Monday, October 29, 2012

Spreading the Word

Acts 5:27-42
The Messiah, by the Jews, was predicted, expected, anticipated, BUT overlooked (missed)
Because - they misunderstood the primary role - Luke 19:10  Matt. 1:21 - overlooked that He would be the sacrifice for sins.

BUT, after the resurrection (Pentecost) His followers got it!!!

So:  #1.  They accepted, embraced, began to follow this Messiah who saves, forgives, redeems.
Who reveals God, expresses the love of the Father, Reconciles!
Who lives..... is ever present and ever caring!!!  AND IS LORD!!

#2.  They began to tell others.  -
Book of Acts - Historical account of the early church.
           Pentecost - Acts 2:41 - Holy Spirit fell upon the Apostles - birth of the church in a big way.
          Apostles in the temple outer courts/before the Sanhedrin - Acts 4:11-12
          Birth of the church/growth of "The Way"  Acts 6:7
          Beginning of persecutions - Acts 8:1-4 0 heavy for the next 300 years - scattered believers out of Jerusalem and the word spread even more.
         Conversion of Saul - Acts 9:20-22
Until this time, this was a Jewish Messiah, Jews were being converted.
        Conversion and acceptance of Gentiles!!   Acts chapters 10 & 11
        Peter's Report - Acts 11:18

So....... Acts 11:21 - etc.

Book of Acts closes about A.D. 60  with Paul in prison in Rome.
Question?  How have we done since then??

YEAR               Ration Non-Christians to Christians in the world (people who claim Christianity as their
                                                                                                    religion by their description)

100                        360 to 1
1000                      220 to 1
1500                        69 to 1
1900                        27 to 1
1950                        21 to 1
1980                        11 to 1
1992                       6.8 to 1
2012                          2 to 1

33% of the world's population are self-described Christians.  (Islam = 20%, Hindu = 13%)

BUT....Are we losing ground today?!!  No - still growing.    The 2012 population of the USA is around 312 million.  Since 2005 the number of Christians increased by more than 300 million!!
Though Christianity is decreasing in Europe, it is increasing in Asia and Africa.
Example:  in the continent of Africa in 1900 = 8.7 million Christians - today = 390 million.  Estimates for 2025 = 600 million.

Objection:  Islam is growing faster!!!
A.  only slightly  (Christians = 1.36%/year.  Islam = 1.9%/year)
B.  mostly due to birthrates - more born to Muslim families
But, this is due to converge by 2015 - as Muslim birthrates are decreasing and Christian birthrates are increasing.
C.  Adult conversion fate for Christianity??? = twice the number of converts from all other religions (in the world) combined!!

So, on one hand, the growth/spread/work of Christians is remarkable.  social transformation, personal transformation.
But, there is still a huge task before us.

From a different perspective:
On one hand:  the ratio is 2 non-Christians to every Christian.  That translates to 2 billion plus Christians!!
On the other hand:  That also translates to 4 billion plus non-Christians!!
And of the 2 billion plus Christians, safe to say 1/2 of those are notional Christians! - no real adherence to Christ, and the Christian religion, so, still 5 billion souls who don't follow Christ.

POINT:   Much accomplished.... much to accomplish!!!

We've been given......

1.  A charge/a command to do it - Matt. 28:18-20
The need has not changed one bit - identical to what it was 2000 years ago.

2.  A Commission - ie. a charge to do it w/authority behind it.  2 Cor. 5:18-30 

3.  A promise - "go & I'll go with you" - Acts 1:1 - work did not cease after Christ ascended into heaven
Therefore:  no distinction made between what the disciples accomplished and what the Lord accomplished.


1.  This is part of God's will for you.
You are A) saved to go
             B) summoned to go - call is clear in the Scriptures.  Requires no other summons.
             C) gifted to go.  Eph. 2:10

2.  When God's people go, it makes a difference.
Past/History = numbers, individual transformation, social transformation
Future = eternal Kingdom!!

3.  When you go , it makes a difference.
      A.  In the world, society, the Kingdom
      B.  in You!!  Philemon 6 - won't grow without sharing faith

Question:  Are we obligated to go?  Answer = yes and no
On one hand:   not obligated because you're saved by grace alone!!
On the other hand:   are obligated because you're saved by grace alone! - it's a free gift!
Rom. 1:14-15  "debt" - owed to Christ, payable to mankind.

Rom. 1:16
So........ the challenge is:  1.  come to Christ - receive Him
                                       2.  go and make disciples - tell what He's done.

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