Acts 1:8 – The Love Perspective

“But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth.”  Acts 1:8 (AMP)


Scripture promises us power to be witnesses for Christ.  As Christians, we should willing accept this power (ability) and use it, yet many don’t.  Why are we so reluctant?  What is the source? For some, the answer is fear.  Fear of doing it wrong…fear of rejection.  But fear has been addressed.
What about love?  Could lack of love be the problem?

9-10“I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love.

 11-15“I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.

 16“You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you.

 17“But remember the root command: Love one another. (John 15:9-17  The Message)

 29-31Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.”  (Mark 12:29-31 The Message)

These are verses we’ve looked upon many times.  Have you ever considered them in light of Acts 1:8 and the Great Commission?  How do they relate?

Unless we love people…truly love people, we will never be able to be true witnesses.  We cannot allow ourselves to be “put off” by bad attitudes.  We cannot allow ourselves to cross to the other side of the road because the “Samaritan” we approach is dirty and smelly.

If we truly love as Christ loved, our tiny fears (I say tiny because with Christ as our Savior they are…Phil 4:13) would never cause us to walk away.  We would not worry about saying the wrong thing.  We would not fear being rejected.  We would simply LOVE and part of that LOVE is desiring ALL to know our Savior.

But many of us do not love.  We are selfish.  We know our Lord and assume that other Christians will tell these lost souls about the Good News.  We who live in the Southern US (aka the Bible Belt) assume they have already heard…I mean, there is a church on every corner…how could they not?

Perhaps, they have not heard because you were the one called to tell them.  Tell them.  Minister to them.  LOVE them.

Tell them.  You may wonder, what do I say?  After the initial obvious, “Do you know Jesus?”  “Is He your Savior?”  I would turn to the simple way we teach our children.  The ABC’s

 “A” is for Admit. You must admit to God that you are a sinner. You must be sorry for your sins and turn away from sinning.  Verses that support this step are:

  • Romans 3:23
    • for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
  • Romans 6:23
    • For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • Acts 3:19
    • Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,
  • 1 John 1:9
    • If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

“B” is for Believe.  You must believe that Jesus is God’s Son and that God sent Jesus to pay  the penalty for sin. Verses about believing include:

  • John 3:16
    • For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
  • John 14:6
    • Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
  • Romans 5:8
    • But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

“C” is for Confess. You must confess your faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Read the following verse:

  • Romans 10:9-10,13
    •  9That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved…. 13for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

After you admit to God that you are a sinner, repent and turn from your sin, believe that Jesus is God’s Son sent to die to pay for the sins of the world, and confess your faith in Jesus, you are a Christian and know Jesus as your Savior.
Admit!  Believe!  Confess!  Here is a sample prayer that will help you begin:

Dear God,
I know that I am a sinner, and that I need Your grace.  Thank you for loving me enough to send your Son Jesus Christ into the world to die for my sins.  I believe that He arose from the dead and that He lives today.  I confess my sins to You now, and ask that You place Your Holy Spirit in my heart that I may turn away from my sins.  I love You, I believe in You, and I want to have a personal relationship with You.
In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Minister to them.  Once someone becomes a new Christian, it is very important that we minister to them. (And truly, this applies to those we are witnessing to.)  Listen to them if they need an ear.  Meet their physical needs.  Be patient with them.  Just because they don’t make an immediate 180° turn.  They must be taught what it is to be a Christian.  We lose so many new Christians by welcoming them then abandoning them. (But that is another lesson entirely.)

How can we as a church do it better?

How do we love them?  Don’t judge them.  Not everyone you encounter will be exactly like you.  Some may be extremely wealthy, some may be homeless.  We are called to love them both equally.  If each entered the church on the same day, who would you approach first?  Who would you invite to sit with you?  Do you love equally?

How can we as a church do it better?

 

**Just my thoughts and ramblings as God gave them to me.  Please share yours!**

Be blessed

De

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