What is God’s Mission-Part 5
The Church Scatters
Jesus said in Acts 1:8 that the Apostles would be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the world. That is quite the task! But, with God’s help and leading, it is still being worked out today. How God leads the new Church into Samaria was more of a push than it was anything else. It starts with the story of Stephen. I highly recommend you open up to Acts 7 and read the speech that Stephen gives to the Sanhedrin and how that body responded to what he had to say. This is background as to what happened in Samaria.
The persecution of the Church begins. After Saul approves the stoning of Stephen, the Church scatters as Saul hunts down the church. Philip, one of the 7 chosen to be one of the first deacons, goes to Samaria. What happens there is amazing!
Philip tells as many people as he can about the Messiah. Many are saved, healed, and have demons cast out of them. What followed was great joy in the city. Later, Peter and John are sent by the Apostles to check out the situation. The Sarmatians, once enemies of the Jews, are brought into the kingdom and given the Holy Spirit. What a day of rejoicing that must have been in heaven!
Philips Shares about the Messiah
God is in control! What a great thing to remember. Leaving InterVarsity was hard for me because it wasn’t my decision. It wasn’t my timing. And I had to go through a season in my life that was tough. It certainly was God pushing me along and not me letting Him lead me. I believe my time in InterVarsity has prepared me for what I’m doing now. Writing blogs and helping a new ministry, Christian Revelation (C-Rev), get started. In time, God is going to do amazing things through C-Rev and this blog.
What happened in Acts 7 is similar. The Church needed a push, because of this push, the gospel went to a new place and more people were saved. Philip was ready to make a difference in Samaria because of his service in Jerusalem. All of this was worked out by God to bring about the kingdom being advanced and Jesus’s words being fulfilled.
Will you let God lead you? Will you Listen to His voice?
Now you might be wondering, “Okay Prayer Guy, what are the ways we can be praying for God’s mission in light of this passage?” Great question! I’m so glad that you asked. Here is my list of how you can pray:
Realize: No matter what you are going through, we need to realize that God is in the midst of it all. During good and bad, take time to acknowledge that God is in what you going through and it is all for your good and part of a bigger picture that we don’t always see.
Preparation: Pray for your on the job training. We never know how long God is going to have us involved in our current situation. With this in mind, pray that God is preparing you for what is next, but not at the expense of the moment. On the job training is about gaining experience and learning. Take the time to get into the Word (and let the Word get into you) and spend time in prayer. And pray that you will do good work in your current situation.
Peter and John in Samaria
Tell me what you think
Where do you go to help you hear from God?
Discern: It is better to be led by God than it is to be pushed. Learn to be open to what God has for you. Pause at times to ask, is it time to move on? Do I stay? Trust God will give you the answer. Then follow him into His plan. The funny thing with leaving InterVarsity, God had told me it was going to happen the August before that June but I kept going as if it was going to be years.
Confirmation: Ask God to confirm what he is doing. I think that is why the Apostles came to Samaria after Philip was there. God was saying well done to Philip and wanted to seal it with the Holy Spirit. Ask him to seal and confirm what He is doing through you for His mission. Maybe it will be a direct word from God to you or a word from God to you through others. Either way, you can celebrate - God is speaking...to YOU!
Be Ready: Philip was ready to move on. Ask God to help you be ready when the time is right. Or to be ready if the time is right to stay. Above all, if we are to be on mission with God, we need Him to be with us and in us and we need to get our orders from him.
Get Out there, pray and act
I have said before, and I will continue to say it. Prayer is absolutely essential. But so is DOING (hello, ACTS). Fellow laborer, get out there and DO what it is that God is calling you to do. Be obedient. He will show up in it. I promise. But, please, don’t forget to pray. Pray in agreement with God that He plans on doing something amazing. It all comes down to one thing, Jesus is changing the world one person at a time. And he wants you to be part of changing the world.
As always, pray, pray, and pray. Early and often.