Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Church with a Revolutionary Stance

The church at Antioch is introduced in Acts 11:19-30. The persecution of the Jews began full-force when Stephen spoke up to the religious status quo and was stoned to death. Men from Cyprus and Cyrene went to Antioch and began to tell the Good News to the Greeks there. The Lord's hand was with them and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.

These nameless men (NOT church leaders) were compelled to come to Antioch from North Africa and the island of Cyprus to bring the gospel to the people there. The revolutionary stance of these men enabled them to see that adversity was not the occasion for fear and complacency but that it presented an opportunity to be seized. They turned the scattering because of persecution into the opportunity of spreading the good news of Jesus everywhere they went.

They also crossed cultural boundaries: while some of the scattered preached to the Jews, these men went to the Greeks also. They were not content to fit into the status quo, but instead chose to go to a group that had been previously excluded from the gospel. Craig Groschel says it well:

To reach people no one else is reaching,
we must do things no one else is doing.
If I were looking at the church at Antioch as a model or pattern to build a healthy church today, the foundation characteristic is this:
God-Sized Vision
Healthy churches are characterized by vision. They hear from God, respond in obedience, reorient their priorities, devise an action plan that reflects their vision and enables them to accomplish their goals, then they roll up their sleeves and go to work.
Thank you Pastor Sam for proclaiming the revolutionary stance of Bronx Bethany, not just for your community, but for the world.

1 comment:

g-force said...

So glad to be called revolutionary! It seems that many denominations begin with a revival fire and end with a chilly conformity to the status quo... it will be interesting to see how revolutionary Bronx Bethany appears five or ten years from now. I hope we'll still be on fire.