In the past few weeks, I’ve had the blessing of guest speaking at some local non-denominational churches. These small local assemblies are full of people with a genuine love for God and a desire to know the Bible more fully. At each church, people approached me afterwards to either ask questions or to offer positive comments about the message I’d given. My impression is simply this, PEOPLE ARE HUNGRY for the truth!
All too often I’ve been deceived into believing those without a deeper understanding of the scriptures are simply “playing church” and are satisfied with a lackluster religious experience. But my recent experiences have opened my eyes. Many, if not most of these folks attending small local church services are sincerely seeking to know the Lord and the Bible. Unfortunately, too often, they are not finding either. This is where you and I come in to view. Maybe we should all pay some visits to small, local assemblies and get to know some fellow believers who we might be able to help?
Consider how the gospel of Jesus Christ spread throughout Jerusalem and later under Paul’s ministry. Following the Day of Pentecost, they were daily in the temple, the spiritual and social gathering place of the religious Jews. Later we see Peter and John heal the lame man on their way to the temple for the hour of prayer. We see Stephen speaking boldly before the ruling elders of Israel, the Sanhedrin. The point that has jumped off the pages is simply this, “they did NOT avoid the religious people”; in fact, they sought them out!
Furthermore, as the gospel spread beyond Jerusalem, the disciples’ normal manner was to go to the synagogues first. Why? Clearly, many thought their message was an extension of Judaism. But, on a simpler level we see they were going to religious people, those who already had an interest in knowing God. Paul did the same thing when he evangelized.
Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews, And according to Paul’s custom, he went in to them, and for three Sabbath days reasoned with them from the Scriptures.
And the brothers and sisters immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with great willingness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see if these things were so. Therefore, many of them believed, along with many of the Greek women of high standing, and of Greek men, not a few.
Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred up within him as he saw the city full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there.
Here in just one chapter, we see Paul in three cities and each time his first efforts were toward those in the synagogues, i.e., the religious people! Certainly, he understood that his ministry was to all men, not just the Jews. But the point we should note is that he was not fearful or ambivalent about reaching out to those who were already worshiping God. Rather, they were the logical aim of his mission.
My aim in this message is simply this. Please do not avoid churches or other religious gatherings simply because you “know” they have wrong doctrine on some issues. Rather, why not seek them out and offer them a better understanding of the scriptures? Isn’t that what Priscilla and Aquilla did with Apollos in Acts 18? I encourage you to re-read the Book of Acts with fresh eyes and take note of how the gospel of Jesus Christ was shared and the Word of God spread. Let it settle into your bones and then go forth boldly and find those who are seeking to know God more perfectly and then speak the truth with love!
All My Love,