We probably don't think about it very often in terms of responsibility. We go through our daily and weekly routines and generally aim to be a Christian. We go to church on Sundays where we listen to someone preach to us. We've been taught to look to a pastor to keep us on track.
But there's an amazing verse in the book of Acts that really captured my attention some years ago. Allow me to set this up: Imagine persecution had come to your town. Christianity is outlawed. Some have been thrown into prison for their faith. What happens now? What will you do? Here's what happened to believers in Jerusalem:
Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word. (Acts 8:4)
Wait a minute. They didn't fold like a cheap picnic chair and quit serving God? They didn't run to get counseling? They didn't abandon the name of Jesus? No. They went everywhere preaching the word. Wow!
What does this tell us about those early Christians? Here's what I get from this:
a) they were strong enough in their own faith to withstand persecution;
b) they knew the word;
c) they understood their own spiritual responsibilities;
c) they'd been taught how to teach and preach.
In other words, they weren't spectators of their faith. They were active in their walk with God. They viewed themselves as missionaries wherever they went.
Is that our perspective about our own faith? Do we view ourselves as carriers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, able, willing and desirous to point souls to that narrow way that leads to life? Or are we more like passive members of a weekly social club who's primary duty is to hold down a pew and pass the offering plate?
This might sound funny, but some people are more attached to an attractive building then they are to God. If something were to happen to that building, they'd be shaken. Others are dedicated to Pastor Jones. But if the good pastor ever fell into sin, oh my, they might not make it through to glory either. And of course, who can worship without Sister Jenny leading us on the baby grand piano? No Jenny? No worship. Sorry Jesus.
Is this us? Are we that frail?
What kind of a church did Christ come to build? Matthew 16:18 tells us that his church is built on the rock (Christ) and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. It's a church that will endure storms, persecutions, threats, feast, famine and even the perils of prosperity. It won't just barely get by, it will prevail! It will advance! Jesus said, Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. (Matthew 5:14)
So here's a question for us all: are we strong enough in our faith, that we can stand alone if we had to? By stand alone, I'm not suggesting that the goal is to separate ourselves from godly fellowship. Rather, that even if we are alone, we are true to Christ and stand for him. We don't revert back to our old ways or just blend in with our surroundings. Some of us are surrounded by sinners, must travel for work, or are stationed far away in the military. Whatever the case are we faithful to him? Are we witnesses unto him and to those around us?
I remember many times of being out on my own. I was tested and challenged. Sometimes I was victorious. Then there was the other ninety percent of the time. Much of that changed when someone taught me a Bible study then pushed me to go teach others. I did and my life changed. I had a deeper relationship with Christ and his Word and had tools to share the Word with others.
Hey! That's exactly what the early church did!
...Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.
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