Missionaries by Example
St. John’s MTC, New York
23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.
The beauty of the book of Acts is that that it provides an example of what it truly means to be a soldier for Christ. Luke’s purpose in providing a well-documented account of the Apostles work is to provide a framework for evangelism, something we can look back to as missional believers. Here’s what God tells us through this passage.
The Holy Spirit has the power to transform. A common theme that unites the book of Acts is the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Apostles’ transformation from fearful disciples to bold leaders of the church is not on their own merit. With the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, Peter went from a man who denied Jesus three times to an evangelist who baptized three thousand non-believers in one day. In this passage, the believers are recovering from the painful loss of Stephen. Yet they do not fall prey to fear and allow it to discourage their ministry. Rather they continue with a boldness that we have not seen before, reaching out to new foreign lands and gaining believers in astonishing numbers. We, as Christians, are missionaries in everything we do. But if we fall victim to fear and disappointment, our ministry will stall. It’s the power of God’s Holy Spirit that gives us the courage to be witnesses to His love and sacrifice wherever we go.
The Gospel has no limits. The passage begins by describing some believers who only preached to Jewish communities. Yet in the previous chapter God appears to Peter in a vision and commissions him to baptize Gentiles. In a time where we obsess over building walls and excluding others, we must understand that every human being is fearfully and wonderfully made by God. In sharing the Gospel, we must see Jesus in every human being. The Gospel is never contained by the four walls of the Church but can change the world with the strength of the Holy Spirit.
Before we receive Holy Communion we sing the following:
Now as we come to your table
We recall those gone before us
Grant their lives be an example
May we use their teaching as our guide.
When we partake in the Lord’s table let’s remember the zeal of our forefathers and strive to be champions for God’s Kingdom as they were.
Father, help us to look to You as our inspiration for expanding Your Kingdom here on earth. Grant us courage to break free from fear and to proclaim Your love irrespective of any limitations. Oh, Divine Master, empower us with the Holy Spirit as You empowered the Apostles before us. Help us to remember their example in every walk of our life here on earth. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
We are missionaries regardless of where God takes us. We must strive to minister like the Apostles’ by relying on the Holy Spirit for strength.