Friday, May 1, 2009

What Began as a small note...

I am the College Director at a church and am very excited about this summer. Our focus will be more on reaching out to our city. To many times Christians have made church a sub-culture. That is completely contradictory to the Great Commission and to the ministry of the early church in the book of Acts. Thus, our College Ministry this summer will be partnering with our local government in helping with projects around our city. God calls us to love our cities not to create Christian Utopias, but to give evidence for the Gospel!

This is EXACTLY what Phillip did in Acts 8.

What was so amazing about Philip’s act of going to Samaria? Philip went to preach the gospel to a CITY in Samaria. Cities are the culture centers of society. As the city goes so goes the culture because cultural trends are generated in the city and flow outward into the rest of society.

This is not the only time we see a Christian missionary go to a city. The mission strategy of the early apostles was urban ministry. In Acts 16, we see Paul is called to reach the region of Macedonia. He responds to the challenge by going to the largest city region (Acts 16:16), planting a church, and then leaving the whole area.

What were the elements of Philip’s ministry? Philip did two things, and then two things resulted. First, Philip came with words. He “proclaimed Christ” (Acts 8:5) which showed that he did not come teaching morality and religion in general, but the Gospel in particular. Christianity IS Jesus. It is making Jesus your everything. Second, Philip came with deeds. He healed sick people and cast out demons (Acts 8:7).

What were the results? First, Philip’s deeds made the crowd pay close attention to Philip’s words (Acts 8:6). That is a very interesting statement. Philip demonstrated the power of the Gospel by changing lives, and as a result, the crowd listened to his words. Finally, then, the ultimate result was that there was joy in the city (Acts 8:8). The spiritual and physical healing lifted the whole city into a state of joy.

These statements are so simple we may overlook the wisdom in them. We must not be distracted by the fact that Philip’s ministry was miraculous. The fact was that Philip saw physical misery around him and worked on it. Also he saw spiritual bondage and healed it. In the same way, the people of a city need to see Christians having compassion on the physically suffering and they need to see the changed lives of people who through Christ have been delivered from spiritual bondage.

I always try to write "a small note" and it always ends up growing. I guess I can't even slow down in the blog world.

...Shaina Duncan, College Student
Editor of Revive and Awaken

For deeper study check out Tim Keller's Study through Acts

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