomes a Believer

After sharing the Gospel to the Ethiopian Eunuch, God took Philip away and made him appear in Azotus supernaturally. There he preached the Gospel everywhere until he reached Caesarea. Philip didn't decide to be raptured from the Eunuch's side and supernaturally appear in Azotus because he thought it was time to preach the Gospel there and in Caesarea. Nope. God decided all that. Philip merely let himself be taken to places by God.

Then God created unusual opportunities again so that the church would reach an Italian family in Caesaria. And these opportunities were supernatural. Peter met Cornelius, aided by God's miraculous ways and an angelic visitation, and this paved the way to the salvation of Cornelius' family and relatives.

Missionary Journey

Paul's missionary journey was not planned by the church. They didn't see the need to go to faraway places and start ministries there so they sat down to plan for this. Nope. Paul and other prophets and teachers were gathered together to worship and fast in Antioch, waiting for God's direction. They didn't know what would happen next. They were just ready to obey whatever God revealed to them. That was when God decided it was time to send Paul and Barnabas away for the missionary journey. And the rest is history. Waiting for God like this is a totally strange thing to the modern church.

Nothing was planned by man. There was no 5-year or 10-year planning to do this and that and hit goals and targets. They were simply led and brought to places. They obeyed the great commission to make disciples of all nations by simply allowing themselves to be taken to places by God. Church today would do it by human effort. They will target a place and plan to go there. They will make goals and target a certain number of conversions or people reached. They will pray for it, but it was they who decided to go there, not God.

I think we should do church all over again and start it the way the Holy Spirit did. A true church can only be birthed if God himself gave it birth, not man. So far, what we have today are nothing but man's churches that will not result to Jesus' glorious church, which is without spot or wrinkle or any blemish. What is born of flesh is flesh. What it born of spirit is spirit.

Man's efforts will never end up in God's glory. God uses his Word to save people, and as long as man's churches use it, people will be saved. But when they gather together for worship, their meetings do more harm than good. Paul said, there is no praise for God in this [1 Corin. 11.17]. In other words, much as we like, we can gather all we like, but it will never give praise to God. There is no real worship that happens. There's no real church yet.

Real church--the glorious church of Jesus Christ--will happen only once Jesus himself builds the church through us--when we start building using only God's ways. God promises to restore this in these last days before Jesus returns.

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