Summary: partnering with God in evangelism
God’s Part and Ours
Becoming a Hospital – pt. 3
October 5/6, 2002
How long does it take to “convert”? And whose job is it to do the “converting”? I want to take a look at those questions this morning as we continue to take a look at what it means for us to become a hospital, meaning a place of help and healing for people who do not know Christ. I remind you that when we talk about the vision of our church as a hospital, we are talking about meeting the needs of people who do not know Jesus, not caring for hurting Christians (which is part of the vision of the church as a greenhouse).
I want to begin the conversation on those questions with a look at Acts 1, reading verses 1-11. As you are looking that up in your Bibles, let me remind you that the book of Acts picks up where the Gospels conclude, with the story of the disciples spreading the news about the resurrection of our Lord. Let’s read it together:
Here is a really great, 3-part blueprint for sharing faith in Christ with others that I want to draw your attention to. First, don’t go without the Holy Spirit. Second, don’t get sidetracked. And third, don’t stand around looking at the sky when you should be getting down to the job.
1. Don’t go without the Holy Spirit.
In verse 4, Jesus commands His disciples to wait. “Do not leave Jerusalem…” He says, for you need to go with the Holy Spirit. He instructs them to wait until they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Think about this for a moment – the disciples already had all the facts. They had lived and walked and worked with Jesus, they had seen His death, and they were already witnesses to His resurrection. They knew all they needed to know. But Jesus told them not to leave Jerusalem until they had received the gift of the Holy Spirit – and He gave them the reason in verse 8 – that is where the power comes from. “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses…” Trying to witness for Christ without the power of the Holy Spirit is like trying to start a car with no spark plugs. Sure you can push it along a bit, but you are never going to get moving, and you’ll never get very far.
I make few absolutes, but here is one: without the power of the Holy Spirit, no word or deed or example on our part will have any eternal significance for God’s Kingdom. Conversely, with the power of the Holy Spirit, any word or deed or example (no matter how much we might feel we have blown it) WILL make an difference for eternity.
You see, changing people is God’s business. It is only God that can change a person and bring them to faith in Christ, that can convict them of sin and bring them a renewed nature. But there is a really fine line here – on the one hand we can take a realization like that and assume we have no role to play at all – “it’s God’s business, let Him do it.” We need to relax and realize that the results are up to God, but we also need to recognize that He has entrusted unto us the responsibility to be His witnesses. Jesus said that in vs 8 – “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” It is our job to witness, it is God’s job to infuse those opportunities to witness with spiritual power so that there are eternally significant consequences in the lives of others.