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Monday, May 16, 2016
"To The Remotest Part Of The Earth"
Message Summary: The book of Acts is a record of the obedience of the early church to this command and surely that command remains through the church age. Today the Holy Spirit continues to empower believers all over the world to be witnesses for Christ as they let their lights shine in vibrant testimony for Him.
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"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
Grover DeVault is a local friend who served as a chaplain in the US Army. During the course of his career he has had some interesting experiences. He, with the help of an interpreter, held an evangelistic crusade in Vietnam during the conflict and many came to Christ. He found out many years later that one man attended the services strapped with bombs intending to blow himself up and of course killing many. However the man listened to Grover's proclamation of the Gospel, was convicted of his sins, and was gloriously saved!
Yesterday we attended a Vietnamese church with Grover and his wife, Nancy, as well as our longtime friends, Jim and Dorothy Schmidt. It was the earlier English service geared for the Vietnamese youth and young adults. (A later service is attended by the older adult Vietnamese with the music and sermon spoken in their native language.) I had the opportunity to introduce Grover and pointed out that some in attendance may have descended from those saved in that crusade back in the late sixties.
Apart from our own family influence, and perhaps a longtime pastor or famous evangelist, most of us have little knowledge of our spiritual ancestors. But we are all ultimately a result of the early disciples' obedience to the Great Commission and those who have remained obedient to that commission since that time. And now we are all called to be a part in the transmission.
Today's text is the last instruction from Jesus to His disciples before His Ascension, a teaching concerning the power of the Holy Spirit for witness. Yesterday was Pentecost Sunday, what many consider the birthday of the church when God poured out His Spirit on those praying in the upper room, as recorded in Acrs 2. Beginning that day we see the church's obedience to His command to be Christ's witnesses and in the remainder of Acts we see concentric circles geographically as the message spread from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. In Acts the remotest parts specifically referenced are Rome.
But Grover DeVault, the chaplain, referred to in the earlier part of today's message, is one of only two ministers who has ever preached on the North Pole! Back in the mid-sixties he was serving on a remote base in Greenland above the Arctic Circle when he flew with a group of military personnel to the North Pole. He and a Roman Catholic priest each held a service at the Pole fulfilling Christ's commission to preach to the remotest parts of the earth. (I do not know whether there has ever been a service on the South Pole!)
Pastor John Piper writes, "Therefore the end and goal of world missions is that the nations might glorify God for His mercy. The aim of missions is worship. Missions exists because worship doesn't. The gap between God's goal to glorify Himself in all that He does and the world of unbelief that denies Him that glory is being closed by God through the means of world missions."
The book of Acts is a record of the obedience of the early church to this command and surely that command remains through the church age. Today the Holy Spirit continues to empower believers all over the world to be witnesses for Christ as they let their lights shine in vibrant testimony for Him.
Pastor Steven Coles observes, "The disciples were to be Christ’s witnesses. Is this a command or a prophecy? Both! There is a sense in which every Christian is a witness. The question is, "Are we effective witnesses or are we a hindrance to the cause of Christ?" The word “witness” is a major theme in Acts, occurring 39 times. Since it is the Lord’s command and since we cannot escape being witnesses of some sort, it behooves us to seek, by our godly lifestyle and clear verbal witness, to bring glory to Jesus Christ."
Today how are you being a witness for Christ?
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we are a chosen generation, a royal people who have been called out of darkness into Your marvelous light. Through the power of Your Holy Spirit we go forth and shine Your light through our works, our attitudes, our holy lives, and by our verbal witness. May we bring You glory as others see Your light shining through us. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Jim and Dorothy Schmidt who, just two weeks ago, changed their residency from Ocean City, NJ to Lancaster County. They've been our friends for over 15 years and we are delighted to have them living only 20 minutes from our home, though we will miss their beautiful home and warm hospitality offered each time we visit Ocean City.
Tim & Melonie Murray stopped by on Saturday morning. Tim is a friend from JK Mechanical. When we learned it was their 13th wedding anniversary Brooksyne shared a jar of spicy peach jam and I threw in a "new car smell" air freshener. Since we now serve as chaplains at Kleen-Rite, a supply company for car washes, I ordered an assortment of car fresheners we now enjoy sharing with friends. With a little imagination, perhaps the "new car smell" can double as a "new marriage refresher" for the couple now beginning their 14th year of marriage. Their love and devotion is very evident!
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Send Me Out" Video Gilbert Hovsepian
Finally today: Tomorrow we will share about an outstanding presentation we attended last night and again this morning concerning the Museum of the Bible being built in Washington DC. It is a vision of the Green family who stood up like a Daniel to an evil edict of our current government. We are seeing an increase in evil edicts from our government!
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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