Tomorrow evening we will get together for Week 7 of 12 in our “Make Disciples.” series. Below you will find links to an overview of the full 12 weeks and for the seventh area on the map, Engaging God’s World: Mission.
During the 12 weeks, we are addressing areas on a comprehensive discipleship map. After discussing each area, we will try to establish Milestones that would provide evidence of personal spiritual growth – markers that we work toward.
This little tidbit from struck me as amazingly, seriously and sort of humorously on target:
The weakness that many Christians encounter today is that of frustration. While the modern emphasis on efficiency has produced quick ways to do many things, there is no shortcut to effective evangelism. This may be the single biggest challenge that Western missionaries will face in the twenty-first century. They are not skilled at facing frustration, but if they are to be effective missionaries they will have to master that skill.
The church in the Western World is not very well in tune with the reality of the supernatural. Our regular assumptions cause us to associate supernatural activity with tabloid headlines, superstition or weirdos. Paul wouldn’t want it that way.
In this passage, Paul touches on relationships both inside and outside the church. He’ll show us that all of these relationships are important, but they are not all the same. In every relationship that we have we are to be either a witness or an encouragement.
Through the whole OT, especially the Psalms and the Prophets, we see that the nations would eventually worship the God of Israel. But though we get any number of hints about Jesus and God’s desire to reach all nations that they might praise Him, we are never clearly told how this would ever come about. In the NT we finally find this out. Jesus, after his death and resurrection, goes to back heaven, the Holy Spirit comes in His place, and God begins building His church.
In Acts 11 we see three types of subject matter that need to be communicated by God’s servants.
11:20 preaching euaggelízō to announce good news, “evangelize”. This is to unbelievers. They really just need to hear the gospel. Until they grasp that nothing else really matters very much.
11:23 encouragingparakaléō to call alongside, exhort, admonish Related to parakletos, a title used of both Jesus and the Holy Spirit. (See John 14:16, 15:26, 16:7 and 1 John 2:1) This is especially to new believers. They need to go beyond the gospel itself and hear about commitment to Christ, growth and perseverance – so that they don’t see trials and fall away. More mature believers also still need this from time to time because, let’s face it, we get discouraged and need motivation.
11:26 teachingdidáskō (like “didactic”) to impart instruction, explain or expound a thing, instill doctrine. This is educating Christians about God and the Christian life, communicating all that God has revealed to us – from A to Z, Alpha to Omega, the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation, the Contents to the Maps. Teaching nourishes and matures a church. It is sorely needed in the church today. Many Christians are ignorant of the Scriptures and are therefore weak in their faith (Romans 10:17). We their pastors need to feed it to them.