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Devotional - week of September 10, 2006


missions and evangelism

 

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."  Acts 1:8

 

The heart cry of many evangelicals is, “Let’s get the gospel to as many people as we can and as fast as we can.” Every evangelical church should have that passion for the spread of the gospel.

 

Acts 1:8 contains Jesus’ statement that His followers are to do the work of evangelism in every nation on earth—until the last part of the earth is reached.

 

But why do some churches that are passionate about missions and evangelism have so many problems at home? Such churches have the right spirit about spreading the gospel but they constantly have to deal with problems within their own fellowship.

 

In Jesus’ prayer recorded in John, chapter 17, we see that nothing is more on His heart than a deep desire that His followers be as one. Then only days later He tells his followers that they will take the gospel to the last place on earth. Jesus shows that a church can and should have a spirit of oneness within her walls while spreading the gospel beyond her walls. 

 

The missing element in a church that blesses many without but has confusion within is that of believers overlooking Jesus’ statement in Acts 1:8. There Jesus says that the spread of the gospel will be done in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit provides the motivation, direction and power for missions and evangelism. Also Galatians 5:22 says that the fruit of the Spirit is [Divine] love.

 

So when a church has a warm spirit about the spread of the gospel beyond her walls while experiencing an absence of love within her walls, she is engaged in missions and evangelism in human effort and not in the power and leadership of the Holy Spirit.

 

The Scriptures teach that the Holy Spirit is in all believers. In Ephesians 5:18 Christians are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit. A church that is filled with the Holy Spirit will have all the motivation, direction and power that she needs for missions and evangelism. She also will have a sweet fellowship throughout her membership.

 

A church living out oneness with Christ will be filled with the Spirit.