Theme of the Week: Making A Godly Impact
Bible Verse: “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Acts 2:42 ESV
Scripture Reading: Acts 2:37-47
While evangelists and apologists such as Peter and Paul were proclaiming the gospel and defending its integrity in an era of polytheism and pagan superstition, hundreds of thousands of ordinary believers were infiltrating every part of society and living the kind of questionable lives that evoked curiosity about the Christian message. Indeed, their influence was so surprising that the fourth-century emperor Julian (AD 331–363) feared they might take over the empire.
Julian was concerned that the Christians’ acts of hospitality and philanthropy were winning too many of his subjects. He decided to launch an offensive against them by mobilizing his officials and the pagan priesthood to out-love the Christians. He decreed that a system of food distribution be started and that hostels be built for poor travelers.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Julian’s new social program utterly failed. He couldn’t motivate pagan priests or Roman officials to care that much for the poor. He failed to realize that the Christians were filled with the Holy Spirit of love and motivated by his grace. The message they shared—that God loved the world—was patently absurd to the average Roman; the pagan gods cared nothing for humankind.
You can see how the proclamation of gifted evangelists would have been far more effective among a society of people living such questionable lives.
To fulfill the evangelistic mandate that Paul and Peter and the gospel present us with, we need to be propelled outward, into the lives of our neighbors, but also upward, into deeper intimacy with Jesus. This isn’t merely an individual challenge; indeed, Paul seems to suggest that we fulfill our evangelistic mandate collectively, as we also move inward into a self-consciously Christian community, acknowledging the evangelists we’ve been gifted with and the responsibility to live questionable lives that we’ve been vested with.
We need to become a godly, intriguing, socially adventurous, joyous presence in the lives of others.
This won’t be a matter of simply doing somewhat surprising but occasional things. I believe we need to develop a new set of rhythms, or habits, that foster a missional lifestyle that intrigues others. And I think the five habits I’m about to unpack will help you to do that.
Some content taken from Surprise the World: The Five Habits of Highly Missional People by Michael Frost. Copyright © 2016 by Michael Frost. Used by permission of NavPress, represented by Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.
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