11 Nov Words of Grace – Engage One
If you put me in charge of getting the message of Jesus to all the nations on earth I am probably not going to return your call or answer your email.
The calls I would make are going to be to the Christian leaders around the world. I am going to gather them together and the biggest brainstorm session known to man will commence. Evangelism and church planting philosophy will be established, the mission will be defined, goals will be set, strategy will be hammered out, and the funding for this task will be secured.
You, I’m sure, will understand if I simply can’t get back to you.
Thankfully, I am not in charge of world evangelization. And no one has to wait until a committee figures out how to do it until he or she shares the gospel or has a chance to hear it.
In Acts 8 we see that God is in charge of his mission and that he gets it accomplished in unexpected ways. First, God used persecution due to preaching about Jesus in Jerusalem to spread the gospel beyond the city and into the surrounding region. The Christians who were scattered by the persecution simply sowed the gospel seed as they went. The persecution wasn’t good, but God used it for good as his Spirit-filled church remained faithful to the mission.
Then there is the account of one man (Philip) who engaged with another man (an Ethiopian) for a one-on-one conversation about the Bible and Jesus (while in a chariot on a hot desert road). The spread of the gospel to all the nations includes individual encounters. Names are given.
The account of Philip and the Ethiopian has lessons for us on numerous levels. One is that God has his ways, and by his Spirit he leads one person to engage in a conversation about Jesus with another person. One person reading the Bible with another person is what God uses to advance his mission in the world. There is a place for the task force, and God uses big events in history for good, but one thing that should not be missed in the mission of God is the way the gospel moves forward one conversation at a time.
This Sunday at Grace we will continue our “Engage One” missions emphasis by considering the account of Philip and the Ethiopian. I hope you will read Acts 8 before Sunday. Is there someone who would like to read it with you?
PS: You may want to check out the book One-to-One Bible Reading by David Helm. If you don’t have a copy, and you promise to read it, ask me Sunday and I’ll give you one.