Gospel in a Foreign Land

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Contributed by Toby Ward, Elder Overseer of Outreach at Image Church

[17 ] If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” [18 ] When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”  (Acts 11:17-18 ESV)

In the life of the early church, great apostles like Peter, Paul, Timothy, and others were constantly facing ridicule from Jewish leaders about taking the gospel to Gentile (non-Jewish) people. Make no doubt about it – this was racism, elitism, sin, insecurity, and probably a 100 other terms if I sat here and thought about it. It was wrong.

Jesus, before ascending into heaven, told the disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19) This is simply what the early apostles were trying to do, but everywhere they went they met opposition. They met resistance from an insecure crowd that cared more about their outward religion, beautiful synagogues, and elitism than the hearts of sinners.

Sadly, not much has changed today. Today’s culture loves our jobs, worships our kids, hordes their money, and become programmed robots to Fox News (or CNN/MSNBC if your one of “those” haha). And I’m just talking about the church.  Jesus gave us a mission, and we need to fulfill it.

The humbling thing is God could accomplish all this work by Himself, but He’s CHOSEN to use us (His church/bride) to carry out His mission. Stop and think about that. A God that created the UNIVERSE, and everything in it chose US to accomplish His work here. WOW!!

That’s what makes Peter’s work in Acts 11 all the more powerful. In vs 18, they submit to the Holy Spirit, and allow Peter to continue his mission. Peter not only was taking the gospel to a foreign people, but he was also fighting HIS OWN leaders to do it!!  This text shows that the clear, accurate, presentation of the gospel can change even the hardest of hearts.

The early apostles were able to see explosive church growth as a result, but they would not see the end result of their labors as they were martyred. In most cases, they just planted a seed that someone else harvested, and THAT’S what MOST of us will do in this life.

How are you planting seeds? Chris Rhodenhizer and I are leaving Tuesday for a mission trip to China. While the gospel is not allowed there, the feeding of children is, and we are going to check out where our funds have been going all these years. In addition, we will be checking out all the points of interest so we can plan a trip to bring the church body back some time next year or 2012.

These are exciting times in the life of our church!! We have a opportunity to “plant a seed” by feeding these kids, and one day someone else will harvest. That is AWESOME, and we are not gonna let political opposition get in the way of God’s work! Image Church, we are ALL a part of this. You have already committed by giving us funds to pay for the trip, and you have already been praying. THANK YOU!!! Two of us will be there physically, but we will all be there through the link of the Holy Spirit, and your prayers. 

PLEASE continue to pray, that like Peter in Acts 11, we can BREAK DOWN THE WALLS , and one day openly present the Gospel in these foreign lands!!! God has a plan for ALL of us, and one day that will be fulfilled!!! Make sure you are at Image Church on 12/19 to hear all about what GOD did while we were there!!!!

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One Response to “Gospel in a Foreign Land”

  1. Mission Impressions « Thoughts from Tango Willie Says:

    […] I just got back from a 8 day missions trip to China with Image Lead Pastor Chris Rhodenhizer, and my life as well as the missions future for Image Church will never be the  same. I wrote about our Mission Trip intentions here https://imagechurch.wordpress.com/2010/12/05/gospel-in-a-foreign-land/ […]

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