Missions - A New Perspective

Bible Book: Acts  1 : 6-8
Subject: Missions; Soul Winning; Evangelism

The man's name was Larry Walters. He was a thirty-three year old man who decided that he wanted to see his neighborhood from a new perspective. He went to the local army surplus store one morning and bought forty-five used weather balloons. That afternoon he strapped himself into a lawn chair, to which several of his friends tied the now helium-filled balloons. He took along a bottle of soda, a peanut- butter-and-jelly sandwich, and a BB gun, figuring he could shoot the balloons one at a time when he was ready to land.Walters, who assumed the balloons would lift him about 100 feet into the air, was caught off guard when the chair soared more than 11, 000 feet into the sky-smack in the middle of the air traffic pattern at Los Angeles International Airport. Too frightened to shoot any balloons, he stayed airborne for more than two hours, forcing the airport to shut down its runways for much of the afternoon, causing long delays in flights from across the country. Soon after he was safely grounded and cited by the police, reporters asked him three questions: "Were you scared?"


"Would you do it again?" "No."

"Why did you do it?"

"Because," he said, "you can't just sit there."

I believe that is exactly what Jesus was attempting to communicate to the disciples and to us. The disciples had expressed interest in God's plans for the present and future. "Will you, at this time, restore the kingdom again to Israel?" Jesus reminded the disciples that this matter was in the power of God to know and to do. It was not to preoccupy the disciples' thoughts. "This," Jesus taught, "is a matter that God has placed in His own power."

At this moment, Jesus informed the disciples that they possessed a miraculous power that they were to use in the present rather than spend their time thinking of what the future might hold. Jesus was saying to them. You need a new perspective. God has called You to be His missionaries.

Acts 1:8 has three primary emphases. First, Jesus said, "You shall receive power after the Holy Ghost has come upon you." Second, Jesus said, "You shall be my witnesses (missionaries)." Third, Jesus gave the geographical parameters of our mission field: Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, into all the world.

I. You Shall Receive Power

Jesus informed the disciples that they would receive power beyond anything they had ever experienced. This power would come upon them in the presence of the Holy Spirit. We know about that power, don't we? The Bible teaches that when you receive Jesus Christ as your Savior that His wonderful Spirit comes to live in your life. The indwelling Spirit of God gives you all the power you will ever need to fulfill God's will for your life.

Now, some people get confused about the Holy Spirit's residence in the life of a believer, as though some Christians have the Holy Spirit and some do not. The Bible teaches that when you receive Jesus Christ as your Savior that the Spirit of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, takes up residence in your life. It is not as though you could dissect Jesus. It's not that you can receive part of Jesus when you become a Christian and then another part of Him later on. A man revealed his confusion to me when he said, "I became a Christian ten years ago, but I didn't get the Spirit until last week." No. The Scriptures teach that when you receive Jesus as your Savior that He comes in to stay. Jesus was speaking of the coming of the Holy Spirit when He said to the disciples, "I will be with you, and I will be in you."

Read: John 14:16-20

I spoke at a Baptist Student Union meeting one evening and as I was leaving a young man grabbed me by the arm and said, "Brother, have you received the Spirit?" I said, "I sure have!" "Wonderful," he said, "then you speak in tongues!" I said, "Now wait a minute, I didn't say that." He said, "But you said that you have received the Spirit, then you must speak in tongues."

His misunderstanding of what it means to receive the Holy Spirit was not all that uncommon. I sat with him for a long while and we talked about what the Bible says about receiving the Holy Spirit.

At the conclusion of one of the sessions of our convention a lady came up to me with fire in her eyes and shaking her Bible in the air: "I have the Spirit! I have the Spirit!" she said. I said, "Well, good."

"Oh, you don't understand," she said. "I have the Spirit, but my pastor doesn't have the Spirit, and I told him so!" I prayed in my heart, "Lord, please help this poor pastor!" I said, "Ma'am, if you have the Spirit, then surely you know that you are to encourage your pastor, not attack him. God would have you to pray for your pastor, encourage him, support him with love." "No, "she shrieked, wild-eyed, "My pastor doesn't have the Spirit. The devil is in him." I prayed, "Lord, I would be very grateful if you would get me out of this conversation." She soon left.

What does it mean to have the Holy Spirit? It means that Jesus is living in your heart. You have invited Christ into your life and He has taken up residence in you in the power of His glorious Holy Spirit.

II. You Shall Be Missionaries

Jesus did not want his disciples to be missionaries without power. He did not need them in the world without power. That would be dangerous. First, he gave them the gift of the Holy Spirit and they received power. Now he says, "And you shall be witnesses unto me." In other words: "You shall be my missionaries."

Here is the perspective for many Christians. So many believe that being a witness for the Lord is the job of the pastor and staff of the church. Let the preacher do the visiting for the church. Let the ministers of the staff do the visiting. Isn't that what we pay them to do? Not exactly. The New Testament teaches that the job of the minister is to equip the church for the work of the ministry. If the pastor is expected by the church to do all the witnessing than the community will never be reached. There are not enough hours in the day for one or even for a few to accomplish such a huge task. Now, of course, the ministers do visit and they do witness, but in order to reach the lost it will take every believer serving as a missionary.

In the beginning of the church of the New Testament it is apparent that the entire body of believers were missionaries. Acts 8:1 indicates that the apostles remained in the church at Jerusalem, ministering and preaching the Word as the persecution of the church intensified, but all of the church members scattered. Then verse 4 states that those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the Word.

This being the case we should not be surprised at the phenomenal growth of the early church... Acts 1:15 reports 120 members

Acts 2:41 reports the addition of 3,000 souls

Acts 2:47 reports that the Lord added to their number daily

Acts 4:4 says that 5,000 men were added to the church, to say nothing of the women and children Acts 5:28 says that the message of Christ had "filled Jerusalem"

At this point it is believed that there were likely 15,000 - 20,000 members of the church in Jerusalem.

Acts 6:7 says that the disciples "increased rapidly." Now, we are not talking about additions to the church. We are speaking of multiplication.

How many were in the early church? No one knows for sure, but B.H. Carroll believed that there were probably 65,000 members in the first six months. G.Campbell Morgan, on the other hand, figures that there were more like 250,000 converted in the first six months in the church of Jerusalem.

How in the world did they do it? They made themselves available to God as His missionaries.

III. You Shall Go Into All The World

To tell you the truth, the early believers had a different perspective of missions than we have. Being a missionary was something that everyone did, not just the professional clergy, the apostles. You say, "Well, things were different then." They sure were! They were more difficult and dangerous. Being a witness for Christ meant that you needed to be prepared to die for telling others about Christ.

God has given us the freedom to share the Gospel as no generation has ever experienced. The world is hungry for the Gospel and we must tell them.

Recently, I had the privilege of preaching a revival at the Sung II Baptist Church in Seoul, Korea. We began on Thursday evening and went through Sunday morning. The response of the people at the invitation was wonderful, but I was not prepared for what would happen on Sunday morning.

At 8:30 we had a youth service that was powerful. You could feel the mighty presence of God as the youth of the church sang and shared their testimonies. I preached the message, gave the invitation, and there were 14 young people, high school aged students, who were saved.

Then, at 11:00, the church had planned for a "Jesus Celebration." They had promoted it for weeks. The pastor had asked the members of the church to bring lost friends, relatives and neighbors to the worship service.

We went into the sanctuary early and the pastor, Pastor Kim, my interpreter, John Yi, and myself, were seated on the platform as the church began to fill. The downstairs was filled, then the balcony. The people were standing around the walls. The pastor leaned over to me and said, "I feel like a stranger in my own church. None of these are church members. They are all lost. I have 400 members in the basement praying for the salvation of their lost friends."

When the invitation was given that morning, 86 people received Christ as Savior. I had seen 100 people come to Christ that morning. The reason was, the church was filled with lost people who heard the Gospel. In America, our preachers preach to believers week after week. I have never preached anywhere and seen 100 people saved on Sunday morning.

One deacon's wife was responsible for 150 of those attending all by herself. She went to her bank on Friday and withdrew 150,000 Won. It takes 750 Won to make one US dollar. She gave 1,000 Won to each of her guests and taught them what it means to give to God and asked them to place it in the offering plate as it passed by. Already she had begun to teach Christian stewardship to these she believed with all confidence would come to Christ.

When we are missionaries like that, we will see a great revival. For most of us, it will require a new perspective of missions.