By CCCNZ Ambassador Mark Grace
Delta Level 2 is seeing more of us meeting together outside our facilities than in them.
It’s plausible that there are new Covid variants coming. It’s possible intermittent lockdowns and level changes will continue.
Is this our new normal? Are we being scattered?
In Acts 8 God scatters his Church. What can we learn?
God is at the centre
In Acts 1:8 Jesus speaks of the Holy Spirit and states “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth”.
His words walk themselves into history in Acts 8. The Church is scattered from Jerusalem, into Judea and Samaria. The chapter ends with an Ethiopian “from the ends of the earth” receiving the good news of Jesus.
God is at the centre of the scattering in the first century and he’s at the centre of the scattering of the Church in this century.
God works through ordinary Christians
Look at Acts chapter 8, verse 4.
Thousands of ordinary Christians are scattered across Judea and Samaria proclaiming the word as they go.
It’s these people Luke identifies first. It’s these people the living God entrusts with the good news of Jesus. God is still working through ordinary Christians.
God’s word works
We’ve all become used to the letters www. In Acts 8 they could stand for: the word, the word, the word.
In verses 4, 5 and 25 it is the dynamic and powerful word of Jesus working that Luke highlights.
Acts 8 is a powerful reminder to trust ordinary people with God’s extraordinary word. I need to keep reminding myself that God’s primary way of working in the world is not my structures or strategies, but through his incredible word.
God’s Holy Spirit is wonderfully active. In Acts 8 he confirms the gospel through healing and deliverance, he enters new Christians, and he leads Philip to the Ethiopian Eunuch.
God’s Spirit is still wonderfully active today in drawing people to Christ and opening their eyes and hearts to the gospel.
God sends his people into Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. The Apostles send Simon and Peter. In sending his people God physically de-centres the Church from its base in Jerusalem.
Is God inviting your church to send?
God’s mission sometimes looks messy
Acts 8 looks messy to us: people are dying, thousands are fleeing, people are responding to the gospel in mis-guided ways. The chapter screams “child’s painting” more than “Mona Lisa”. It is... messy!
Are we being scattered? I don’t know.
What I do know is God is at the centre of history. That God's word is powerfully at work, that he continues to use ordinary Christians, that the Holy Spirit is wonderfully active, that he is still sending us into Aotearoa, New Zealand, and that living and speaking the gospel is as messy as ever.
What I do know is that working together as churches, campsites, and support ministries to point people to Jesus, through the gospel from the Scriptures is as important as ever.