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, British, 5th century
Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.
- Acts 8.4
In his book, Evangelism and the Early Church, Michael Green referred to those believers in Acts 8 as going about everywhere “gossiping the Gospel.” Their example set the direction for evangelism in the generations following the death of the apostles. 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. The measure of their faith was their readiness to bear witness at every opportunity; the measure of God’s faithfulness was His willingness to use that witness to bring many to a saving knowledge of Christ.
These first believers didn’t have a program; they weren’t trained specifically for evangelizing 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 they didn’t worry about losing anything by being faithful as witnesses. 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 they 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 lives and speech, wherever they went (Jn. 7.37-39), as naturally and easily as everyday small talk 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”? Even in a time of pandemic and quarantine? That He might revive true faith in those who believe, renew our churches, and send us – 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? How are you reaching out to the people in your Personal Mission Field during these uncertain days?
Our world may be changing right before our eyes, but the Gospel remains the same, and salvation in our Lord Jesus Christ will still be what the world needs, once this current crisis passes. Now is the time to be gossiping the Gospel, by every available means, to anyone we can reach.
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.
Use me today as Your witness, Lord, as I…
Starting place for witness
God can rekindle the fires of witness for Christ and the Kingdom. Our job is to seek the Lord for revival, and to take every next step He shows us to bring the Good News to the people in our Personal Mission Field. Our book, Restore Us!, can show you how to seek the Lord for revival, and how to encourage others to join you in this. Let’s not allow this time of everything being on hold hinder the progress of the Gospel. Prayer is the starting-place for consistent and effective witness. Order your copy of Restore Us! by clicking here. And if you have not been following our ReVision series, “Revived!”, showing you how to pray the psalms for revival, now might be a good time to start. You can download the first two of four installments by clicking here.
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, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.
T. M. Moore, Principal
All psalms for singing are 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.