8 Minute Read

TODAY’S BIBLE READING:

2 Samuel 20:14–21:22
Acts 1:1-26
Psalm 121:1-8
Proverbs 16:18

TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):

Acts 1:8 (CSB): “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):

Some of the very last words that Jesus gave His disciples before He ascended back to Heaven (Acts 1:9-11) are found in Acts 1.

In those final words, Jesus made it clear that He was leaving His followers with a mission. They were to be witnesses of what they had seen and heard. They were to tell others about Jesus, the Gospel, and what it looks like to be a Jesus-follower (a disciple).

The one verse that I have used to help me understand how to do missions in a church setting is Acts 1:8.

There are some people in our churches who say that we should primarily focus on international missions. There are others who say that our primary focus should be on local missions.

I refuse to get into that debate because I believe it was settled in Acts 1:8.

Acts 1:8 (CSB): “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Jesus told His disciples that the Gospel was centralized in Jerusalem where they were currently gathered. But, it shouldn’t be limited to Jerusalem. It should go farther out to the region of Galilee.

But it should go even farther out to the region of Samaria.

In fact, it should go all the way to the farthest corners of the earth.

And as we read the books of Acts, we see that Jesus’ disciples did just that. The Gospel was powerfully proclaimed in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) and it was penetrating the corners of the inhabited world by the end of the book of Acts.

Now, let me share how this verse has impacted how I lead churches to go on mission.

1. Doing missions isn’t a suggestion. Jesus has commanded it.

When Jesus told His followers that they would be His witnesses (tell others about Him), it wasn’t a request. He was telling them what they would do as they complied with His command.

Matthew 28:18-19 (CSB): “Jesus came near and said to them, ‘All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, …'”

Telling people about Jesus and helping them to understand what it means to follow Jesus isn’t an optional add-on for a Christian or a church. It is one of our primary duties. Refusal to comply is insubordination to King Jesus and must be confessed as sin.

2. A church should reach locally and abroad!

The disciples were told that they would be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth.

Acts 1:8 (CSB): “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

As I looked at those designations, I led my previous church to assign them accordingly:

  • Jerusalem = Murray & Calloway County missions
  • Judea = Kentucky missions
  • Samaria = missions in at least one of the other states
  • Ends of the earth = international missions

Here are some of the things we did in these four designated areas:

Jerusalem / Murray & Callow County: we funneled money into local para-church organizations; we provided financial assistance to local people in trouble; we provided a food pantry; Philip Peeler and I did door-to-door visitation on Sunday afternoons; etc.

Judea / Kentucky missions: we did one construction trip to Lynch, Kentucky and I shared the Gospel with the residents of the trailer we were working on; we needed to do more in our Kentucky missions

Samaria / missions in at least one of the other States: we partnered with NAMB and a church plant in Denver, Colorado. We came alongside them before their first Sunday and they are now running over 100. We also sent groups annually to Denver to help with visitation and soccer camp.

Ends of the earth / international missions: a family in our church had already built a relationship with an orphanage and church in Guatemala. So, leading the church to solidify that relationship and make it a “church” mission was easy. We sent our largest church group to Guatemala last year on our annual summer trip.

3. A church should be doing missions in all four areas simultaneously.

Acts 1:8 (CSB): “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

It is my conviction that a healthy church is one where it is striving to simultaneously reach all four areas of the concentric circles of ministry that Jesus mentioned.

In fact, if you have teams that have bought into the various missions and they are coming back to the church on-fire about what they saw God do, you won’t be able to contain the excitement and enthusiasm that will build in that sending-church.

4. We need the Holy Spirit to accomplish this.

Some might say, “Well, our church just can’t do that. We don’t have enough money, or enough people, or enough motivation.”

That may be true but God loves to call us to something where we are forced to trust Him. If we think we can handle it on our own and, therefore, don’t trust Him, we are doing something good while bringing Him displeasure.

So, if you think it will be an uphill battle, you’re exactly where God wants you. Call out for the Holy Spirit to help you.

Acts 1:8 (CSB): “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Conclusion

So, how’s your church doing? Are you a part of a church on mission for Jesus? If not, you’re just a club – you aren’t a church.

To be a church, we need to embrace the mission that Jesus has called us to. We need to realize that one of our greatest responsibilities and possibly our greatest source of joy is when we embrace the Great Commission and do exactly what Jesus has told us to do.

Besides, if we obey, we will one day stand before Jesus and hear Him tell us: “Well done! Well done, good and faithful servant!”

I want to hear Him say that. I hope you do, too!