Here are just a few quick thoughts about the G.A.T.A. series and this past week’s message.
First, I want to say emphatically that what we value most will determine what we are intentional about in life. AND…until what is gained is viewed as greater than what is lost you will never become intentional in your behavior! For example, if we value being fit more than eating bad food the cost of not eating food that actually taste good will be worth it! (I typically eat bad, delicious food! Don’t you judge me!) This holds true in our relationship with Jesus as well. Until we value Jesus as greater than what it cost to be His disciple we will never become intentional in fulfilling the purpose for which we were created!
That brings me to the next thought…Why were we created? What is our purpose? Our purpose has not changed since the creation of mankind. From Genesis 1:28 until today our purpose has been to fill the earth with God’s glory! Now, because of Jesus, you and I are able to once again manifest the glory of God! His glory is made up of His character and attributes (We see this in the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit)…It’s who He is! This is an awesome privilege that we should not take for granted!
When we read Acts 8:1-4 we see a people, the Church, that were incredibly intentional about filling the earth with believers in Christ who would display God’s glory! Why? If we know what they knew and experience what they experienced wouldn’t there be a greater urgency in us to be intentional in reaching the lost and filling the earth with God’s glory? I believe so. So what was it that they knew? What was it they saw? What was it they experienced? Glad you asked…
First, the message wasn’t something they believed it was who they were! THEY WERE CONVINCED THE MESSAGE WAS TRUE! They knew that if people didn’t here the message and come to faith in Jesus they would REALLY spend eternity separated from God! They knew what it was to be separated from God and they knew what it was to be reconciled to God through Jesus! They didn’t want anyone to spend eternity separated…WE SHOULDN’T EITHER!
Second, they had seen and experienced the glory of God! This seems abstract I know. Kind of like looking at abstract art and trying to wrap your mind around it! I believe the glory of God is abstract because it is THE GLORY OF GOD! How could we wrap our mind around it! But I do believe we can see His glory in two (there are others) specific ways. One is through God’s glorious grace (unmerited favor given through Jesus) working in our life and the other is through His grace working through the lives of other people! If your life has been changed by Jesus then you have seen and experienced God’s glory! If you have witnessed other people’s lives changed by Jesus you have seen God’s glory!
Third, they had seen the beauty of the church being the church! When the church functions the way the church was designed to function there is NOTHING more beautiful. People loving God and loving each other goes so against the grain of this world that it shines like burnished bronze! They had seen the church being the church and knew that when lived out everyone would recognize its divine nature!
Fourth, they had seen the power of God in the church! They had witnessed the persecution of the apostles and other saints and knew that each of Satan’s attempts to stop the church only served to propel it forward! I truly believe that Satan thought every rock thrown on Stephen’s body (Acts 7) would serve to dam up the spreading of the gospel when it actually opened the flood gates! We, like those who were scattered in Acts 8:1-4, must grab hold of the fact that NOTHING can stop the Church! Let’s live boldly and with the courage of people who have already won!