NOW WHAT?  (PART 2)

                                                                                                                                                         

   In last week’s article we took some moments to reflect on what the disciples and others who accompanied the Lord during his life, might have been feeling following His death. The question asked was, NOW WHAT? After their days being filled with learning, were they to return to their former lives? The people who truly knew and believed in the Lord Jesus had been changed forever. They understood this deeply in their hearts and God's guidance was what they would have to rely upon to move forward in their lives.

 

   In the book of Acts chapter 2, the followers of Christ experienced a phenomenon when the Holy Spirit came upon them. This one time event sent reverberations around Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. Foreigners visiting Jerusalem heard about God’s salvation in their own languages and the believers were filled and touched by God’s Spirit. The promise that Jesus had spoken about in John 14 had been realized. The believers were so excited with God’s presence within them, that they speculated Christ’s return was imminent as He promised. They began to live in community and to share with one another; they spent their time learning and listening to what God was saying through the apostles. They were the first communists! This went on until persecution began chasing many believers to other regions of Israel and even other nations and I am sure by this time many wondered NOW WHAT? Ironically a rabbi named Saul (later known as Paul- who was very zealous for his faith) was at the center of this persecution and miraculously was confronted by the Lord Himself on the road to Damascus, the account of which can be read in Acts chapter 9. As he was converted to Christianity the message of Christ began to be preached by him which astounded many of his collaborators and I am sure subsided the fears of many Christians. As Paul’s faith and knowledge increased he was able to help believers with the question, NOW WHAT?

 

   We could choose a variety of passages that, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Paul communicated on what is the next step in the Christian faith. I would like to bring out some points that are found in 2 Corinthians 5. In verse 18 it says “ All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation”. This means that God has entrusted us the privilege and ability to tell others about Jesus. Whether it's a co-worker, a parent to their child, or a student to their classmate, all believers have this responsibility. Reconciliation is to bring back and make something consistent or compatible with its origin. In the case of mankind, the problem is sin. The reconciling to God is when we allow God to remedy our personal sin problem. That is found through trusting Jesus as your personal Savior.

 

   In verse 14 of 2 Corinthians, the first phrase says “For Christ’s love compels us.....”. If you have experienced Christ’s forgiveness, usually you will be concerned for the eternal destiny of those you love and care for. Not only by them coming to faith but also in how they live out their faith. In verse 19, Paul further says that this message of reconciliation has been committed to us. This means that we are not only trusted with the message, but also in charge of preserving it and pledging ourselves to the responsibility God has given to us. The description gains more clarity in verse 20 where it says “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God was making His appeal through us.” It makes me think of an example from my life as follows. In the early 1990’s as I worked as a director/missionary for Youth With A Mission in Albania I would often be invited to gala events put on by organizations and embassies doing developmental work in that region of the world. I used to dress up nicely, but then I would get on my old Swiss bike (built in the 1950’s I am sure!) and I would peddle down to the main hotels in central Tirana and enter a world of fine food, luxury and rubbing elbows with important government ministers. As the evening would wind down we would all file out and many of the attendees would slide into their chauffeur driven, late model Mercedes vehicles. I would come out, give high fives to the money changers who guarded my bike, and I would take off riding into the night. I used to chuckle at the scenario, but as I thought seriously about their responsibilities compared to my tasks in Albania, I would pause and thank God that the message I was packing had long lasting and eternal value. The message that was brought by developmental groups or ambassadors had limited earthly value. I had an old bike and not a shiny car, but I believe I had the better job! 

  

   So how about you and me...NOW WHAT? Live your life just as the apostles and the Christ followers did. They did not give up, they kept telling their message that had been entrusted to them. How do we know? Well, here we are in 2010 still talking about it...still feeding His sheep!

 

By: David Jones