The Great "Suggestion"

I read an interesting, and provocative, article by Meg Crossman* last week. It relates very well to my verse for this morning.

Acts 1:8 is very familiar to most believers, but is still one of the most neglected verses in Scripture. Luke writes, quoting some of Jesus' last words before his ascension: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

Obviously, I'm sold on the Great Commission. God's redemptive plan for a broken world has been his heart and purpose since before the beginning of time. Peter reminds us: "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last time for your sake" (1:18-20).

Before sin ever entered the world, God put his plan to fix the problem into place. The Scripture is the story of that redemptive purpose. Christ's life was given to carrying out the plan. His last words were orders to his followers to carry out the purpose that best reflected God's heart—being witnesses to the nations far and wide.

Ms. Crossman made some interesting points in her article. After Pentecost, the followers of Jesus did not rush out to reach the nations with the Gospel. It took the death of Stephen and the persecution of the church to force them to do what Jesus had asked. Peter and John investigated the conversion of the Samaritans, but did they stay to strengthen the new believers? No, they didn't, they "returned to Jerusalem" (Acts 8:25). So much for leading by example.

Peter had to have a vision on a rooftop in Joppa before he was ready to meet with Cornelius. And in spite of his wonderful experience there and his subsequent report to the church in Jerusalem, the Scriptures record that the leaders of the church "held their peace" saying: "well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life" (Acts 11:18). We have no record that they went (other than the occasional foray) and led by example, nor did they train others to go to take advantage of what God was doing in other parts of the world.

Until Jerusalem was destroyed, the disciples didn't move out of their "home church." Now, I admit that what Ms Crossman writes is a pretty strong condemnation, but I can't help but wonder if our North American churches' present reality doesn't reflect a similar situation.

Are our foundations being destroyed because we care more about ourselves in our comfortable pews than we care about carrying out the Great Commission? Because we don't go, and we spend more on our church "props" than in training and sending others?

It really wasn't a suggestion.


*Opening the Door. Meg Crossman is Director of Perspectives Partnership in Arizona.

Comments

  1. Are our foundations being destroyed because we care more about ourselves in our comfortable pews than we care about carrying out the Great Commission? Because we don't go, and we spend more on our church "props" than in training and sending others?

    It really wasn't a suggestion.

    Amen, I totally agree.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh wow - very powerful, and much to think about. So glad you shared this.

    ReplyDelete

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