Monday, June 1, 2009

A Life-Changing Question


My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I wanted to ask you a question that quite possibly could change your life. It is a question that I recommend you pray about before following through with the answer because the answer will shape the course of history for your family, friends, neighbors, city, and country. Should you accept the answer, the very place in which you now stand could be shaken to the foundation.

Before I ask you the question, let us read some scripture. Please turn with me in your Bible to Acts 4:23-31. (If you don't have your Bible, I have printed it below) The context of our verses is after Peter and John have been arrested by the Sadducees for preaching the Gospel. But finding no way of punishing them, the Sanhedrin released them. Peter and John return to their brothers and sisters in Christ. Let’s now begin reading at verse 23:

"23 And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, 25 who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: ‘ Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? 26 The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the LORD and against His Christ.’ 27 “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. 29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness."

Note what the Christians did in verse 24 after hearing Peter and John’s report. “They raised their voice to God with one accord…” Note to whom they acknowledged their prayers, “Lord of heaven and earth and sea, and all that is in them...” And now note what they asked for in verses 29-30, “..grant to your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your Holy Servant Jesus.”

Are you ready for the question? Here it is: Have you ever considered getting your family together and praying this prayer? I am not talking about a half-hearted one-time prayer during supper. I am talking about discussing the purpose of this prayer, the potential of the prayer, the gloriousness of the prayer, and the cost of the prayer. I am talking about making it a family mission. You and your family members may not “feel” you have the courage to evangelize in a hostile and dying world. You may “feel” unprepared. You may “feel” it is someone else’s calling (especially if its dangerous). Well, I submit to you that the Christians in this passage probably “felt” the same way, which is the exact reason they prayed that prayer!

Now, look at verse 31 and fall to your knees in awe at what our great Lord God of the universe did. Their place was shaken and “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” God changed them! Did you get that? God is the One who gave them boldness through His Holy Spirit. God gets the glory for moving mightily in His servants. God is the One who changes hearts and gives boldness. God is the One who changed my heart for evangelism because I would never have considered “boldly” going anywhere to preach the Gospel for the first forty years of my life.

So count the costs because we know the rest of history after this prayer. The world was never the same again! God’s people boldly preached the Gospel to the ends of the earth but the cost was high. And the work is not yet complete. Millions upon millions of souls need to hear Jesus’ name for even the first time. Will you and your family consider praying that prayer?

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