An Impossible Task Made Simple
By Tyler Long, Washington Conference evangelism coordinator
In Acts 1:8 we read: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Here we have Jesus giving the early church its marching orders. The next event pictures Jesus going up in a cloud of angels.
As we ponder this passage, think with me how the early church must have felt.
Jesus commands them to be His witness unto the world. With an estimated 60 – 80 million people living in the Roman Empire, this must have seemed like an impossible task for those 120 early followers. This is a ratio of 1:600,000. How would they accomplish this extraordinary task? Could they mail out thousands of seminar brochures? Would they be able to post an event on social media and then hope and pray people from the community show up? Could they create a media ministry that would broadcast the good news of Jesus to all that were willing to listen? Not that these are bad ways to share the Good News, but somehow within the first 40 years of the early church, they were able to reach 40+ million people with the Gospel. Paul states in the book of Colossians that he “preached the Gospel to every creature which is under heaven.”
How was the early church able to experience such exponential growth? How did they fulfill the call of Christ and what can we in the year 2018 learn from them?
First, the early church relied on being filled with the Holy Spirit. As a church, we are great at organizing programs, coordinating training events and scheduling our revivals (do you see what I did there). With no marketing budget and zero human technology, the early church, filled with the Holy Spirit, shared the Gospel by word of mouth.
A.W. Tozer states, “If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.”
Second, the early church understood their marching orders. As a Naval Veteran, I remember being given orders by my superior officer. These orders were not a request, a suggestion, or even optional. We followed an order or people could get hurt, or worse, they could get killed. The one that commands the armies of heaven has called you and me to go forth conquering and to conquer. What a privilege we have to be His Witnesses unto all the world.
Feel free to study more about this topic and notice how the Church of Acts grew. Here's a good starting point:Tyler
· Acts 1:15 – 120 on Pentecost morning.
· Acts 2 – 3,000 conversions.
· Acts 4:4 – 5,000 believers
· Acts 5:14 – “believers were increasingly added to the Lord”
· Acts 6:7 – Religious leaders come to the faith
· Acts 8:4 – Persecution scatters the church.
· Acts 8:14 – Peter and John go and see what is happening in Samaria.
· Acts 9 – Paul is baptized
· Acts 10– Romans are baptized
· Acts 16 – More conversions Acts 16:5 – Church planting movement.
· Acts 28:28 – Book of Acts ends with millions of believers!