Finding Those Who are Lost
"Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples" (Psalm 96:3). "&ldots;what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roof tops" (Matthew 10:27).
"I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations" (Isaiah 42:6).
"Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find invite them" (Matthew 22:9).
Worship and evangelism go together like a hand and a glove. They are uniquely interwoven, and their combined effect is often more potent than that of either alone.
It has always been Gods intent for all men to be saved. The nation of Israel was Gods chosen peoplechosen for the evangelization of the world. But the people of Israel fell into the trap of selfishness and pride by feeding only themselves and becoming nationalistic. And every time they disobeyed Gods call to be "light to the nations," judgment came upon them.
Similarly, church history shows us this consequence when believers selfishly cling to a relationship with God and forsake His instruction to give away the gift of salvation.
We all marvel at Jesus gracious message of healing and deliverance, rejoicing in His declaration that the "acceptable year of the lord" is here. But we are often reluctant to observe and obey His mandate to include those who are outside the church. Jesus, whose house was one of "prayer for all nations," states in Luke 4 that the widows of Sarepta and Naaman the leper, both outsiders, were objects of Gods blessings. Infuriated by his words, His brethren tried to throw Him off a cliff (v.25-29).
It even took three visions to finally motivate the apostle Peter to visit Cornelius, a Gentile outsider.
Fortunately, there is hope for those of us who struggle with reaching out to other. Our missionary God is igniting a passion for the lost in His people by softening our callousness toward evangelism. He is showing us that evangelism is not just something we do in desperation to make our churches grow, but it is the heart of Jesus, the means by which all who are precious to Him can be saved.
The Kingdom of God is like a party. Jesus said this in Matthew 22, and He has called us to be the inviters. The invitation must go out, and it is the churchs privilege to make it happen.
The apostle Peter and the disciples were initiated into this role of inviters in Acts 2. It seems that their baptism in the Holy Spirit empowered them with boldness. They were thrust into explosive public worship accompanied by powerful phenomena.
As they declared the "wonderful works of God," they were given the opportunity to invite foreigners from the whole Roman Empire to meet Jesus. Those who gladly received the invitation were baptized; this amounted to about 3000 people. Public worship continued as they new converts went from house to house" with gladness and simplicity of heart praising God and having favor with all the people" (v.46-47).
Catch this incredible sequence:
1. Believers are empowered with boldness
2. Worship is expressed publicly and Gods Presence manifests
3. Outsiders get saved!
Often this empowerment happens only as we "go to bat". In Acts 3, Peter steps up to the plate as he approaches the lame man. God backs him up: the lame man is healed, worship happens, an amazed crowd gathers, the gospel invitation goes out, many get saved&ldots;HOME RUN!
In Acts 16, Paul and Silas sing hymns in a Phillipian jail cell while the other inmates listen. A violet earthquake shakes the whole place and the doors fly open. Chains fall off of everyone, the jailer and his family get saved, and its the original version of "Jail-House Rock!"
There is much controversy today over spiritual warfare. The debate is not about its existence, however, but its practices. The truth is that powers and principalities will be broken over our cities only by His judgments, not by ours. "When Your judgements come upon the earth, people learn righteousness" (Isaiah 26:9).
There is a danger when we fail to understand which battles we must engage in, and which ones belong to the Lord and His angelic soldiers. We should never focus on Satan and demons. Instead, we should keep our eyes on God by singing, praying and speaking to Him through worship, thanksgiving and praise. If a demonic presence crosses our path, we command it to leave. But our focus should always remain on the Lord.
Often during our street worship sessions, we sense the Presence of God confronting and driving back dark forces in the immediate vicinity, and at times, over our city. Could it be that we are experiencing Gods response to praise as illustrated in scripture?
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