Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.
- Acts 8.4
I take this to be a measure of my faith in the Trinity that, without regard to danger, I make known God’s gift and the eternal comfort He provides: that I spread God’s name everywhere dutifully and without fear, so that after my death I may leave a legacy to so many thousands of people – my brothers and sons whom I have baptized in the Lord.
- Patrick, Confession, Irish, 5th century
In his book, Evangelism and the Early Church, Michael Green referred to those believers in Acts 8 as going about everywhere “gossiping the Gospel.” For nearly two centuries, and in the face of violent resistance and philosophical pooh-poohing, this word-of-mouth preaching, carried out dutifully and without fear by believers from all walks of life, was the primary means whereby the Roman world became saturated with the Name of Jesus.
Those Christian chatterboxes were so filled with the reality, hope, power, and boldness of the Gospel that they shook the world of their generation, turning it upside down and generating a spiritual tsunami that overflowed the entire Roman Empire in just a few centuries.
These first believers didn’t have a program; they weren’t “trained” to evangelize their neighbors; and nobody was overseeing their efforts so he could fill out some report form for denominational headquarters. Those folks committed themselves and all their property to the Lord, so there were no entanglements keeping them from fleeing. They understood the far-reaching implications of the Gospel, and the privileges and demands of life in the Kingdom. They could “let goods and kindred go” (Luther), but the could not let go of Jesus.
These first believers fled their homes because of Jesus, because they would not deny Him and could not remain silent concerning the Good News of His Kingdom. Patrick, too, left his home in Britain to return to the land where he had been a slave for six years, to proclaim the Good News of Jesus “everywhere dutifully and without fear.”
What else would we expect them to talk about! Jesus was all they had, all they wanted, all they hoped for, and all they could think about. No wonder He just flowed out of their speech, wherever they went (Jn. 7.37-39), as naturally and easily as everyday gossip comes to most of us.
Patrick and those first believers were so grateful to Jesus, and they walked so closely with Him, that chattering away about Jesus was the most natural thing in the world for them. Patrick says his witness for the Lord was “a measure” of his faith in God. Telling others about Christ, even at the risk of personal danger, and doing good works in His Name were the ways Patrick and those early believers measured the reality of their faith.
How do we measure the reality of ours?
Many Christians have come to believe that the world is no longer interested in God or the Gospel. Or, if they are, they will seek it out and come to our churches – adjusted, outfitted, and modernized and popularized to make any such seekers feel right at home.
But the Lord did not command the world to go to church; He commands His people to go to the world, dutifully and without fear, brimming with the hope of glory and ready with an explanation of the Gospel for the people we encounter each day.
Dare we hope that God might once again kindle that fire of “gossiping the Gospel”? That He might revive true faith in those who believe, renew their churches, and send them – like Patrick and the believers in Acts – to spark a great awakening of faith in our day?
The first believers, and Patrick in his generation, left the comforts of the world behind because of Christ, and went everywhere, sowing the seeds of a new worldview – a world turned right-side up for Jesus.
What excites you? What do you talk about eagerly and with passion? Put another way, what seeds are you sowing into your Personal Mission Field each day? Those of the moth-and-rust-vulnerable world, or that which bears the fruit of the eternal Kingdom?
Psalm 116.10-14 (Mit Freuden Zart: All Praise to God Who Reigns Above)
Afflicted, I believe His Word, though lying men would undo me.
What shall I render to the Lord for all His blessings to me?
Salvation’s cup I lift above and call upon the God of love
And pay my vows most truly.
Lord, be on my heart and in my mind, that I may share the Good News of Your love everywhere and most dutifully, and without fear. Adapted from Patrick, Confession
God can rekindle the fires of witness for Christ and the Kingdom. And this great work begins in prayer. Here’s a Christmas idea: buy yourself and several of your closest friends a copy of Restore Us! and learn how you can play a role in preparing the world for the next great awakening. It begins in prayer, and this little book can show you how to start and continue praying for revival, enlisting others to join you. Included in Restore Us! are the Biblical rationale for such prayer, how to organize and conduct a Revival Prayer Group, and 12 psalms set up to guide you in using them as an agenda for your times of prayer. Go ahead, throw some kindling on whatever smoldering embers of Holy Spirit fire you can find. Click here to place your order for Restore Us! today.
As you pray…
Would you prayerfully consider helping The Fellowship? Take a few minutes today and ask the Lord whether He would have you share with us regarding the financial needs of this ministry. God supplies all our needs, and He does so through friends who share our vision and benefit from our ministry. It’s easy to give to The Fellowship of Ailbe, and all gifts are, of course, tax-deductible. You can click here to donate online through credit card or PayPal, or send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.
T. M. Moore, Principal
All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Da Paor, p. 98.