If someone asked you “who is Jesus?”, what would you say?
I’m currently reading the book of Acts and I’m fascinated by how often the Apostles and followers of Jesus had to tell people who Jesus is. Notice I said “is” and not “was”.
It could be argued that because this was the early church and so close, time wise to Jesus’s life on earth, his notoriety was only beginning to spread, so in a very literal sense people didn’t “know” of this Jesus. There’s an example of this when the Ethopian Eunuch during a pilgrimage to Jerusalem asks Philip who a passage in the book of Isaiah is referring to – we’ll come back to that later.
It could also be argued that because we, especially those in the west are living in an age and culture where Christianity is widely recognisable – even if it’s not necessarily understood, we wrongly assume that everyone knows who Jesus is. A society built on a Christian foundation, but numbed by secularisation. We have church buildings everywhere, some are even tourist attractions, various public holidays and most schools teaching about Christianity at least up to secondary education.
But this cultural assimilation of the Christian faith has cause many of us in the Church to fall asleep, and become complacent with the message of the Gospel. We don’t carry it with fire in our belly, instead it’s like a clubcard; you might pull out during a trip to the supermarket for some points, which confirms you as a “loyal customer”. But once you’ve completed your transaction, you put it away conveniently in your purse or wallet, and return to the throes of life like everyone else.
At this time many of us are praying for revival. We are so desperate for the restoration of the righteousness of God and His healing in our land.
The world is getting darker and darker – evil and immorality are rife.
Yet as I thought about revival whilst reflecting on the book of Acts, I heard the Holy Spirit say:
how would you describe Jesus to someone?
If there arose a national hunger to know who Jesus is, even an international hunger – people seeking for The Truth – if revival started, what would you be saying about Jesus?
In Acts 2:14-40 Peter refered to old testament king David prophesying of his Lord to come – Jesus the Messiah. In Acts 3:12-26 after they healed the man at the beautiful gate of the temple, Peter reminded the Jewish people of God’s covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and explained how it related to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In Acts 7 Stephen testified of Jesus. He gave a very detailed account of who Jesus is, before the court which provoked them to kill him. In Acts 8:29 – 39 Philip witnessed to the Ethiopian Eunuch, which led the Eunuch to ask to be baptised in Jesus’ name. Paul who was once Saul shortly after his dramatic conversion went to the synagogue in Acts 9:20 and declared Jesus as the Son of God, which led the Jews to plot his death. Peter again in an act of obedience honoured an invitation from the Centurion Cornelius in Acts 10:34 and as Peter told him and his household about Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit fell on them and they were baptised in the name of Jesus.
This continued as God built His church and thousands were saved and the Gospel spread far and wide, even amidst persecutions, in a context that recognised Christianity but didn’t understand it.
We want to see it again, the Gospel like a wild fire spreading across our cities and nations – untameable and undefiled.
But I ask the question:
are you ready for revival?
Are you prepared to share the Gospel? Can you tell people why you’re a believer of Jesus Christ? What is your testimony?
It’s not that scary a question, the Holy Spirit has been sent to bring to our remembrance what we know and believe about Jesus Christ the Son of God, as He told his disciples in John 14:26. Jesus also said the Holy Spirit will tell us what to say when we are called to give account for our faith Luke 12:11-12
This post isn’t intended to undermine or judge anyone’s faith in Jesus Christ, but to encourage us to draw closer to God in preparation to do what the Apostles and followers of Christ did all those years ago.
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
1 Peter 3:15
Lord Jesus, I want to be ready to share the hope that I have in You with boldness and wisdom. Help me to have such intimate fellowship with Your Holy Spirit and Your Word – to truly know You and abide continuously in Your presence – so that I will be a faithful witness of The Gospel, in Jesus name.
When “crusades” are held in parts of Africa, in Asia – ministers share the hope of the Gospel, and they witness about salvation through Christ Jesus. They travel equipped with the simple and needful message of the Gospel. But in parts of the West, sometimes unfortunately it’s gimics, fancy words and complacency.
Two weeks ago I was watching a live feed on good ol’ social media, from the Reinhard Bonnke farewell crusade in Nigeria. With the little I know about the evangelist and founder of Christ For All Nations (CfaN), his ministry over the last five decades appears to be driven by a desire to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all the nations of the world, especially Africa.
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
After half a century Bonnke’s “farewell” crusade felt nothing like a send off, or an ocassion soley orchestrated to honour the evangelist. As I watched the live feed, it looked and sounded like another opportunity to declare the hope of Christ to millions of souls. In fact the minister continuing Bonnke’s work at CfaN – Daniel Kolenda was the one speaking, and he delivered a simple yet powerful message:
It captured the hearts of hundreds of thousands of people in the crowd. Confirming that the hope of salvation through Christ is enough.
But I have to ask, over in the West, do we think we’ve “graduated” from the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Do we expect the Gospel to conform to our “modern” “advanced” “developed” concerns and ideals? At times the West is presented as a big brother to the rest of the world, a precendence setter when it comes to many issues. However the truth is, no matter what impressive intellect, material wealth and earthly possessions a nation amasses, we are all in need of the divine, transforming hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I’m not referring to all churches in the West of course. I live in the UK so I can’t speak for the rest of Europe or the US. There are still churches in the UK that are driven by the truth of the Gospel and The Great Commission. The senior Pastor of my church makes a point of teaching on the foundational core truth of the Gospel every year. He returns back to basics – salvation, repentance, faith, the Kingdom of God. I’m sure there are other ministers and Christians who do the same in their congregations and families. Nonetheless, though I pass by several Church buildings, event flyers and billboards, day after day – I can’t help but notice the Church blending-in all too well in this generation.
Have we become too “comfortable”for the Gospel? Are we bored of the Gospel? There are those risking their lives to hear and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and yet some of us are not willing to risk even our reputation before strangers. At times I wonder why the zeal, the passion, the works, the miracles seem greater in other parts of the world. The world is full of tags and labels weighing the influence and power of nation against nation. Whilst pushing into the background spiritual matters.
If we start to teach the foundational truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ within our churches and families. If we take personal responsibility for equiping ourselves with The Good News, it will stir up our faith and convictions and give us the courage to declare this same truth inside and outside the comfort of church. If the enemy can be so bold to step inside the four walls of a church and attack a congregation, why are we politely keeping the Gospel to ourselves, and considerately keeping the church doors closed? For fear we might make too much noise and make others uncomfortable? Let them hear!
Ask yourself – what can I do?
I pray that God Almighty will give us such life transforming, mind blowing, soul liberating revelations of who He is and why Jesus Christ was manifested to the world. That we will be like the disciples of old: we will not be able to “behave” ourselves, sitting nicely, keeping quiet. We will forego our socialised comforts, and go out into the world and preach the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in every sphere – communities, cities, schools, families and nations in Jesus name amen.
Peace and Love ❤
A raucous scene, a battlefield, contention on every side. Bodies throw against one another. Who but who will surrender? Who will stand?
And there in the midst of it all, one stands, a solace surrounding him. In the chaos, the quiet abides with him. Soon they notice, the tranquil site on the battlefield.
He holds a sword, but this will not stop them from tempting him.
I have often imagine myself, in a complete suit of armour, walking slowly along the seashore, the sea air clean and clear, in the shadow of my Father. His peace quietens me, but still I hold in my hand the sword ready to fight.
Simply holding a sword on a battlefield will not fend off opposition, it certainly won’t win the war. And like this man, sword in hand, we cannot simply have the Gospel and persevere. At all times we must use the Gospel, put it to use as shield, armour and weapon.
It is the good fight of faith.
1 corinthians 15:1 – 3
Even in trials and tribulations, may God continue to renew in our hearts, the Good News of the Gospel and a revelation of Himself, that we may continue to stand and persevere in Jesus name amen.
Peace & Love