We are moving

Acts 11:19-26
If the church of God is a body, then most of the senses were at work in Acts 11. I’m not sure if Luke does this on purpose, but the way he writes about some of the spread of the Christian message emphasizes body movement. A few chapters ago, Stephen died by stoning. Saul was there to witness that. Now, the persecution he once approved of has propelled a new movement of the Spirit. Many believers spread out. And though they don’t share their message with everyone, they share it enough.

Pay attention to the body work.

Believers spoke to others. Luke says the “hand of the Lord” (Acts 11:21) was with them. That the message of Jesus was spreading “came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem” (Acts 11:22). Church leaders there sent Barnabas to explore what was happening. Once there, he “saw the grace of God” (Acts 11:23). After he confirmed what was happening, he set off to look again. This time for Saul. When the two met, they returned to Antioch and taught the church. Teaching involves the brain and a passion to know God.

And all that body movement led to something. On one hand, many more people believed in Jesus. On the other, the saints acquired a new nickname. It was then the term Christian came to be. Most likely, it wasn’t a compliment. I get the impression the movement of the church was so much about Jesus it was annoying to everyone else. 

Now, I don’t want to be annoying to the people around me. But I do want our churches to be so much about Jesus that the world can’t help but notice. The thing is, most people seem to have a sense Jesus should be different. And the people who say they follow them should be, too.

Maybe that’s something different. The movement was see in Acts 11 is Christ-centered. What the people are telling, seeing, hearing and learning is Jesus. A lot of churches today do a lot of self promoting. Come see our worship. Come listen to our bands. Join our groups. Support our vision. 

It’s totally possible for all that to be Christ-centered. But it’s just as possible for it to be church-centered. So, how do we ensure our movement as the body is pointing to Jesus first and foremost? How do we know if we’re advertising instead of evangelizing?

We need to be moving, but we need to be moving in the direction of Jesus.

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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