Wouldn’t it be great if we could take over the world (for Jesus) in just four quick steps? It is possible, but there is nothing quick about sharing the message and love of Christ with seven billion people. Yet, those were precisely Jesus’ last words before ascending into Heaven (Acts 1:8). Just four steps and the Gospel would be taken to "the ends of the earth."
A PROMISE AND A CHALLENGE
Let’s go back to the first century. Jesus was about to amaze His faithful followers by flying without a plane and disappearing into the clouds. He gives one last bit of instruction to them...
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. — Acts 1:8
Was He kidding? Even in a day and age when the population of the world was less than 300 million, Jesus certainly couldn't expect 120 people to take over. But last words are never a joke, and Jesus was serious about expecting the Church to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
THE FOUR STEPS
Jesus’ four steps to reach the world are as simple as:
1. Jerusalem was the center of their lives, the heart of their nation. Among its many meanings, Jerusalem refers to those closest to us, who think like us, and speak the same language.
- What if we committed to making sure every person in our family, church, social circle, and workplace had the opportunity to decide about the claims of Christ? What if we loved them with the love of Christ day-in and day-out? What if everyone in our local church did the same? Consider the impact.
2. Judea was their immediate surrounding. The villages around the Holy City, as well as the rural areas nearby. Our Judea could be the friends of our friends.
- What if we engaged with people we have never seen before? Social media, drive-through windows, check-out counters, and traffic jams give us unique opportunities to bless complete strangers.
3. Samaria was not only a distant city, but a marginalized group of people they would have rather avoided than reach out to. There are plenty of those around us these days. I need not point fingers, but I bet you are already thinking of some.
- What if you and I began to love the "unlovable" and serve the “tough to love” with the love of Christ – no questions asked, no strings attached?
4. The Ends of the Earth is exactly what it says. In this day and age, we can hop on a plane and be at the end of the world in just a few days. But these days, the ends of the earth is a lot closer. With one refugee crisis after another, the ends of the earth are now within driving distance for most of us.
- What if we decided to find, serve, and share the love of Christ with immigrants and refugees in our communities?
IF EVERYONE DID THE SAME
Imagine if the Church of Jesus Christ – all 2.2 billion of us – started looking at the world through the lens of Acts 1:8 and following Jesus’ four steps. Wouldn’t it be possible – even likely – that we could reach the ends of the earth in this generation?