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Thursday: Starting From Where You Are — 20 Comments

  1. Nowadays it is probably easier go to a far country and spread the Gospel than it is at home. I know that for several years people have been travelling to countries of the former Soviet bloc, Mongolia, and others where they have run evangelistic programs along traditional lines with some considerable success. Evangelism in countries like Australia that are very secular seem to largely miss the mark. The community at large is cynical about proselytising and sees what we call the Gospel as anachronistic.

    Earlier this year, I posted some graphs showing the demographic trends for Christian belief and secularism – they were not pleasant viewing, particularly for a church organisation who believes that the Gospel should be preached in all the world. We are losing the battle right on the home front. I know that we have our pet excuses as to why this is so, but even that is hardly comforting.

    Perhaps it is time to write an addendum to the Gospel Commission that when we have preached in all the world, we need to come back home and relearn what it means to share the Gospel in “Jerusalem and Judea”. And if I may take an interpretive view of this passage. We need to consider preaching the Gospel to ourselves - our “Jerusalem”, and our neighbours - our “Judea”.

    We also need to consider how we are preaching the Gospel. Just shouting louder does not work. I hope that in this series of lessons on mission we move on from Christian colonialism to sharing the Kingdom of Heaven meaningfully.

  2. The moment we will find comfort in sharing the gospel in our local communities, local market and workplaces (including our bosses and work supervisors) we will be doing evangelism indeed. This way of desiring to go out and forsake home need to stop. I love the challenge and am praying over it.

  3. Thank you once again Maurice for your comments 🙂

    I had to look up the definition of anachronistic :(belonging or appropriate to an earlier period, especially so as to seem old-fashioned) & also had to re-look at the definition of proselytize : (convert or attempt to convert (someone) from one religion, belief, or opinion to another)

    So, I had been a Hindu for ~36 years of my life & then received The Holy Spirit on the 10th of May 2013. Having now visited 54 churches (of various denominations) in South Africa thus far, I have come to realise this:

    Whether a person labels themselves a Christian or not is irrelevant, they actually have to follow King Jesus' ways as described by Him in Matthew 7:21 KJV. I have seen many people with the "label" of Muslim, Hindu, Jew, Bhuddist, Sikh, Jainist, Atheist etc be more Christian (and more in alignment with King Jesus' ways) than self-proclaimed Christians. Anyone can merely "tick the boxes" by (apparently) converting through a water baptism, going to church regularly, reading the Holy Bible etc. They talk the talk, but don't walk the walk of King Jesus (Matthew 15:8 KJV).

    With my background as an engineer, I have taken up face-to-face maths tutoring. I would not be able to teach maths if I didn't know the maths myself. Similarly, one cannot share King Jesus authentically if they themselves are not known by Him (Matthew 7:23 KJV). King Jesus states "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." (Matthew 22:39 KJV) : In order to show authentic love, you need to have the love of God in you.

    I do not agree with anyone who thinks that the gospel is anachronistic, as I take guidance from King Jesus words in Matthew 16:28 KJV. He is here. He is King. He rules over all.

    So, before one embarks on any sort of mission, do a self-check & heed His words in Matthew 16:26 KJV.

  4. The Gospel has to start within me. I'm the one to comprehend it first. Once this happens, I go out to the world, reaching out to my family, co-workers, neighbors, and friends. But sometimes, I may want to skip a step. Missing steps in any part of life can be unwise. "First things should come first, and I cannot give what I do not have!" So it must be with my mission. Focusing on understanding the Love of God for me can naturally be the impulse I need to "contaminate" others around.

  5. So many times our witness in our inner circles (family, home, school, work, community) is a deterrent because our walk walk does not match our talk talk. All would prefer to see a sermon everyday than to hear a sermon. We have a personal responsibility to witness. Not everyone can preach publicly but all of us MUST fulfill our responsibility to witness. There is a question that is asked ever so often of why are so many young people leaving our church in droves? We need to be careful, parents are the first role models. Witnessing is a lifestyle to be developed, a goal to be pursued, and a work to be invested in. We need the Holy Spirits’ help in all aspects of witnessing.

  6. And why not just work as God leads us personally where we live on a "One on one" basis like He did with the Samaritan woman at the well?

  7. Our church in N. America has not taught Acts 1:8 the way the author presents it here. We work to reach only those who are most like is. White witness to white. Black reachout to black. Spanish to Spanish. And no one to Native Americans. As long as we have leaders who support this type of division and a membership that is complicit we will continue to be disobedient to Christ Jesus command.

    • Amen to this, Carson Wynter. I am a tan color skin Mexican with jade eyes because my father had green eyes and white skin and my mother had brown eyes and brown skin. I can pass for being Italian. My Seventh Day Adventist membership is to an English Speaking congregation. I can speak Spanish and I witness to both Spanish speaking people and also English speaking people too. And how do we get God's Holy Spirit to empower us to witness? We just simply do what Jesus said to do in Luke 11:13, just ask God the Father for it in the name of His Son Jesus and then go on to the days working and living for the Three Divine Personalities of the Godhead and talk to whoever comes our way etc. and etc.

    • Hello Carson,

      Because of the terrible history of murder, abuse (sexual, physical, emotional and mental) and subjugation by colonial christians in the Americas, it is very difficult to reach “native Americans,” or for that matter, indigenous people living on other continents. For example, Canada (where I live) forcibly removed young children from their families and put them in “residential” schools, where they were “educated” for most of the year away from their families and communities. In these “christian schools,” children were not even fed subsistence diets, and thousands died of malnutrition and disease, never to be seen again by their families. They lived highly regimented lives in which even the slightest infraction of rules was met with severe brutality (at one “school” they even had an electric chair). Most of the children who survived these “schools” were fit neither for life with their people nor life in “christian” or secular society. As a result, substance abuse and suicide are rampant.

      This dark history has only recently been brought to light. But there are many people in Canada who believe all this history is fiction invented by “Indians” to get special treatment. As a result, when ground-scanning radar identified hundreds of possible unmarked grave sites (based on information from survivors) at a former residential school, vigilantes showed up at the school with shovels and other excavating equipment to expose the “fake.” For this reason, integrating white christians into “native American” evangelism could be problematic.

      Given this dynamic, a credible witness of God’s love is very difficult and a process of years, if not decades. I am thankful that the Canadian SDA Church began an effort in this regard decades ago and it is now bearing fruit. In the community in which I live, half of the population is “native American” and our church has been working for about a decade to make an effective witness. At this year’s Truth and Reconciliation Day, we had the privilege of being invited to participate with a booth at the event. Our building is used for secular counseling and worship and prayer services by a local “native American” Christian group.

      But we long and pray for a local “native American” family to join with us in prayer and worship to our Creator.

      • Thank you Richard for sharing.

        A true Christian is one who is able to repent (King Jesus in Matthew 4:17 KJV). Without repentance, an individual is stuck in their sin. This extends to a society as well. Atrocities like these have occurred (and are still occurring) all around the world. These perpetrators of these atrocities need to admit their debt to society & anyone who ties themselves to these societies' denials of the truth, deny themselves entry into the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 7:23 KJV).

        I hail from South Africa and our Apartheid history speaks volumes about how Christianity was used to abuse people (with the support of so-called Christians who used The Holy Bible to justify their policies like William Nicol).

        May God help us all to fulfill King Jesus' words in Matthew 5:44 KJV 🙏

  8. One thing in Acts:1:8 that the lesson did not mention: “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you”. The disciples had been with Jesus for over 3 years. They believed the Bible and accepted His teachings. They loved Him and were willing to obey. But still He said they needed something more- the power of the Holy Spirit. Do we know what this means?

    • MichaelZ, the "Power from on high" that Jesus spoke of came to the Apostles before the Apostle Paul was added to take the place of Judas, by Jesus Himself when Paul was struck blind by Jesus etc. But God can and will give His Holy Spirit on a personal basis to us now in these latter days when we do what Jesus said for us to do as recorded by the Gospel Writer, Luke, in Luke 11:13. We can be witnesses for God each and every day this way. There is to be another outpouring of God's Holy Spirit like in the book of Acts. This first outpouring is referred to as "The former rain." the one that is coming and is still future is referred to as "The latter rain," and is still to come and probably will not happen until the last and seventh last plague is poured out by God on "Spiritual Babylon."

      • Thank you Pete. How does the Holy Spirit being poured out affect our witness? Does it make people more willing to listen to what we have to share? For example, do Doug Batchelor and John Bradshaw have the Spirit poured out that enables them to win many souls?


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