The news traveled fast and in no time the leaders and friends back in Jerusalem heard about it—heard that the non-Jewish “outsiders” were now “in.” When Peter got back to Jerusalem, some of his old associates, concerned about circumcision, called him on the carpet: “What do you think you’re doing rubbing shoulders with that crowd, eating what is prohibited and ruining our good name?”
Unfortunately I believe that today, more of us than we care to imagine, feel the same way as the Jews felt in this discourse with Peter. Now, before you start to throw imaginary stones at me, let me explain! I believe that we have become so comfortable in our church buildings, that we have satisfied ourselves in thinking that our service to God has been completed when we walk outside the doors of the church to return home. Furthermore, I challenge you to imagine for a moment that, in preparation for a church organized visitation (something seldom practiced anymore) you have gone to your church for your assignment. Because of recent sermons on the church reaching the WHOLE world (communities) around us, you are given an assignment to visit an ex-convict living in an area of town that you seldom drive through, will you take the assignment, pray over it with your visitation partner, then hit the road to make it happen? I would dare to say that many of you will: 1). Not be present, because that’s your family time, or that’s the job of the church’s hired staff, or you’ve already been to church twice that week, and you will not return receive yet another commitment; 2). Never be a part of the visitation team, because you are afraid that you may be asked a biblical question that you may not be able to answer; 3). You would hand that assignment back to the leader and ask for a safer, more comfortable assignment near your home, or near the church – you know, someone like you!
Friends, let’s be reminded that we are the church. We are Christ’s ambassadors to carry the gospel wherever and whenever we go somewhere. Are you doing your part to extend the gospel to ALL parts of the earth, to every person in every location? Our mission field begins when we exit the doors of our church. We are more than conquerors through Him that strengthens us. Let us not be afraid, but carry the gospel to everyone through our actions, words and our love for one another, God being our helper!
Lord God, please forgive me, and forgive my church family for becoming so lax in spreading your gospel to all peoples in all parts of our communities. That we continue to support missionaries as they do the same in parts of the world where they have heard your calling. Please help us to be Your loyal ambassadors wherever we go, so that Your name may be lifted up and praised by all people. Please help us to be bolder in our witness for You, knowing that You’re by our side. For it is in Your precious and most powerful name that I pray, amen!