Has it ever occurred to you that Jesus has things He wants to accomplish with you? that He has a plan for your life with Him?
20 So you will walk in the way of the good [with Him] and keep to the paths of the righteous [where He wants to go and do what He wants to do].
Yesterday, I told you that I would ask you a difficult question today. It is based upon Acts 5:20, “Go, stand in the temple courts, and tell the people all about this new life.” I asked yesterday,
Is Jesus worth the risk?
Here’s the rest of the question:
If Jesus is worth the risk,
and, assuming that He equips us,
how might we share the gospel with others?
Let’s make sure that we have the “equipping” part down. In Hebrews 13:20-21, we get a real solid foundation of what Jesus does for us,
20 Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
I like the way that God and Jesus are interwoven in this passage; they really are one (John 10:30). I also like that we will be equipped and used for His glory by His Spirit, which is Jesus. How did Jesus tell us we would be used for His glory? In Acts 1:8, we get a promise and a prophecy,
8 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.”
Did the promise come true? Yes (Acts 2:4). Did the prophecy come true? Yes. Just read Acts and then continue on to today. The term, “witnesses,” is different than “evangelists.” Evangelism is a gift that is not given to everyone (Ephesians 4:11-13, 1 Corinthians 12:27-30). Being witnesses simply means that we testify to what we have seen and heard. John did this in his letter,
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 1 John 1:1
I bolded the appropriate words for us: Heard, seen, looked at, touched, proclaim. Now, let’s go back to our beginning verse and see how these words apply:
“Go, stand in the temple courts, and tell the people all about this new life.” Acts 5:20
- Heard– The disciples had heard straight from Jesus about the new life. They knew it pretty well.
- Seen– They had seen Him do miracles; these “signs and wonders” attested to who He is and about His authority to bring about the New Covenant that He was implementing.
- Looked at- The disciples had looked at the life of Jesus and found everything He said to be true. In fact, the cross, death, burial, and resurrection sealed their conviction that Jesus is Lord.
- Touched– Even though only Thomas is named for touching Jesus’ scars, I’ll bet all of them did (Luke 24:39)! I know I would!!! They ate fish with Him. He probably hugged them, too. In fact, the traditional Hebrew greeting included a kiss. Jesus was real! They were also touched by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
- Proclaim– Proclaiming what they had experienced was simple, and with the power of the Holy Spirit, it was even easy. The circumstances were tough, but when Christ is in us empowering us and protecting us from the evil one, being obedient becomes easy; we just do what He tells us to do when He tells us to do it. Will we always be delivered physically as the disciples were in Acts 5:19? No. In fact, every disciple except John died a martyr’s death. It’s all about furthering the gospel. It is said that the “Church is watered by the blood of martyrs” (by L’Osservatore Romano, Weekly ed. in English, n. 27, 4 July 2014) I encourage you to click the link and read the entire letter.
Is Jesus worth the risk? I believe He is. Do you? If so, then let’s be true and faithful witnesses wherever we go with whomever we meet.
Abba, as we assemble today as Your church, Your bride, may we come to You with singleness of mind and heart. When we do, I know that You will affirm in our hearts the reality of all that You taught and promised. Our faith is built on Your promises: You are who You said You are (God in the flesh), You did what You said You would do (became the Last Sacrifice–and then rose from the dead), and You will do what You promised to do (advance Your kingdom through Your church, and then come back to rule and reign). Your return may be soon, Lord, but there is so much work to be done that I ask You to tarry a while longer. May Your kingdom come to earth through Your church, Lord Jesus, until You enjoin the heavens once again and hand the scepter back to our Heavenly Father (Psalm 110:1, 1 Corinthians 15:22-28). What a day that will be! Until then, may we be about Your business. Amen.