TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH (20.01-17.02.2012)

“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.” Acts 1:8 (NIV)
The command of Jesus impelled His followers to an astonishing journey of action; indeed a series of actions, one after another, involving the disciples and the early believers who, under the influence and power of the Holy Spirit, took the message of the risen Saviour to the “ends of the earth.”
That action is what the book of Acts is all about. Watch the ascension of Christ, the anointing of the apostles by flames of fire, enabling them to speak in different languages, which, in turn, led to the first great conversion surge, overwhelming the Jerusalem establishment and setting off lay missionaries to the Roman Empire’s distant outposts. Race with Philip to catch up with the eunuch of Ethiopia and, through him, see the march of the gospel in distant Africa. How about the action of Stephen’s stoning leading to the miracle of the Damascus road that produced Paul, the great missionary, who literally tore down every frontier to reach “the ends of the earth”? Ponder over Peter, his Pentecostal sermon and his encounter with Cornelius that prepared the church for the challenge of the mission to the Gentiles. See the First Apostolic Council of Jerusalem and its impact on the church’s great march through history.
 All these, and other action stories, keep us excited to read a book that tells of a church becoming a living organism, growing and expanding, looking for new ways through sea and land until pursuing its way to the ends of the earth! Today the church needs to pay attention again to the moving words of Jesus. Those words were powerful. Not by the fact of their enunciation itself, but by the influence of the Holy Spirit in their hearts that moved those men and women to start a missionary movement unmatched through history. They did not have all the high tech and gadget resources we have today. The early Christians did not have television, Internet, email, computers, text messages, software, presentation resources, advertising, or any of the social media resources we have today. But they reached every place with the gospel message. And they reaped thousands of conversions in a surprisingly short time! Can we not do the same? Of course we can. We need to catch the spirit of the early church. In the book of Acts, we see a church that still kept a discipleship vision. Sadly today many churches have lost their discipleship vision and become ‘organisations’, rather than ‘organism’. Now it’s the time for us to return to the true discipleship as Jesus has intended!
“Christianity without discipleship causes the church to assimilate itself into the culture.” (Bill Hull)
The challenging command of Jesus for missions described in Acts 1:8 remains valid and binding on the church. All we need to do is to resurrect the command, place it before our church, and plead for the Holy Spirit to help us implement it. The Holy Spirit will empower us to fulfill the command, just as He did at the beginning of church history. He now waits to move the pastoral and lay force into a big missionary movement like we have never seen in history. Then, and only then, will Christ’s saving message reach the ends of the earth—be it your next-door neighbours or the distant town on the other side of the globe.

 Preach the Gospel…Produce Christ-disciples…Plant Churches…Everywhere!

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