Currently in our Church year we are exploring the events after the resurrection of Jesus and seeing how the truth of who he is and who he calls us to be is gaining momentum. First tentatively the disciples grasp hold of faith – tentatively they begin to live by that faith and share it with others.
From here it’s an exciting story as led by God the Spirit, in deepening faith, they move out and speak out to anyone – Jew or gentile – who will listen.
What motivates them?
Simply love for a man they now know to be God.
What empowers them?
That same love coupled with the power of the Spirit transforms them and draws men and women to saving faith in Jesus Christ. Soon (May 23rd) we will remember the pouring out of the Spirit at Pentecost; on that day 3000 were baptised as they joined the disciples in faith (read Acts 2:1-47).
On that day the Church was born and quickly spread throughout the Roman world – the Spirit continues to transform and shape lives to this day. The Church continues to be born in our midst. While it is true that statistics can paint a grim picture for the Church I choose to believe something else – God will build his Church and the gates of hell will not overcome it (Matthew 16:18).
We’re seeing that here in Kaikorai. The church faces immense challenges but the Spirit is moving in people’s lives and drawing us to a relationship with Jesus which is deep, real, and obvious.
I see a deepening faith in many people – often in those who’ve gone through the hardest times and I see women and men returning to and coming to a living, life-shaping faith in Jesus the Christ. Have you seen this? Maybe you’re experiencing it!
2000 years ago the Church did not grow through programmes but when individuals and households met Jesus – and they met Jesus when others spoke about what they had experienced. Peter was no preacher, he had not spent hours in the library learning from books – but he did know Jesus, and that is what he spoke about.
The 3000 baptised at Pentecost knew even less but still they knew enough: they knew Jesus. And the story goes that these early believers gossiped the gospel throughout the empire when they returned to their homes. Similarly in New Zealand news of Jesus Christ often preceded the missionaries as those who first heard and believed told others.
The Church grows today in like fashion when we motivated by love and empowered by the Spirit live out and speak out the good news of Jesus.