ACTS – The Acts of God
There are many in this world who gather one day a week as God’s people in a building built to worship and teach/disciple. Of those, only 6% live with a Biblical worldview. Are you shocked? A survey of churches in the United States was meticulously given and evaluated by George Barna and his team. In his book, Think Like Jesus, he gives us the grim results of the survey. I had the opportunity to hear George Barna speak and reveal those results, in a broken voice at times, early in 2000. As one passionate about mentoring and discipleship, I listened to his report…and wept.
But there is good news! There is a way to lead us back to Jesus, the think like Jesus, to behave in the manner in which we say we believe. Barna also researched churches who were successful in leading their congregations to live with a Biblical worldview versus a worldview. He outlines what they are doing to help people find AND follow Jesus…not be merely impressed by Jesus.
Paul asked the same poignant questions of the disciples of Ephesus in his day that Barna asked of us today as God’s church. “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? Did you take God into your mind only, or did you also embrace him with your heart? Did he get inside you?” Barna used other phraseology, but the point is similar!
Acts 19, The Message
1-2 Now, it happened that while Apollos was away in Corinth, Paul made his way down through the mountains, came to Ephesus, and happened on some disciples there. The first thing he said was, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? Did you take God into your mind only, or did you also embrace him with your heart? Did he get inside you?”
“We’ve never even heard of that—a Holy Spirit? God within us?”
3 “How were you baptized, then?” asked Paul.
“In John’s baptism.”
4 “That explains it,” said Paul. “John preached a baptism of radical life-change so that people would be ready to receive the One coming after him, who turned out to be Jesus. If you’ve been baptized in John’s baptism, you’re ready now for the real thing, for Jesus.”
5-7 And they were. As soon as they heard of it, they were baptized in the name of the Master Jesus. Paul put his hands on their heads and the Holy Spirit entered them. From that moment on, they were praising God in tongues and talking about God’s actions. Altogether there were about twelve people there that day.
8-10 Paul then went straight to the meeting place. He had the run of the place for three months, doing his best to make the things of the kingdom of God real and convincing to them. But then resistance began to form as some of them began spreading evil rumors through the congregation about the Christian way of life. So Paul left, taking the disciples with him, and set up shop in the school of Tyrannus, holding class there daily. He did this for two years, giving everyone in the province of Asia, Jews as well as Greeks, ample opportunity to hear the Message of the Master.
What do we learn?
–The evil one does NOT want us to learn to think like Jesus.
–There will be blockers to discipleship. Let God remove those blocks. Know the blocks and go around them.
–Seek God first and you will find Him. The Holy Spirit will guide you into all good teaching and lead you to develop the mind of Christ more and more.
–Know the whole story. Jesus redeemed us by dying for our sin. No one else could do that. Only Jesus saves us.
–Point the way to Jesus. Help others find and follow Him.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Don’t allow us to fall into deathly worldview traps that entangle us and bind us to be of no use to you. You have freed us! We are a redeemed people. Show us how to live like it. Continue to transform us to think and behave like You taught us, dear Jesus. May Your power living in us energize us. May Your glory be seen in us. YES, YOU are inside me, Lord and I will never let you go because Your grip on me is too secure! I love you, Lord with all my heart, mind and soul.
In Jesus Name, Amen