Issuing the Acts 1:8 challenge to Missouri Baptists
October 26, 2004
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (HCSB) Acts 1:8
Although this verse is found in every Christian’s Bible, some believers have ignored the application in their lives. For Southern Baptists, it is one of the most precious and treasured of all the direct quotes of Jesus we have. As one of my former church members said, “Pastor, that verse is in red letters! … it’s the GOOD stuff!” Well, it’s all “good stuff”, but we know his heart. A direct quote from our Lord Jesus’ own lips. Now, let me ask a question, “How are YOU and your church fulfilling this command of Christ?”
This is personal instruction to every believer. So the first application is that every believer is to be a witness for Christ – not just in character and lifestyle – but in verbal testimony of a life surrendered to Christ. In short, you and I must be telling others about Jesus (Matthew 10:32-33). I believe the world is anxious to hear the story!
Last spring, Suzie and I were involved in an ATV school at a state park just north of Columbia. It was not the kind of day my wife likes. It was overcast, cold and drizzling rain. It is not an atmosphere that is friendly to hairstyles. After the conclusion of this school, we were visiting with two of the other participants. We discovered our instructor was a fired up new believer from Highview Church in Chillicothe. Wow, what a blessing it was to get to know him! The other gentleman was an unsaved Roman Catholic man. In the dirt lot of that state park, in drizzling rain, standing in mud, the Lord allowed me to share Christ and Jacque was saved! Just after he prayed to our Lord Jesus, he said to us (the three believers), “I didn’t ever think I would give my life to Jesus in a cold rain, standing in the mud.”
The point of this story is that people are everywhere around us and I believe anxious to hear the truth of Christ. No, not every witnessing experience ends this way, but enough of them have happened to me this year to keep me going!
So the Jerusalem level of application of Acts 1:8 is for us each to be a personal witness. Jerusalem is wherever you are breathing. The remaining levels of application are to be witnesses in Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth. How can you do that?
As a Missouri Southern Baptist, your Cooperative Program is designed to help you and your church fulfill the great commission. A portion of every dollar you give is sent by your church to the Cooperative Program. It comes to the Missouri Baptist Convention’s (MBC) office and is distributed from there to ministries in Judea ( Missouri), Samaria (North American Mission Board) and to the ends of the earth (International Mission Board).
It’s sort of like buying stock. With every offering you give to Jesus at your church, you are buying a piece of the mission’s action all across the earth. Pretty exciting isn’t it? But there’s more.
In addition to your missions support that drives the day-to-day needs of missionaries and their work, you can go and walk on these mission fields and be an active personal witness in Judea (Missouri), Samaria (North American) and to the ends of the earth (international missions) with your missionaries. How? I am so glad you asked that question.
The partnership missions office of your MBC is specifically set up to assist you and our churches to get to the mission fields on short-term or even long-term basis. Missouri’s current international partnerships include Puerto Rico, Romania and Iraq. At the annual meeting on Oct. 26, we are going to propose a three-year domestic partnership with the Southern Baptists of the state of Colorado (this will be a good one!).
Every time you give an offering to Jesus in your Missouri Southern Baptist Church, you are fulfilling the great commission given you in Acts 1:8. Now, why don’t you join the thousands of other Missouri Baptists and go to the next level of missions by personally going to one of these mission fields? Don’t have the money to go? We can help you find the resources. If you are at this year’s annual meeting at FBC Raytown, visit the MBC Partnership Mission’s display. If you are at home right now, call us at: (800) 736-6227 extension 620 and ask for Norm Howell, your partnership missionary.
The purpose of your MBC is to assist you and your church to fulfill the great commission! It is the adventure of a lifetime!