June 22, 2009

God's Call - Part 3

"Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." - Matthew 4:19

"... a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. ... Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went." - Acts 8:1,4

As we discussed in my last post, a part of having a "koinania" fellowship and friendship with God is to have a partnership with Him where you join God in what He is doing in the world. We do not try to do things for God (which many people make the mistake of trying to do), but He invites or "calls" us (or commands us) to join Him. When we understand God's desire and passion for all people to be saved and have a restored personal relationship with Him through Jesus (see 1 Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9), then we will know that this is one of the main things that God is doing in the world. And we know from Matthew 28:18-20 and other verses that God wants believers to become true disciples of Jesus who are fruitful in their lives and service for Him. God is always at work in the world and in the lives and hearts of those without Christ, and He is looking for faithful people to join Him in reaching out to them. According to Jesus' words in Matthew 4:19, if we are not being a "fisher of men", then we are not truly following Him. A fisher of men is someone who understands the command of His Lord Jesus, and who obeys and is actively sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with others in his/her daily life. According to Jesus' words, all Christians are to be "fishers of men" or missionaries, wherever they are, actively sharing Christ with others.

The church in the book of Acts clearly understood what Jesus commanded them to do, and all of them in the church obeyed. In Acts chapter 8 a great persecution came against the church, and everyone but the apostles were scattered to other places. Verse 4 tells us that all who were scattered, everyone but the apostles, went out and preached the word everywhere they went. These people had a passion for Jesus and a passion for those without Christ, and they faithfully obeyed and followed Jesus, sharing the Gospel everywhere they went. 100% of the followers of Christ back then obeyed His call/command to spread the Good News. Today in the church a very small percentage of people are truly following Jesus and obeying Him, and answering the call to reach out to a world without Christ.

For example, the number of evangelical Christians who are joining God in what He is doing in other parts of the world is very small. There are an estimated 500,000,000 evangelical Christians in the world (some estimates show up to 1 billion), and there are an estimated 100,000 evangelical missionaries serving the Lord. This means that only 1 in 5000 Christians are answering God's call/command to join Him in the world to reach others for Christ and to make disciples. When we lived in the US we were members of a Southern Baptist church, and even in the Southern Baptist denomination the percentage of people joining God as missionaries in other countries is very low (only 1 in approx. 2950). And yet God is clearly mightily at work in many parts of the world outside the US. This shows a serious lack of passion and devotion for God, and for those without Christ. May God touch our hearts and give us a renewed love and passion for Him, and for those who do not have the joy and peace from having a personal relationship with Jesus.

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