“The Universal Mission of God”
INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Acts 1.8
Turn to Genesis chapter 3. We will continue our New Year’s theme and establishing more of the direction for our assembly. Last time, we discussed the importance of preaching the Scripture.
Today we will expand our understanding of God’s mission, His goals. We are in the time of year when people establishe goals for the coming year. Have you set any goals? How are you going to accomplish them?
Now, God has goals. Not just for you individually as if God only thought that small…. What are God’s goals for his people and for the world… What is his mission?
So, today, what I would like to do is focus our attention on a biblical history of the mission of God. For Christmas, you received a magnet. And if you didn’t, it’s in the back. And on that magnet is Acts 1:8 Jesus words … 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.”
I’ve grown to realize that in a church or Bible college that is teaching God’s people the word of God, …. Wherever that is going on, what needs to be emphasized is the mission of God and how individuals and churches fit into that …
How does an individual or a church fit into God’s universal mission,…. His mission and desire to get his redemptive blessings into all people groups?
My purpose today is to give you a historical look into God’s mission from Scripture. What we’ll see is a progression and an expansion of that mission … that mission to redeem out for himself a people.
And this is a beginning message of what will become a very practical series later this year. This morning I want to give sort of some groundwork on what God has told us about His mission and to demonstrate His mission of saving people from their sins.
The actual “how to’s” of this I’m working on. There will be some applications this morning, most of this will be given in a series later.
And many of you have asked for help or training on evangelism. And I have struggled to personally lead us in this. Whenever I sit down and think about evangelism, I think about the Great Commission…and I get overwhelmed with strategies and the material to work through. And of course when we come to topics like the Great Commission, church planting, and other similar topics, it’s more than just evangelism.
So I have thought of it in light of developing a college class on the Great Commission. Believe it or not, that helps me … it helps me to organize thoughts and structure. And we’ll be getting to that later this year, on Thursday nights likely.
And it’s not like, that at this point in our church, that we’re not doing anything. Many of you give reports of folks you talk with about the gospel. There is discipleship going on as well as counseling and we have a Bible study right now in Barrhead and one coming up in Lac La Biche … so, we’re participating in the truth of Christ and in the mission of God… and God’s done a work even in forming us up.
And so I look forward to forming up somewhat of a reproducible blueprint for church planting that may be used to plant other churches in our circle of churches. So the nitty-gritty, day in and day out, what to do’s are coming…. Today’s focus is to establish a biblical foundation for these things.
And I think as we go through this, this morning, the Lord will give you greater understanding and excitement concerning what he is doing in the earth.
Now, what we’ll do is dip into parts of the Old and New Testaments so you can begin to see the overarching plan of God and how the Old Testament is the foundation for the New Testament mission. Once we get to the New Testament, we will be focusing on the writings of the one who wrote the most words in our New Testament, Luke. Luke wrote the most words, Paul the most books.
So instead of a point by point message through a passage of Scripture, we will turn to a number of passages this morning.
What I’ll be emphasizing as we go through the Old Testament is that God has planned forever to eventually reach all the nations. Though he focused on one nation, Israel, up until the time of Christ…. At the coming of Christ … his death and resurrection, the Great Commission of his disciples, and the Ascension… He began to fulfill his promises to save people out of all the nations, out of all the ethnic people groups.
So like to preach this morning on “The Universal Mission of God.” What I mean by universal is that God has planned to make his redemptive blessings available to everyone regardless of their ethnicity, regardless of their society culture background or nationality.
God’s mission, in my view at the moment, is best summed up with the words from Daniel 7:13-14 …which I’ll address later … but Daniel 7:13-14….the Father will give to the Son Dominion, glory, and the kingdom that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him forever.
You can see the universal scope.
So, we begin this morning in Genesis chapter 3.
And in Genesis we have three cycles of three universal truths. Universal sin, universal punishment, and a universal promise.
Genesis 3 begins the first of these cycles.
And here, with the fall of man, we have the hint of a universal outlook that will eventually expand beyond Israel.
In Genesis chapter 3 we have the fall of man. Adam and Eve partook of the fruit that God told them not to partake of. We read the first sin with universal consequences in Genesis 3:6-7 6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.
Of course as we learn from Romans chapter 5 and another passages, “through [this] one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned…” We are all affected by the fall of Adam. It is universal.
The punishment is universal as well …
Genesis 3:14-19 14 The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life; 15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.” 16 To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.” 17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life. 18 “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field; 19 By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.”
But within that universal punishment we have a universal promise in Genesis 3:15 . To the serpent, the Lord says … “and I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He [the seed] shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.”
Who is this seed who shall bruise, or better crush, the serpent’s head?
Since all of mankind has been affected by the Fall, the coming of this woman’s descendent would seem, as well, to have all of mankind as its scope.
Now over to Genesis 6 for the second cycle. We see in Genesis chapter 6 that this sin is indeed universal. In the days of Noah, there is great wickedness among all flesh … Genesis 6:5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
And then down to verse 12 Genesis 6:12 God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.
That’s universal sin, all flesh had become corrupted.
And we know the story, God brings a universal flood. That’s the universal punishment.
Genesis chapter 9 contains the universal promise for the second cycle. ….Genesis 9…. Just like with Adam and Eve, God makes a universal promise.
Genesis 9:11-16 11 “I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12 God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations; 13 I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. 14 “It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud, 15 and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 “When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”
This covenant remains true. And it is universal. It affects the whole world. Never again shall water destroy all flesh on the earth.
The third cycle of universal sin, punishment and promise begins in Genesis chapter 11 the tower of Babel.
We have a universal sin. It’s described in Genesis 11:4 The people said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”
They want to make a name for their own selves, not according to the name of God. And they didn’t want to fill the entire earth, either, as was God’s plan in chapter 9:1.
But Genesis 11:7-8 has the universal punishment. Genesis 11:7-8 7 “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” 8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city.
And now the universal promise of this last cycle in Genesis 12 the coming of Abraham. Genesis 12:1-3 1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; 2 And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; 3 And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
Here, God promises to make of Abraham a great nation, to heap blessing upon him, and to make his name great and thus he will be a blessing. And in the end, all the families of the earth will be blessed. You can see the universal scope … “all the families of the earth” are to receive blessing. The promise to Abraham is designed to reach into all of the families, the people groups, of the earth and the point is for their blessing. So the Old Testament clearly has a universal scope in reaching all of the people groups of the earth.
And it would be accomplished through one man Abraham. As Abraham followed the Lord, God would fulfill his promises to Abraham and Abraham would be the channel through whom God would bless the nations.
TRANS: But how? How is God going to fulfill his mission of getting blessing to all the families of the earth? So, breaking out of this cycle in Genesis, let’s go to the book of Exodus in chapter 19 to begin to answer that question. How is God going to fulfill his mission of blessing all the families of the earth? What is God going to do?
We read in Genesis 12 that God is going to make Abraham a nation. This is what God does in the nation of Israel in Exodus 19.
Here, we have revelation of how God was going to use Israel. Here is where God makes his covenant with Israel and makes the nation of Israel unique among the nations of the earth, simply because of his choice of them, as it says in Deut. 7:7.
Exodus 19, the Lord commands Moses to speak to the children of Israel and say Exodus 19:4-6 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. 5 ~’Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; 6 and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.”
And the people agree. We have the comment in verse eight Exodus 19:8 All the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do!”
Then chapter 20 we have the giving of the law of Moses.
But Exodus 19 is a foundational passage for us to understand God’s universal mission as it begins through the nation of Israel.
God tells them 19:5 that they shall be, in a unique way, his own possession among all the peoples….
And he tells them, verse six, and they shall be a kingdom to the Lord. But that’s not all….they shall be to the Lord a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.
And so we learn here that God would preserve his promises to Abraham through this visible kingdom, the kingdom of Israel. And so we see it’s through a kingdom that God chooses to bless the nations. And if we skip to the end of days, we see that God will also use a kingdom. Eventually the kingdom of the Son of Man will be on the Earth, as God promised to David even that his kingdom shall endure before the Lord for ever. And so now, in Exodus, it is through the visible kingdom of Israel that now God is choosing to bless the world.
They are a kingdom of priests. Priests mediate between God and man. Priests mediate between God and man, or they act like a channel of blessing between God and man. In other words, God choose Israel to be the channel of blessing to all the nations. They were set apart in a unique way to mediate, like a priest mediates between God and man, Israel was to mediate between God and the nations. They are a uniquely chosen people group among all the peoples that, at that time, they might be a kingdom of priests to all the nations.
TRANS: So in Genesis we have God promising to send a descendent of the woman, and God promised to that he would be the channel through which blessing comes to all the families of the earth and God promised to Abraham a nation and …and now in Exodus we see that nation established so that that nation might be the channel through which God’s blessings would come.
So we learn that God forms up a nation, but how would blessing come? We still want to know how it is that Israel would be a blessing to the nations….
Over to Deuteronomy chapter 4 for our answer.
The question at this point is still how? How is it that God will minister and bless all the families of the earth through this nation? And we have the answer to this in Deuteronomy chapter 4.
In Deuteronomy chapter 4, God reaffirms his covenant with his people of Israel. Israel is on the brink of entering into the promised land. Moses speaking now….
… Deuteronomy 4:1-8 1 “Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I am teaching you to perform, so that you may live and go in and take possession of the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you. 2 “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you. 3 “Your eyes have seen what the Lord has done in the case of Baal-peor, for all the men who followed Baal-peor, the Lord your God has destroyed them from among you. 4 “But you who held fast to the Lord your God are alive today, every one of you. 5 “See, I have taught you statutes and judgments just as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do thus in the land where you are entering to possess it. 6 “So keep and do them, [why?…] for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ 7 “For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the Lord our God whenever we call on Him? 8 “Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today?
So how is it that Israel would be a blessing to the nations? By Israel observing the law of God. Did you catch that? Israel would be a blessing to the nations if they would, verse six, keep and do what the Lord had commanded them to do. Verse six again Deuteronomy 4:6 “So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’
As Israel kept the law of God, the surrounding nations would see that this nation is a wise and understanding people and thus they would be attracted to the God who gave the law. And that, by God’s design, was to spread around the globe. And of course, they failed.
But under the Old Covenant, the mission of God for the people of God, Israel, was one of observing the law of God as a testimony. There distinct life adhering to the great law of God would point to the greatness of God. This is the Old Covenant.
But as we’ll see with the New Covenant, not only are we to live a distinct life, we need to actively proclaim truth.
As we get out of the writings of Moses, and get into the historical books, we see the universal mission of God honing in on another man, David.
Let’s go to the very last verse of the book of Judges, chapter 21 verse 25….
The book of Judges ends with 1 phrase repeated 4 times… This same phrase occurs in chapter 17, 18, and chapter 19…. And the verse last verse of the book reads this way …. Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
The book of Judges is arguing for the need for a human king over Israel. And indeed Deuteronomy 17 allows for this.
And then over to the end of the book of Ruth. Ruth ends gearing us up for who might that king be … ? Ruth 4:16-17 16 Then Naomi took the child and laid him in her lap, and became his nurse. 17 The neighbor women gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi!” So they named him Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.
Ah…David! So again we are focused on one man. We were focused on Abraham, now we are focused on the one man David. And the book of Ruth, fittingly enough, is an example of God blessing people of other nations because of the great law of God.
But now, over to 2 Samuel chapter 7. In this chapter we have God granting His promises to David. And David responds to these promises…and he understands these promises as significant universally. He understands these promises as significant for all of mankind.
As we combine God’s promises to Abraham and God’s promises to David, we begin to put together the foundation for the ultimate expression of God’s blessing to the nations, the Messiah Jesus Christ.
2 Samuel 7, the word of the Lord came to Nathan the prophet who is to speak to David. We’ll dip in here to verse 8….. Thus says the Lord of hosts, “I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people Israel. 9 “I have been with you wherever you have gone and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make you a great name, like the names of the great men who are on the earth. 10 “I will also appoint a place for My people Israel and will plant them, that they may live in their own place and not be disturbed again, nor will the wicked afflict them any more as formerly, 11 even from the day that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. The Lord also declares to you that the Lord will make a house for you. 12 “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 “He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, 15 but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 “Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.”‘”
Now, these are great promises. God promises to David that his house and kingdom shall endure before the Lord forever and his throne shall be established forever.
Now, how will David respond to this?
David responds at 2 Samuel 7, beginning in verse 18 … In verse 18, David proclaims that he himself is insignificant… 18 Then David the king went in and sat before the Lord, and he said, “Who am I, O Lord GOD, and what is my house, that You have brought me this far? 19 “And yet this was insignificant in Your eyes, O Lord GOD, for You have spoken also of the house of Your servant concerning the distant future. And this is the custom of man, O Lord GOD.
And that last sentence is better translated “this is the instruction for humanity” similar to how the ESV translates it. What is the instruction for humanity? This is instruction for humanity… he says … what is… God’s revelation to David that David’s lineage will be the source for the blessing of God for the distant future….that is the instruction for all of humanity…God’s promises to David!
That previous sentence where he says you have spoken also of the house of your servant concerning the distant future this …. This, God’s revelation that David’s house has a role in God’s plan for the distant future … this is the instruction for humanity…for all of humanity!”
In other words, God choose David and his lineage so that through David’s lineage God would bring universal blessing for future generations to come. And this is to extend internationally …all mankind, all humanity …. this is instruction for all of us. Everyone …all of humanity, David knew, would one day be looking to one of his own descendants!
Oh the marvelous plan of God! And this one man David was well aware of the great promises to him and he wrote about them in the psalms ….
The Psalms are filled with references to God’s word among all the nations. An example is Psalm 2 that portrays all the nations in an uproar and calls upon the kings of those nations to show discernment and do homage to the Son.
And as we progress through to the prophets, they constantly look back to the Exodus, God’s covenant promises to Moses, and they prophesy concerning the future, especially making reference to God’s promises to David.
I mentioned earlier Daniel 7. In Daniel 7, Daniel sees in his night vision the Son of Man approaching the Ancient of Days Daniel 7:13-14 13 “I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. 14 “And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.
And we read in Isaiah many, many different descriptions of this, but I’ll just read these…see if you can catch the similar phrase in each verse…
Isaiah 8:9 “Be broken, O peoples, and be shattered; and give ear, all the ends of the earth. Gird yourselves, yet be shattered; Gird yourselves, yet be shattered.
Isaiah 48:20 Go forth from Babylon! Flee from the Chaldeans! Declare with the sound of joyful shouting, proclaim this, Send it out to the end of the earth; Say, “The Lord has redeemed His servant Jacob.”
Isaiah 49:6 …the Lord speaking to His Servant, the Messiah … “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”
Isaiah 62:11 Behold, the Lord has proclaimed to the end of the earth, say to the daughter of Zion, “Lo, your salvation comes; Behold His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him.”
And it’s no wonder then, that when we come to the New Testament that the Messiah says in Acts 1:8 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 ends of the earth.”
And so when the time was fulfilled, God sent forth his Son of Ps. 2 born of a woman, born under the law…. Born as well, the son of Abraham and the son of David, as Matthew begins his gospel.
And Jesus is the seed of the woman of Genesis 3:15 and he is the descendent of David, the channel through whom the blessings of God can come to all the families of the earth.
When Jesus was born, the angels said… Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
In Luke 2:29-32 Jesus is brought to Jerusalem for dedication at the Temple. The Holy Spirit comes upon Simeon and he takes the child Jesus into his arms says… Luke 2:29-32 29 “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, according to Your word; 30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation, 31 Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, And the glory of Your people Israel.”
As Luke progresses in his gospel, he emphasizes Jesus commitment to fulfill this mission of being a blessing to all the nations as he sets his face to go to Jerusalem.
Luke 9:51-53 51 When the days were approaching for His ascension, [in chapter 9, Luke is focusing on Jesus’ ascension which won’t happen until chapter 24 … When the days were approaching for His ascension] He was determined to go to Jerusalem; 52 and He sent messengers on ahead of Him, and they went and entered a village of the Samaritans to make arrangements for Him. 53 But they did not receive Him, because He was traveling toward Jerusalem.
Luke 13:22 And He was passing through from one city and village to another, teaching, and proceeding on His way to Jerusalem.
Later Jesus say … “Nevertheless I must journey on today and tomorrow and the next day; for it cannot be that a prophet would perish outside of Jerusalem. 34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!;
Luke 17:11 While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee.;
Luke 18:31 Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished.
Luke 19:11 While they were listening to these things, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately….and tells them a parable of the nobleman with 10 slaves.
Luke 19:28 After He had said these things, He was going on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.
Clearly, for Jesus, Jerusalem is the goal. He has set his face like a flint toward Jerusalem to accomplish His Father’s will. And Jesus would go to Jerusalem and he would die at the hands of godless men for the sins of all the families of the earth. He was raised from the dead the third day and ascended back into heaven, to sit at his Father’s right hand until he makes his enemies a footstool for his feet.
And because Jesus has died on the cross and was raised from the dead true, real forgiveness of sins from God can be offered to everyone on earth …. In fulfillment of OT prophecies….
Luke 24:46-47 46 and He said to them [after the resurrection], “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
The Old Testament gave witness to this as we have seen this morning. And so before his ascension Christ proclaims in Luke’s second volume, the book of Acts 1:8 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 ends part of the earth.”
When you read the rest of the book of Acts what you come away with is that this verse, Acts chapter 1 verse eight is a table of contents for the rest of the book.
This verse describes the geographical movement of the blessings of God in Christ to
all the families of the earth. And Acts is written as a history and it describes, primarily, the geographical and ethnic movement of the gospel.
The disciples were to be Jesus’ witnesses in Jerusalem. This is Acts chapter 1 until chapter 6:7. And then it’s Judea and Samaria …that’s the rest of chapter 6 and into chapter 9. And in Antioch, further north … into chapter 12, Asia minor….yet further north…then into chapter 16, the Aegean Area into chapter 19 and then on into Rome by the end of the book.
And Acts 1:8 gives the major purpose of the book to show the geographical movement of the gospel to the ends of the earth. This is in fulfillment of all of the passages that we have studied this morning…that demonstrate God’s universal mission to bless mankind….
Back in Genesis we saw that God was going to move through one man Abraham to make a nation of him and bless all the families of the earth.
And then on into the book of Exodus where God did make from Abraham a great nation and made a covenant with them that they might be a kingdom of priests, that is mediators of God’s blessing to the nations. And then we saw in Judges, Ruth, and into the historical books the focus of God’s covenant promises to David and how God’s promises to David are instruction, really, for all of mankind, for all of humanity. And then the prophets prophesied that one day God’s promises would be extended into the ends of the earth through the Messiah, from that one man David.
And then the Messiah comes! And God sends forth the blaze of His light and truth. And the church in the book of Acts is presented as being on mission expanding and fulfilling God’s calling upon them to actively and verbally spread the word of God, from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth.
In Acts 2 Peter preaches on the day of the founding of the church on the day of Pentecost And Acts 2:5 says there were Jews living in Jerusalem devout man from every nation under heaven. And then these nations are listed Acts 2:9-11 9 “Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.”
And Peter preaches, proving that Jesus is both Lord and Christ. Peter says in Acts 2 that miracles prove Jesus is the Lord Christ, that the resurrection proves Jesus is the Lord Christ, and that Jesus’ exaltation proves He is the Lord Christ.
And Jesus exaltation was why people were given the miraculous ability to speak an unlearned for language that day. Peter gives the explanation for the gift of tongues and then he calls for a response to the people.
Acts 2:37-40 37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” 40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!”
And 3000 people that day trusted Christ and were brought into the kingdom of God and received eternal life.
And then they preached the gospel in Jerusalem, then Judea and Samaria, Antioch, modern day Turkey, the Aegean Area, on into Rome, Greece, Italy, North Africa, Spain, France, and Switzerland, into Germany, England, Russia, deeper into Africa, Iceland, India, China, Japan, North and South America. And then Reformation, and the revivals in England and Europe, and North America and now here we are!
God promised worldwide blessing! So way back beginning with Adam and Eve, Abraham, Moses and the nation of Israel, David, the prophets… All prophesied that there was going to be universal inclusion, all nations everywhere even the remotest parts of the Earth… the name of the Lord would be proclaimed and glorified…. All from such a tiny little nation, we have universal prediction after universal prediction of the whole world being filled with the glory of the Lord. And then indeed the Messiah comes, the light dawns, and the gospel goes forth… And we are all part of it!
CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of Acts 1.8
God is doing the work! But what do we actually do? I hope this gets your eyes off of yourselves! That’s a great effect this has…it gets our eyes off our puny lives and gets them onto God’s marvelous universal mission.
Also, David Hasselgrave, in his excellent article entitled The Theology of Mission in Acts 1:8 states that this understanding of God’s mission “should correct our tendency to separate doctrine and belief from lifestyle.” People in the church today tend to separate doctrine and lifestyle. We have allowed ourselves to separate doctrine from the way we live. But until our lives conform to the doctrine we hold, our participation in God’s universal mission is in vain. It’s empty!
In the Old Testament, God’s people called upon to live a distinct life so that the nations would be attracted to them. That is true today as well, but we also include the actual proclamation of the gospel. But our walk will talk louder than our talk will talk …. And this is why we spend time on your marriage and on your family. This is why on Thursday nights we are studying how to kill particular sin habits. This is why you need to come in for counseling, this is why we disciple one another encourage one another, and stay connected to one another. The plan of God …. The glorious universal mission of God is at stake!
And you can go all over the Internet and watch unbelievers scoffing at believers for the silly things they say and the sinful lives they live. Our knowledge of the truth needs to become real knowledge of the truth that empowers godliness and godly living. Again a reason for our Thursday night study right now.
And this understanding God’s universal mission will guard us from programming the church. We will keep things simple, we will be on mission, we won’t be adding programs for the sake of boosting numbers, but only as they fit into the mission of God.
And this is why, like in the book of Acts, we need to be focused on prayer, personal witnessing with those we come in contact with, church planting, demonstrating the Bible as the authority, getting involved in the church life…every member ministering as a goal…, discipleship, etc.
There is coming a day from our standpoint now when Jesus will return in glory, he will come as the Son of Man of Daniel 7 and he will possess upon this earth his kingdom and it will stretch from shore to shore where ever the sun shines, Jesus shall reign. Number 51