I have deep roots in the American Restoration Movement. We talk a lot about restoring the NT church. But, there’s one thing we all need to recapture.
The earliest Christians lived with a sense of mission. They also had an intense urgency when it came to accomplishing their mission of making disciples of all nations.
Of all the things we could recapture, I would love to see us recapture the missionary zeal of the NT church…the desire to go and make disciples in new places. I think university campuses are a great place to start. But really, we could go anywhere!
This is the spirit you see in the NT church. They were commissioned by Jesus to make disciples to the ends of the earth (Mt. 28). You see it happen in Acts. There’s no indication anywhere in Scripture that the missionary spirit of the NT church was supposed to die out.
Disciples make other disciples. They go. That mentality was deeply rooted in the earliest Christians. It’s because of that mentality that you won’t find these two statements anywhere in the NT…
1. “There’s no need to go. We’ll just stay here.”
A vision for our ministries that comes short of making disciples to the ends of the earth is a vision that’s too small. This is the only thing we’ve been commissioned by Jesus to do: go and make disciples.
The question isn’t “if” we’ll go and make disciples, it’s “when”? That’s what faithful, biblical disciples do.
You would never hear a disciple say, “There’s no need to go,” because all we’ve been commissioned to do is “go.”
One of my favorite instances from Paul’s life is in Acts 14:8-20. He’s beaten by some locals in Lystra and left for dead outside the city. When he regains consciousness, he gets up and goes back in the city. It’s remarkable!
Paul was so focused on going that, at times, he couldn’t be reasoned with (Acts 21:14).
You would never hear Paul say, “There’s no need to go. We’ll just stay here.”
2. “Things are fine the way they are.”
Paul endured some pretty crazy stuff during his life. He was beaten several times, experienced multiple shipwrecks, and was constantly in danger throughout his missionary career (1 Cor. 11). Why would someone endure all that?
Paul wasn’t just an adventurous guy. I’m certain he didn’t enjoy going in and out of prison. Even in prison, Paul asks for prayers to share the gospel (Col. 4:4). He seemed to live with an incredible burden to share the good news. I want to have that kind of burden.
I get the sense, when reading the NT, that the earliest Christians lived with this burden and were moved to action because of it. That’s why you won’t find them saying, “Things are fine the way they are.”
You find them saying, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings” (1 Cor. 9:22-23).
Where is God leading you to share the Good News? Chime in by leaving a comment below.