Monday, August 8

Acts 1:8 or Acts 8:1?

Jesus last words to his disciples before ascending to Heaven were, "but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." (Acts 1:8)

The apostles knew this teaching. They had undoubtedly taught it over and over to the growing Jerusalem church. Yet, only a small percentage of the thousands of believers seemed to be taking Jesus' words seriously.

When we don't obey what Jesus said in Acts 1:8, we are setting ourselves up for an Acts 8:1 wake-up call.

Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him [Stephen] to death. And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.
(Acts 8:1)

Interestingly enough, not even the apostles themselves seemed to grasp the magnitude of Jesus' words!

In the midst of all that absorbs our attention--health, work, family, material possessions, ministry, church, etc.--as important as these are, we must realize Jesus died for the whole world. He loves those in Somalia, Haiti, Iran, and India as much as he loves us. His focus and love is on the nations. Jesus is dead serious about the priority of taking his message of love and salvation to all people groups on the face of the earth.

Instead of using Jerusalem as our launching pad to Judea, Samaria, and the nations, we go the opposite direction. We start with our Jerusalem, segment down to our suburb, and from there to our own little micro-worlds. Our kingdoms gets confused with His Kingdom.

But one way or another Jesus will make his name known to the nations. We can either willingly obey, or be persecuted and scattered. Both get the job done!

I want to be careful to not jump to hasty conclusions, judge anyone, or over-generalize; but maybe, just maybe, we are beginning to get a taste of a 21st Century version of Acts 8:1. When our personal kingdoms and local Jerusalem consume nearly all our time, energy, and resources, and do so at the expense of the Great Commission; we shouldn't be surprised when the Father reactivates Acts 8:1 measures to get us out of our secure comfortable environments and out into his harvest fields. Seek first the Kingdom of God means SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD!


Arthur Sido said...

Great point Guy, we seem to get more insular by the day!

Bruce Dickey said...

Ouch. Guy, You've been saving this for when you got back weren't you? I think there are many of us who get our walking papers just to let them lie around and go out with the old newspaper. Ouch, ouch, ouch. Don't make me come down there brother.

J. Guy Muse said...

Arthur and Bruce,

Acts 1:8/8:1 is just as applicable to us in Ecuador as it is for those living in the USA. We have the same insular perspective there as people do here.

Aussie John said...


What a great article to resume with; Thank you.

"Instead of using Jerusalem as our launching pad to Judea, Samaria, and the nations, we go the opposite direction.... Our kingdoms gets confused with His Kingdom."

Sad, but true!

J. Guy Muse said...


Now that we're temporarily on Stateside Assignment for a few months, there are many more distractions to contend with! I do hope to blog a bit more regularly, but do appreciate the encouraging words!

Marcel said...

Hi Guy,
I came across your blog looking for a picture (church) of the earthquake in Christ Church,NZ connecting it with what happened in Japan,Norway and London,U.K. and the U.S.
Your message then is even more important now.
Interesting that you mention Jerusalem because something we don't hear in the comatose Church these days is that the door to the gentile world eventually closes.

The united hatred of the nations against Israel and the Jewish people and the silence and indifference of the Matt.25 Church tells me that we are very close.

until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.