I am part of a gathering of men that meets in a local restaurant one morning each week. It is a new gathering, part of an effort to reach outside the walls of the local church building into the heart of our culture here on the Emerald Coast of Florida. We are in our fourth week and each week new men are showing up and for this I rejoice. When we begin each week the new guys get a chance to tell the group about themselves. And so far no one has been shy about this. The guys have been willing to expose themselves and dive right in to the group.
As a result of this I have heard a variety of ideas about God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit, human-kind, sin, salvation, and the Scripture that I have rarely heard inside the walls of the church building. This is good and part of the reason I have embarked on this journey outside those walls.
However I am coming, quickly, to a conclusion about this effort to engage the culture outside of the church with the Gospel. It is never too soon to introduce the Truth, Jesus, into the conversation.
“They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Acts 2:42
“They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching…” The “they” Luke is speaking of here are new believers from all over the known world. They came from all kinds of spiritual and cultural traditions. Acts Chapter 2 is a record of the means God used to bring them to the point of devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching. This teaching is, simply put, the teaching about Jesus, the Savior of the world, as taught by men who had been eye witnesses to His life!
Those gathered together in this way listening to the apostles’ teaching had no previous preparation in doctrinal matters. They had all kinds of ideas and theories about God and how God dealt with man. Some of them had thought the disciples in the upper room were drunk at 9:00 in the morning.
On hearing this opinion Peter spoke up immediately,
“But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. “For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day…” Acts 2:14-15
Peter goes on to tell all those gathered that the Messiah, long awaited by the Jews, had come. His name was Jesus. The religious had had Him crucified with the full approval of the crowd. Peter taught the grave could not hold Him and that God, The Father, raised Him from the dead on the third day, setting the captives free and healing the rift between God and His Creation human kind.
This is the Gospel.
Acts tells us that everyone who received this word, repented and were baptized in the Name of Jesus.
I long for these kind of results as we are walking in Christ Jesus outside the walls of the church buildings.
I see a need as we follow Jesus, as we are His witnesses, to be open to hearing all kinds of opinions about God and Jesus – but we must never hesitate to introduce those we are talking with to the Truth.
Some will say to us (and have said to me) “what truth.” or “There are as many opinions about what the scripture says as there are people reading it. Who are you to say that your opinion is better truth than any of the other interpretations?” We must hear them out with a humble, gentleness of spirit.
Jesus came to earth to set us all free. Let Him give you the words for each person who resists. He will set them free and you cannot. Name His name and let those you speak with know that YOU believe that Jesus is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. Explain that YOU believe this to be literal and not open to various interpretive techniques. Gently proclaim that the Word of Scripture says what it means and means what it says. Humbly state that it cannot be broken, modified, or explained away by the opinion or even the academic scholarship of men. And then let The Word of God do His work.
After we show we care – for real – it is never too soon to introduce another to Jesus so that He may do the work in us that He came to do.
YOU WILL BR AMAZED AT THE RESULTS HE ACHIEVES.
Please pray for me and those I am working with that we preserver in the work of meeting those who do not yet know their Savior. Pray for us that we are able to build great friendships with those outside the walls of the church building and that we learn how to Love as Jesus Loves!
May God Bless YOU today!