God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. That's the Story of the birth of the church in Antioch in Acts 11. God multiplied his work from Jerusalem into this new city.
God has been multiplying King's Church from it's birth 18 years ago with a dozen people, to a church that has planted into Livingston, and is multiplying ministry into increasing demographics and geography of Edinburgh and beyond. It's exciting to see God at work as we seek to be a church that reaches ALL kinds of people with ALL of the gospel (in word and works and in the power of the Spirit); reaching ALL of the communities of Edinburgh; living our lives ALL-in for Jesus and his church, and going into ALL the world.
What was it about these Christians who first shared their faith there that can be a learning point for us in Edinburgh two thousand years later? God wants to get hold of our minds (Romans 12:2) and transform them away from worldly unbelief to the faith of the Antioch believers. What can we learn from the acronym WORD (They spread the WORD...)?
Wildly Good News.
The Good news of Jesus had so transformed their hearts that even though they were now refugees fleeing for their lives, their first instinct was to share the Good News with other people. Do we truly believe the gospel is Good News and live resulting joyful lives? By reminding ourselves of our salvation and receiving the Spirit we can know joy that will make us want to share it.
The Antioch Christians weren't superstars. They were ordinary people filled with the Spirit.
These believers had come from Jerusalem, surely they were shaped by the remarkable nature of that community: gathered in homes and in the temple, caring for the poor, pooling their posessions. There is no place for lone ranger "me and Jesus" Christians. Real Christians love what Jesus loves (See Eph 5:29-32)
They deliberately crossed cultural boundaries to share Christ. They were all-in for inviting others in to God's Kingdom.
They were Intentionally Invitational and Deliberately Diverse in their approach. We must learn to be the same.
These "WORD" believers found that "God was with them and a large number came to the Lord". Let's believe God might do that as we follow their example in the power of the Spirit.
- Wildly Good News. Is this how you feel about the gospel? How can we ensure we keep ourselves grateful for grace? (Note use this opportunity to invite people to get stirred at TOGETHER FOR SCOTLAND conference on Saturday 26th October)
- Ordinary People. If God uses the ordinary things of the world to display his grace, how can we harness that idea, rather than disqualify ourselves because of our inadequacies?
- Radical Community. List as many reasons as you can why small groups and church are vital to keeping our Christian faith alive and strong. In what ways is our life radically different in contrast to those we meet everyday in Edinburgh?
- Deliberately Obedient. Intentionally Invitational and Deliberately Diverse. What boundaries do you feel God is asking you to cross to share his love with others this week? Talk in your small group about the QUIZ NIGHT (soft invitational event), ALPHA course (easy access), OPEN HOMES in December (to get to know your community). Are there ways we could make our small group more welcoming to those on the outside of our community?