The insight that opens up the world to you

15/06/11 8:29 AM


“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 2:4-12

All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.  Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.  When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken.  Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans?  Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

Acts 7:2, 9, 16, 30, 44

To this he replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Harran… Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt.  But God was with him… Their bodies were brought back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought… After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai… Our ancestors had the tabernacle of the covenant law with them in the wilderness.

Stephen’s big insight:

Jesus wasn’t primarily a Jew.  Or, even les, a Christian.

The game-changing implication of Stephen’s big insight:

It is not necessary to give up your own culture to follow Jesus

Acts 8:1-8, 14-17

And Saul approved of their killing him.  On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.  Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him.  But Saul began to destroy the church.  Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.  Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.  Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there.  When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed.  So there was great joy in that city… When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria.  When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them, and they received the Holy Spirit… After they had further proclaimed the word of the Lord and testified about Jesus, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many Samaritan villages.

How can I get the benefits from this insight?

1. Ask yourself what sort of ” ‘culture x’ who follows Jesus” you are.

2. Ask yourself if the apostles’ story is your story.

3. Ask yourself how this view of mission might give focus and purpose to you.

4. Ask yourself if this might empower you to “fail for God” more often.

5. Pray for a booming Sunday service as a means of offering this to many people who’d have no other access to it.

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