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The Seven Miraculous Events
The events centered around the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ were miraculous to say the least. One miracle generally calls for another miracle. In the Book of Matthew we find seven different miracles referred to. This great number of miracles leaves us without a shadow of a doubt as to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It would appear that the Lord created a Divine environment for the resurrection of Christ in order that we might have every assurance as to its reality. God never leaves His people in doubt.
1. There are some who would object to the miracles of the Bible, including the miracles of the resurrection. We have always had these skeptics and always will; but there is no excuse for skepticism. Underlying unbelief in regard to miraculous events is our unbelief in God Himself. Did not God create the earth and the entire universe? Did He He not cause the sun to shine and the moon to be a lesser light to rule by night? Has not this same God, who has created this universe, sustained it for all these years? Has He not imparted life? A God who is able to create a universe and sustain it is certainly able to perform other miracles. There is nothing that God is not able to do. There is no miracle too great for Him to perform. The trouble with the skeptic is that he wishes to get along without God.
2. There is only one reason why any individual should wish to deny any of the miracles. That reason is that he is rebellious and does not wish to be compelled to recognize Jesus Christ as God in human flesh. Rather, than admit his fault, he denies the evidence by throwing all the miracles into the wastebasket and saying, "They did not happen." But after all, what skeptic is there living today who has any authority to reject the evidence of the miracles? Were any of them present when the miracles took place? Do they have one iota of evidence, from any individual who was present when they took place, which would be contradictory to these measures? They do not.
3. When the generation of Jews in the day of Jesus Christ came seeking a sign to prove His Deity and Messiahship, He told them that no sign would be given other than the sign of Jonah. "As Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." The resurrection of Jonah from the great fish brought a city of half a million on their knees in repentance. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is that sign of which Jonah's resurrection was symbolized.
I. THE MIRACLE OF AN EARTHQUAKE (Matthew 28:1-2 )
Miraculous events suddenly took place, one after another, when Christ was raised from the dead. The 28th chapter of Matthew first mentions the miracle of an earthquake.
1. There is no doubt but that this earthquake had something to do with the battle between God and Satanic forces. All the powers of hell were present to keep that tomb sealed. The powers were not so much concerned about the tomb as the body which was chained by death rather than by a stone. When the earth quaked, God spoke. God was reaching out His strong arm and throwing back the forces of Satan. He was breaking the bonds and chains of death.
2. We find a further description of this earthquake in Matthew 27:51-53 . Many people think when they read the Scripture referred to that this was an earthquake that took place at the death of Jesus Christ; but that is not what the Scripture says. We find that as a result of this earthquake the graves were rent open and many of the saints arose from the dead, but we are specifically told that they "came out of the graves after His resurrection," not before. This earthquake was the breaking of the bonds of death, not only for Christ, but for all human beings. It was for the purpose of opening many graves.
3. The effect of this earthquake is described in Matthew 27:54 . The centurion and those with him saw this earthquake and all that was done. Fear gripped their hearts. They confessed openly that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. It was the miracle of the earthquake accompanying the resurrection of Jesus Christ which demonstrated to them that Christ was more than a mere man, but One who had power over the universe; and therefore they at last recognized His Deity though they had rejected Him before.
II. THE MIRACLE OF AN ANGEL (Matthew 28:2-6 )
There are many angels at the service of God, but they serve in obscurity, not revealing themselves lest they receive the glory instead of Jesus Christ. Let us learn a lesson from the humility of the angels. When Christ arose from the dead God wrought the miraculous and allowed men to see one of these powerful creatures who serve Him. Certainly Heaven was dealing with earth that day. Those who beheld the angel knew that the resurrection of Christ was more than an apparition, for strange events were happening. The angel rolled back the stone. No human being could have rolled back that heavy stone; but angels are powerful. If you will study the Scriptures you will be surprised at the power of the angels. For instance, one angel destroyed the first-born in every home in the whole nation of Egypt in one night. One angel blinded the entire army of Syria. One angel slew thousands of Israelites when David sinned by numbering the people. The angel sat upon the stone. His countenance was glorious. Men did quake and shake before him.
Though men feared the angel and could not resist his power, he came as a ministering servant unto the weaker vessels of humanity. He brought a message of comfort to the women who sought Christ. Hebrews 1:14 reads, "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who" shall be heirs of salvation?"
III. A MIRACULOUS MESSAGE (Matthew 28:7-8 )
1. The angel who brought the message of the resurrection of Jesus Christ to the women also instructed them to "go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead." That was the beginning of the gospel ministry of the saints. The resurrection of Jesus Christ at that moment became the theme of all Christians of all ages. It is a message of comfort for those who have loved ones who have passed on. It is a message of hope for the dying. Let us never cease to carry this message.
2. The angel instructed them to go quickly. The message of the resurrection is one that requires haste. The disciples were sorrowing, not knowing that Christ was risen. The world today is in tears because they do not know this message. Haste ye and carry it to them.
3. The angel told them to go with a message but assured them that they did not go alone. "He goeth before you into Galilee." The Lord has gone ahead and blazed the trail for us that we might follow in His footsteps with a message of life. It is wonderful to know that before we carry the message of life to the lost, Christ has gone ahead to prepare the way that their hearts might be willing to receive the truth.
IV. THE MIRACLE OF A RESURRECTED LORD (Matthew 28:9 )
When the women approached the tomb they were wondering who would roll back the stone for them (Mark 16:3 ). They wanted to anoint the body of Jesus Christ and they came with the full intention of doing so, but they knew that it would take stronger hands than theirs to roll back the stone. They also feared that the guards would not roll back the stone because the Roman seal was placed upon it and could not be broken, but to their dismay as they approached the tomb they saw the stone rolled back; but they were more dismayed when they saw that the body was not there. The stone was rolled back in evidence of the fact that He was raised from the dead, not in order that He might be raised from the dead.
As the women ran to tell the disciples, whom did they meet but the Lord, Himself, who had gone ahead! The angel had told them they would find Him. The evidence of the resurrection was already theirs. They did not hesitate. They worshiped Him. His own have been worshiping Him ever since, for the resurrection of Jesus Christ proclaimed Him as God and worthy of worship which belongs alone to Deity.
V. THE MIRACLE OF A DILEMMA (Matthew 28:11-15 )
When Christ died upon the Cross, the Jewish people knew that He had said that He would rise again from the dead the third day. Their consciences also told them that they had done wrong in crucifying Christ. They had had enough evidence to know that they had crucified their God. Foolishly they thought to conquer God by placing a guard outside the tomb to keep Him from being raised from the dead, whereas, in reality, they were only making the resurrection of Jesus Christ a resurrection that would be free from any possibility of human influence or falsity. When Christ arose from the dead and the guards fell back helpless before an angel who came to announce the resurrection they realized for the first time that it would have been better had they not put a guard, there. Then they could have said that the body of Christ was stolen away. Under the circumstances they were made ridiculous by their own action, so they gave the men who were on watch money and told them to report that the disciples had stolen the body away.
1. Could eleven unarmed disciples have defeated armed and trained soldiers? No, these soldiers made themselves foolish and weaklings by agreeing to such a statement.
2. Would Rome have permitted these soldiers to live had they failed in fulfilling their duty? No, they would have been put to death.
3. If Christ had not really been raised from the dead, would the Jews have had reason to have been so disturbed about the incident? Their alarm in itself was evidence that the resurrection was real.
VI. THE MIRACLE OF A COMMISSION (Matthew 28:18-20 )
It was absolutely preposterous to think of twelve disciples and a few friends going out and facing a world which was antagonistic to them, preaching about Jesus Christ. Had not the world just crucified Christ? Was there not a mob spirit abroad and an inborn hatred for Christ and all who had any affiliation with Him? We might well expect them to be devoured and crushed in pieces as if they had been thrown into a lions' den.
1. Now they had a message to preach that the world could not resist. It was a message of resurrection power. They went forth teaching all nations. They went forth baptizing all nations. Their teaching and their baptizing centered about the thought of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. They told of a Christ who had power to overcome sin and produce a new life. For such a message it was worth dying.
2. They not only had a. resurrection message, but they also had resurrection power to proclaim this message. Christ was now raised from the dead. He no more was in the body of limitation having cast aside His power for the time being. He now proclaimed to His disciples, "All power is given unto Me in Heaven and in earth."
VII. A MIRACULOUS PROMISE (Matthew 28:20 )
1. How marvelous it is to know that Jesus Christ is with us. Often we sing, "If Jesus goes with me, I'll go." If He is with us, nothing can harm us. If He is with us, we have companionship. If He is with us, we have a Guide. If He is with us, we have new strength. If He is with us, He is pleased with our activity. If He is with us, we have encouragement to fight the battles that we face.
2. But what was it that made it possible for Christ to be with us? Before the resurrection, while God was manifest in human flesh, Jesus Christ was able to be in only one place at one time. Formerly the disciples stayed close by the side of Christ. They endeavored to cast a demon out of a man and failed until they brought Christ in Person. When Lazarus died, Martha and Mary both said, "Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died." But Christ could not have been in two places at one time as long as He was in human flesh. Now conditions were changed. The resurrection had set Christ free so that He might be at all places at all times. Even today and unto the end of the world we may all have Christ with us individually forever.
3. When Christ was in the ship with His disciples and a great storm came up, the disciples cried out, "Master, carest Thou not that we perish?" He answered with these words, "How is it that ye have no faith?" As long as Christ was in that ship, it could not sink; and as long as Christ is with us, we cannot fail.
Mrs. F. J. Cressey, for years the Primary teacher of the First Baptist Church of Los Angeles, a woman of rare ability and consecration, told this story:
She had in her class a little lad whose unconverted mother had such a horror of death that she would not go into a church for fear of hearing the subject mentioned.
After hearing the Easter lesson as taught by Mrs. Cressey, the child ran home and, bursting into the room he cried, "Mother, you need not be afraid to die, 'cause Jesus went through the grave and left a light behind Him."
The words gripped the mother and stayed with her. Shortly after this a neighbor invited her to attend some revival meetings, and she accepted the invitation, a thing she would not have done but for the message which had prepared her mind and heart.
One evening her little boy prayed, "Please, God, make my mamma a Christian, and do it right off quick."
That night the mother went to the meeting and gave her heart to Christ.
Christ's Missionary Command as Seen in the Early Church
Matthew 28:18-20 ; Mark 16:15-20 ; Luke 24:45-49
As the time came for the Lord to leave, and to return to His Father, He pressed upon the disciples the great yearning's of His soul toward a world lost in sin; and then gave command that the Gospel should be preached to all the world. Let us, for a moment, as introductory to what shall follow, study the three records where this last command was given.
1. The command as recorded by Matthew: Here three things were stressed. First, they were to go and make disciples; secondly, they were to go and baptize; and thirdly, they were to go and preach.
(1) They were to go and make disciples. Their field was to be all nations. Their objective was to be the creation of followers of the Lord.
It is not enough for missionary endeavors to be centered in the moral uplift of the people. The Church is not commissioned to teach the nations of the world how to dress, or how to farm, or how to manufacture. The mission of the Church toward the unevangelized, is not to proclaim sanitation, and the isolation of diseases. The purpose of going into the world is primarily to preach Christ as the Saviour of sinners, and to call upon all men everywhere to repent, to believe, and to follow Him.
(2) They were to go and baptize. Baptism was to be not only a symbolical ordinance, but it was to be a consecrated ordinance. It was to be the signet of a new life. It was to be the attest of discipleship, the sign that the one discipled had been called out of the world to walk in newness of life.
(3) They were to go and teach. They were to teach all things which Christ had commanded them. They were not told to teach spelling, and geography, and grammar, and reading, and writing. They were to teach the things which pertained to the Kingdom of God. They were to teach the present ministry of Christ at the Father's right hand, the place and power of the Holy Spirit in the believer's life; the Second Coming of Christ, and His glorious reign.
2. The command, as recorded in Mark. In Mark, the command emphasized the preaching of the Gospel to every creature. Not one individual in the wide world was to be left in ignorance of Christ, and of the salvation which is in Him. Until each generation preaches the Gospel to every individual living during their day, they have not fulfilled this commission.
3. The command as recorded in Luke. Luke emphasizes that which is to be preached. He wrote "repentance and remission of sins should be preached in [Christ's] Name among all nations." He said "Ye are witness of these things." In the Book of Acts, just before Christ went up, He gave the geographical order in which His commission was to be proclaimed. He said, "Ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."
We are glad that we are to spend the while, today, in observing how the early Church moved out in the fulfillment of this thrice-stated commission, a commission restated in Acts 1:8 . We trust that the purpose of God toward a lost world, as they were put into operation in the first century, will inspire the saints of the twentieth century to a deeper realization of their own world-wide task.
"Telling sinners of the Saviour,
Let the light spread more and more.
Tell the whole wide world of Jesus,
Bear the news from shore to shore;
While we pray for other nations,
Send them help with willing hand;
Let us not forget the home-fields
Jesus, for our native land!"
I. THE SPIRIT OF MISSIONS AS SEEN AT PENTECOST (Acts 2:5 )
Was it not remarkable that, when the Holy Ghost came, there were at that time dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under Heaven. This fact alone is sufficient proof that the heart of God was reaching out toward men of every nation.
When the Holy Ghost came, and the saints were all filled with the Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, then, the multitude came together. The people were confounded because that every man heard them speak in his own language. Those who spoke were Galileans; those who heard were Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judea, and Cappadocia, in Pontius, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians.
You may wonder why we quote these varied nationalities by name. It is because their presence demonstrates to a conclusion, God's great missionary purpose and desire. The people were in doubt, saying one to another, "What meaneth this?" We know one thing that it meant. It meant that God was reaching out His hand to a lost world. In one day and in one locality, God, through His disciples, was preaching the Gospel to every nation under Heaven.
From the groups who heard, about 3,000 were saved, and baptized. It is not difficult for anyone to grasp the far-reach of that day's work. Did not many of these people return to their own land as messengers of Christ?
We remember how Peter addressed his first Epistle to the strangers scattered throughout Pontius, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. We feel certain that these "elect strangers" were, for a large part, those saved at Pentecost, or saved through the ministry of those of their nation, who were saved at Pentecost. Thank God for this first vision of missions in the early Church!
"Send the Light, oh, send it quickly
Far across the heaving main;
Speed the news of full salvation
Through a dear Redeemer's Name.
Send the Light, where souls are dying
In their darkness, gloom and night;
Haste, oh, haste! the days are fleeting,
And the hours how swift their flight!
Send the Light the Lord commands it;
To His Holy Word attend:
Go ye forth and preach My Gospel;
Lo! I'm with you to the end."
II. THE SPIRIT OF MISSIONS AS SEEN IN THE GREAT PERSECUTION (Acts 8:1 )
God had commanded the Apostles that they should go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. Christ had told them they were to tarry in Jerusalem only until, but not after, the Holy Ghost came. He specified that their testimony was to pass from Jerusalem, on to Judea, and then to Samaria and then to the uttermost part of the earth. The early Church, at the first, failed God in this matter. They stayed in Jerusalem, They clung to their home base. The result was, that something startling had to happen.
As we see the great persecution against the Church at Jerusalem, we behold the saints scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria. Thus, the second and the third reach of Christ's command was about to be fulfilled.
We can see that the persecution itself was permitted on God's part, in- order to press the saints out of Jerusalem and on into Judea and Samaria.
When the Lord Jesus was preaching and the multitudes were thronging His ministry, He left them abruptly, saying to the disciples, "I must preach the Kingdom of God to other cities also."
"The other cities also," should be the battle-cry of every believer touched with the live coal from God's altar. The spirit of missions is the spirit of Christ. He who would circumscribe His testimony, or his gifts, or his prayers, to the immediate locality in which he dwells, has never caught the impact of missions, as set forth in the history of the early Church.
Paul wrote of not being content with another man's line of things made ready to his hand. We join with him in saying, that, when our faith is increased, we shall be enlarged according to Paul's rule, abundantly, to preach the Gospel in the regions beyond.
"Send abroad the Gospel heralds,
Let them take the blessed light
Into every land of darkness,
Piercing through the shades of night.
Yes, we'll send the joyful message
Over mountain, over wave,
Telling everywhere of Jesus,
And His mighty power to save."
III. THE SPIRIT OF MISSIONS AS SEEN IN GOD'S CALL TO PHILIP (Acts 8:26 )
Philip was one of the seven. He went down into the city of Samaria and preached Christ unto them. Great joy was caused in that city by reason of Philip's testimony, because they believed him and what he preached concerning the Kingdom of God, and the Name of Jesus Christ. Then were they baptized both men and women.
Philip went on his way preaching the Gospel in Samaria. Then it was that the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip saying, "Arise, and go toward the south, unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert."
This was a strange command indeed. Why should Philip be called upon to leave so prosperous a ministry, and why should he go in a way which was desert? The answer is not difficult to find. There was a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority, under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was journeying along that desert road.
But why such a stir about one lone Ethiopian? Were not the many Samaritans, of greater value than one man from Africa? Assuredly.
We must understand that the one man took precedence over the many, because he was from a land afar, and because he was a key man, through whom many who were in darkness might see the light.
In the opening verses of Acts 8:1-40 , the Gospel was carried to the Samaritans. These Samaritans were the third group mentioned in Christ's parting order of command. In the case of this eunuch of Ethiopia, the Lord was pressing beyond Jerusalem, beyond Judea, beyond Samaria, and on toward the uttermost part of the earth.
We need to awaken to a vision of the Lord's passion toward the salvation of men. He wants us to press on until the last man has heard the Word.
If the call comes for us to go, let us, like Philip, hesitate not, but press our way quickly down the road, even though the way be desert.
"We have heard the joyful sound;
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Spread the tidings all around;
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Bear the news to every land,
Climb the steeps and cross the waves;
Onward! 'tis our Lord's command:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves I
IV. THE SPIRIT OF MISSIONS AS SEEN IN PETER'S VISION (Acts 10:9-11 ; Acts 10:17-19 )
Cornelius who was a centurion of the Italian band was a devout man, one that feared God with all his house. He gave alms and prayed always. In answer to his prayer God purposed to send him a messenger. Accordingly, Cornelius saw in a vision an angel of God who told him to send to Joppa and call for Peter, that he might tell him what he should do.
On the morrow, as his servants approached Joppa, Peter was in prayer upon the housetop. As Peter prayed, he became hungry, and fell into a trance. He saw Heaven opened, and a vessel descending before him, wherein were all manner of unclean beasts, and of creeping things and of fowls. Peter heard a Voice saying, "Rise, Peter; kill and eat." This, Peter refused to do. However, the Voice said, "What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common."
While Peter doubted as to the meaning of the vision, the men from Cornelius stood before the gate.
Do we grasp the full intent of this occurrence? Peter was prejudiced against the Gentiles. He was failing God in passing on from Jerusalem to the uttermost part of the earth. Therefore God found it necessary to teach Peter a lesson by the great sheet let down to the earth.
We wonder if it is necessary for God to do something very unusual in order to stir us up to obey His voice and to fulfill His desire toward the lost. If God has said "Go," we have no right to hesitate. If God loves the world, we have no right to circumscribe our love to some chosen few.
Once more we have seen the hand of God in the days of the early Church, pressing the claims of missions upon His people, and revealing unto us the fact that God so loved the world.
"Ye Christian heralds, go proclaim
Salvation through Immanuel's Name;
To distant climes the tidings bear,
And plant the Rose of Sharon there.
He'll shield you with a wall of fire,
With flaming zeal your heart inspire;
Bid raging winds their fury cease,
And hush the tempest into peace.
And when our labors all are o'er,
Then we shall meet to part no more,
With all the ransomed hosts to fall,
And crown our Saviour Lord of all."
V. THE SPIRIT OF MISSIONS AS SEEN IN THE CONVERSION OF SAUL (Acts 9:15 )
There was a young man who was a Pharisee, of the tribe of Benjamin. Concerning the Law, this young man was blameless. Concerning religion, he was a thoroughly prepared zealot, having sat at the feet of one Gamaliel. He was intent, in his passion to persecute the Church.
With the letters of authority in his pocket, Saul journeyed toward Damascus, to bring the saints bound unto Jerusalem. As he journeyed, a light from Heaven shined round about him.
We know the story of Saul's change of heart; of how the Lord cried to him, and of how he replied, full of trembling and astonishment. We know that, when Saul arose from the earth, he saw no man for he was blind. We know of his tarrying in Damascus for three days, without sight and without eating, or drinking. We know how God sent Ananias to Saul.
But what was the meaning of all of this? The meaning is set forth in our key verse, "He is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My Name before the Gentiles and kings and the Children of Israel."
Once more we see the hand of God reaching out toward the lost of the earth. When we link with this verse, the memory of Paul's three great missionary journeys, and of his final testimony in Rome, we begin to see the outworking of the purpose of God.
God is still calling the choicest of Christian youths, to bear His Name to the faraway lands where men lie in heathen darkness. Even now we can hear Him saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?"
"The Son of God goes forth to war,
A kingly crown to gain;
His Blood-red banner streams afar,
Who follows in His train?
Who best can drink his cup of woe,
Triumphant over pain;
Who patient bears his cross below,
He follows in His train.
A noble army men and boys,
The matron and the maid
Around the Saviour's throne rejoice,
In robes of light arrayed.
They climbed the steep ascent of Heaven
Through peril, toil, and pain;
O God, to us may grace be given
To follow in their train."
VI. THE SPIRIT OF MISSIONS AS SEEN IN THE ANTIOCH CONFERENCE (Acts 13:1-3 )
That must have been a blessed occasion at Antioch when such prophets and teachers as Barnabas, and Simeon, and Lucius, and Manaen, and Saul, were gathered together ministering to the Lord and tasting. We have no doubt but some marvelous revelations of truth were being given, and the saints were being edified.
However, as they ministered, the Holy Ghost said, "Separate Me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them."
You may cry, "It was too bad to break up so glorious a Bible conference!" Yet, without hesitancy, the saints laid their hands on these two men and sent them away. The remarkable statement, in Acts 13:4 , is most illuminating "So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia."
No one who reads this account can doubt the desire of God to preach the Gospel in the untraveled districts where men have not heard of Christ.
Out on their missionary tour they started, and the Lord was with them. There is a little verse in 2 Corinthians 13:14 , which reads, "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all." These words are commonly known as the "benediction," and they are quoted, usually, at the close of each, stated church service. What do they mean? The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, is that grace, wherein He became poor that we might be made rich. The love of God, is that love which embraced the whole world, and gave His Son. The communion of the Holy Ghost, is the perfect one-ness with the Spirit in going forth with the message of truth and salvation to all men.
Can we hear the voice of God calling us to go far hence with the words of life? Perhaps, He wants us to have the grace of Christ and become impoverished that others may be rich. Perhaps, He wants us to have the love of God, that will give our sons for a lost world. Perhaps, He wants us to go forth ourselves sent by the Spirit.
Oh, help me tell the story of Christ my Lord and King;
For of His boundless mercy my soul delights to sing.
Oh, help me tell the story of Jesus' boundless love,
Till, with the Church triumphant, I sing His praise above!
He brought me out of bondage, He paid my debt of sin;
The door of life He opened, that I might enter in.
He left His home in glory, He laid His scepter down,
And on the Cross He suffered, that I might wear a crown.
Be this my one endeavor, to glorify His name;
The story of Redemption to all the world proclaim."
VII. THE SPIRIT OF MISSIONS AS SEEN IN THE MACEDONIAN CALL (Acts 16:6-9 )
When they had gone throughout Phrygia, and the region of Galatia, Paul and Silas were forbidden of the Holy Spirit to go to Asia. Then they assayed to go into Bithynia; but the Spirit suffered them not.
The Holy Ghost knows where He wants the message carried, and by whom He wants it borne. In the work of missions we must never take the bit into our own teeth. When we have some personal desire or ambition, as to the location where we would like to give our testimony, we must rejoice if we are forbidden of the Holy Ghost, and suffered not to go.
After the Spirit had hindered Paul and Silas in their purpose, there appeared a vision to Paul in the night. "There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia and help us."
The disciples quickly gathered that the Lord had called them to preach the Gospel to the Macedonians, and so they took sail immediately and came by a straight course until at last they reached Philippi.
The story of Paul's ministry in Philippi, and of the imprisonment of Paul and Silas, with the subsequent conversion of the jailor, is known to us all. Truly, they saw the hand of God guiding their footsteps.
That God wants the Gospel carried to the ends of the earth, we have plainly seen. Seven different illustrations of this fact, in the life of the early Church, have been placed before us today. Is this not the present hour desire of God? Is the Spirit of God not now thrusting out men and women into the ripened harvest fields? We have one last word to say. If God calls, do not hesitate to obey. Remember there are three things you can do:
1. You can go yourself.
2. You can let go some one dear and precious to you.
3. You can help go those who have a special call.
Shall we not, each one, ask God what He wants us to do?
"Can we, whose souls are lighted
With wisdom from on high,
Can we to men benighted
The Lamp of Life deny?
Salvation! O salvation!
The joyful sound proclaim,
Till each remotest nation
Has learned Messiah's Name."
WHOSE BUSINESS IS IT?
They were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. Some years ago I was speaking in the city of Minneapolis. I noticed in the audience a young lawyer. When the meeting was over I made my way to him and said: "Are you a Christian?" "Well, sir." he said, "I consider myself a Christian." I said, "Are you bringing other men to Christ?" He said, "No, I am not, that is not my business; that's your business, I am not called to da that, I am called to practice law; you are called to preach the Gospel." I said, "If you are called to be a Christian you are called to bring other men to Christ." He said, "I don't believe it." I said, "Look here," then I opened my Bible at Acts 8:4 , and asked him to read, and he read, "They that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word." "Oh, yes," he said, "but these were the apostles." I said, "Will you be kind enough to read the first verse of the chapter?" and he read, "They were all scattered abroad... except the apostles." He had nothing more to say. What could he say? From Dr. R. A. Torrey.
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Matthew 28". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany