Missions, not ME-ssions
[ Preached by Pastor Kenneth Chin at Acts Church Malaysia on 19 August 2018 ]
Read | Acts 2:1-21
The passage above talks about the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended on about 120 disciples gathered in the upper room in Jerusalem.
As a result, the disciples received the gift of tongues. A crowd then gathered around, confused because they heard their native languages spoken by people who had never been to their countries.
In amazement, the crowd asked each other, “What does this mean?”
The significance of this question may be unpacked in 5 key points:
1. Salvation to all who call
In Acts 2:21, Peter reminded the people about what the prophet Joel had prophesied – that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
God’s heart is for all nations, not just a specific people group.
In the Bible, there are many scriptures which emphasised God’s love for all people, and His desire to see everyone saved.
God wants us to bring the gospel to
all groups of people and ethnicities
so that they too might receive
the message of salvation.
2. Good news to all nations
In Acts 10: 9-16, God changed Peter’s heart for the Gentiles by sending him a vision involving animals that the Jews regarded as unclean, which he was commanded to kill and eat.
In the face of Peter’s obvious reluctance, a voice told him not to call anything impure which God had made clean.
This prepared Peter’s heart to receive an invitation to the house of Cornelius, a Roman centurion who was both devout and God-fearing despite being a Gentile.
Peter went, and while he was preaching the gospel to the household gathered there, the Holy Spirit fell upon the Gentiles, and the believers who had come with Peter were astonished.
God does not discriminate!
He wants to give us bigger hearts and bigger mindsets
to mirror His heart and His love for all people.
3. Good news in all languages
God knows our language of origin. He loves us the way we are – from our unique culture and our tribe. We do not have to speak another language to be acceptable!
When the Holy Spirit fell upon the disciples and they spoke in the birth languages of the people present, it was God’s way of showing His love. He remembers us and understands our language, even the unspoken utterances of our hearts.
4. Share and spread the good news
When the Holy Spirit fell upon about 120 disciples in the upper room, the crowd did not begin to speak in Jewish. Rather, it was the disciples who spoke in the languages of the gathered crowd.
The Bible tells us that for others to know about Jesus, someone must go and tell them. God wants to break us out of our old mindsets; He calls us to go because we benefit from it.
Just like in the story of the prodigal son, we are called to celebrate our differences, not just tolerate them. This is why the Great Commission calls us to go and make disciples of all nations. When we go out to other cultures, we learn from them, and in the process, we learn what it means to appreciate what makes us different.
5. Come out of your comfort zone
In Acts 1: 4-8, Jesus told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit’s coming. They then asked Him if that was when Israel would be restored as a kingdom. They were motivated by self-interest and their dream of seeing Israel restored to its former glory.
Instead of rebuking them, Jesus merely answered that the times and seasons were not for them to know. God is not against our dreams! What He asks is that we trust His timing for their fulfilment. When we take seasons and times into our own hands, we focus on our timelines, rather than God’s.
God has called us to missions, to go into the field, not stay in our comfort zone. Missions is not spelled ME-ssions! What guides and motivates us? Is it self-interest, or self-sacrifice?
Genesis 11:1- 9 tells us that God disrupted the plan for the building of the Tower of Babel and separated the people by language. We find reflections of ourselves in others, across different cultures and languages, because we were all one once.
God sends us out as missionaries
to bring us back to each other
because we are all made in His own image.
Church, we need each other. Diversity blesses and enriches us. Let’s celebrate our differences and go out and make disciples because this is God’s heart for the world.
Written by: Writer’s Ink
Edited by: Ivy Wambaa & Hailey Chung