#234 – OTHER TONGUES (12/11/20)
God wants to give us His vision for a church that is made up of people from every background being united around Jesus. Ever since the fall of mankind, relational strife has been a part of human relations. The church, however, is to reflect the values of the King and His Kingdom; we are to love one another as He has loved us.
Readings and reflections
1. When the Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost, those first disciples began to speak in many languages.
‘All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?’ (Acts 2:4-7)
What does this event teach us about the kinds of people who are meant to be brought into the church?
All of those who were speaking were ‘Galileans’. What does this event teach any one of us about how God can use all of us reach people from backgrounds different from our own?
2. As a result of Pentecost a range of people were brought into the church. However, let’s not think for one minute that building a diverse church was or will be pain-free. They soon experience conflict.
‘In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.’ (Acts 6:1)
Who were in conflict and over what?
The church, that’s you and me, can always fall into favouring or focussing on the people who are most like ourselves. How well do you actively seek to engage with other people-groups in and outside of the church?
To memorise this week
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)
To consider this week
How will you expand your awareness, heart and involvement in reaching the nations?
Downloading the ‘Operation World’ App. is a good place to start.
Here is the vlog that Jem mentioned on Sunday by Sam Hēnare (New Zealand) as he speaks about contextualising the gospel to reach the Māori community.
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - GO TO THE NATIONS
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Where would you most like to visit in the world and why?
Introduction - please share in your group
On Sunday, we continued in our series on discipleship.
We saw how Jesus, in His Great Commission, commanded all Christians to be involved in reaching all the people groups of the world.
Let's remind ourselves of Jesus' words,
‘Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Of course, we will be involved in differing ways; for some, it will involve actually going to a different nation, for others, it will mean giving, prayer, support...
We all have a part to play and it's important that we take the time to prayerfully seek God's guidance in this regard.
Jesus made the promise,
‘He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”’ (Acts 1:7-8)
A church and any individual Christian who is filled with the Spirit will be involved in reaching the nations. As we ask for and receive the Spirit, He will lead us into ever greater involvement with the nations of the world.
1. Would you like to share anything that struck you or something that God spoke to you about from Sunday's message or the devotionals this week?
2. Please read Matthew 28:18-20 and discuss:
i) How much do you pray and think about your involvement in reaching other people groups for Jesus?
ii) What are the things that distract or diminish our faith for international mission?
2. Read read Revelation 7:9-10 and discuss:
i) Jesus wants us to have a vision for reaching all nations with the gospel. We need to see this with the eyes of faith. Who, according to this vision, will be included in God’s Kingdom?
ii) What are they crying and what does this say about the content of the gospel message?
God’s Kingdom will include people from ‘every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages’. This means that the message of the gospel will be taken to these people. In this age of travel and digital communications, we can see how God is building ‘highways’ for this to be achieved.
3. Is there anything that you want to pray about?
4. How can we pray for you as you seek to reach out to your community for Jesus?