We make it a point in my family to do bible study every night with the kids. So glad that Tammy has shown an interest since buying her a new 'Princess' bible. But today she wasn't really into it cause she just started watching Happy Feet on the TV and she couldn't pause it cause her 2 year old brother was watching too. So she was trying to get me to read her bible cause I can read faster, but I reminded her of her promise to me. She was very obedient to sit through it reading one word at a time. Praise the Lord!
Anyways, here's the thing. We were reading Acts 2:44-47. I think I must have read that passage more than 10 times in the past, but today I saw something I've not seen before. For those of you that already know this, well it will be a good reminder. For those of you that will see it in a new light like me. Well, I hope it will change your life.
Title: Evangelism through our Lifestyle
I feel that sometimes we rely so much on our own understanding and strength for evangelism we can get a bit arrogant. It all becomes about how much we are doing, how much we are giving and how far we are going (no offense to those that's been called to be missionaries). Have you considered about How are you Living? Have you ever sat in the church and look to the person in front or back of you and have no idea what they are going through? You may ask me, what has the person next to you have to do with evangelism. Well, according to Act 2:44-47 ... EVERYTHING!
I want to share with you 6 points from this passage that leads to verse 47 " .... And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved." Man! I tell ya, I would want to see that happening in my lifetime. Daily people being added to the Kingdom of God right where I am at. Not across town, not over the sea, not out in space ... but right were I am standing.
Let's go through it verse by verse:
1) Unity verse 44 " ... had all things in common."
This is such a common word, Unity. But do we know the full extend of what it means? When there's Unity, there's no doubt, no reservations, no bickering, no complaints, no gossips, no undermining , no deceit, no personal agendas and the list goes on and on. It doesn't matter what the church's mission statement is or whether they are more concern about the word or the worship ... It's about you wanting to be apart of the body of Christ. If you are willing to be part of the body and be a servant, then there is Unity.
2) Sharing/Building verse 45 " ... sold their possessions ... divided them among all,"
Ok, I'm sure some cults would love this verse. Let's bring it to today's context, some of us love our time, money and our possessions so much that we can't see the bigger picture in life. What's that? The Kingdom of God! Exodus 20:5 says our God is a jealous God, we shall not bow or serve any other but Him. Paul says in Philippians 4:12 that he's learnt to abide and abound. But although he's tasted abundance, he's not a slave to it. His eyes are set on the bigger picture. Are we willing to drop the things we are doing for the bigger picture? Sharing of our time, effort and even money for the person next to us when it's necessary?
Note: Noticed that this is still within the context of a church. Still nothing about non-believers.
3) Caring verse 45 " ... divided them among all, as anyone had need."
They were not sacrificing for the lost; not that we ain't suppose to do that; but I believe if you can't even reach out to the person next to ya who has the same faith, whom you called a brother or sister in Christ. How are you to reach out to the ones that are lost? How would they see you when they come to your church and see someone they know that's been suffering but no one from the church seem to care. If you don't care about your own, then how genuine are your 'care' for them? Is it about the numbers or about the Kingdom?
4) Fellowshiping verse 46 " ... breaking of bread from house to house,"
There are no 'Lone Rangers' in the Kingdom of God. The only way you will know for sure what God has installed for you is by fellowshiping with His people. Like I've mentioned before in my previous post, if you want to know whether you've got a specific calling in your life, you will have to submit to leadership. When you fellowship with His people, they will be able to confirm the giftings that God has given you. Also you get encouragements and support by fellowshiping.
5) Thanks Giving verse 46 " ... ate the food with gladness ..."
For those of you following my post, then you'd probably read my first post which is my testimony. But what brought me to this stage in life? I started serving God at 19, got burnt out and some what played out by church leaders and left Christian ministry at 27. Then joint the secular work force and decided that money will be my motivation. Started a company but ended in disaster. Then I joint a multinational company as a marketing assistant, it's kinda like an office boy. Coming from not earning much as a minister to a failed businessman, to actually having some money was kind of a change for me. Then I thought if I could earn more, that would be awesome. I would be even more satisfied. So I plotted my career advancement plan. I made it to executive within a year and had a good pay increase and I made it to manager the next year and had a pay jump. All this while thinking I'd be satisfied, but I wasn't.
Then I joint my sister's company with a significant pay cut, but because it was on commission basis there were more opportunities for me to make more money. And I did eventually. Thanks to my brother-in-law (Marcus, whom btw is also my best friend) that gave me plenty of opportunities to do just that. You'd think that would satisfy me. Not at all, in fact that made me even more frustrated because I can't seem to get the satisfaction I was seeking for.
Then I gave up all that and came to Australia. Longing to change my lifestyle, my habits, my relationship with my family and most importantly with God. I'm now heading back into full-time ministry and our family is surviving on single income. But you know what, when we began to give thanks to God and be happy with what we have, God revealed Himself a little more each day about His faithfulness. My family lacks nothing because He supplies all our needs. Although there were activities we can't take part due to financial constraints but as Paul says, I've learnt to abide and I've learnt to abound, but at the end of the day, it is through Christ that I can do all things.
What's the point in telling you this? It is that if you are willing to humble yourself and give thanks to God for whatever little or much you have, you will experience more of Him.
With this, it leads to my final point ...
6) Humility verse 46 " ... and simplicity of heart, praising God ..."
Ah, this is such a common word among Christians. The only problem is ... if only many of them were genuine. Don't worry, I'm not talking about you. But if what I said gets your heart racing, then I suggest you spend some time with God asking Him to search your heart. The body of Christ needs everyone to be involved, false humility will hinder what God wants us to do as a body. Not everyone is called to be a teacher or a prophet. We have a place in His Kingdom, we need to humble ourselves and just use the talent that God has given us.
You want to know what true humility is? Read 2 Corinthians 10:17 "But he who glories, let him glory in the Lord"
Everything you've achieved is the Lord's. He gives and He can take away. Don't forget that!
Note: Surprising isn't it, after all these 6 points, it has still not left the context of a church yet.
Do you know what would happen if we can apply these 6 points in our everyday lifestyle? Let's read verse 47 " ... having FAVOR WITH ALL THE PEOPLE. And the LORD ADDED TO THE CHURCH DAILY THOSE WHO WERE BEING SAVED."
I want to see that happening, do you?