In Acts 1:8, Jesus was speaking to His disciples just before He ascended into heaven that He was going to pray to the Father to send the Holy Spirit. When Jesus was saying this, the Holy Spirit has not yet come and so what He was saying was future tense. But today, Jesus has risen to heaven and is sited at the right hand of the Father and the Spirit of God is with us as a church so it is no longer ‘you shall receive power’ but rather ‘you have received power’. We are not waiting for the Holy Spirit anymore; the Holy Spirit is now waiting on us. You have received power because the Holy Spirit has come and has empowered us. If He has empowered us, that means the next line of instructions are doable. Jesus said that when the power of the Holy Spirit comes upon us (which we already have), we will be witnesses to Him in Jerusalem, in Judea, in Samaria and to the outer most part of the earth. So there is a progression, Jerusalem was where the disciples were, Judea was the next city around them and then Samaria and the other parts of the earth. I want you to take note of what Jesus said in that passage, He said when you receive power, you will become witnesses meaning that you will be able to witness. There are couple of things I want us to draw from that one of which is that the mission is possible because God make us able. Secondly, He has given us the Holy Spirit to make us an effective witness. Jesus is the one that does the making, we do the obeying. It does not matter where you are or the limitations you probably have placed on yourself, God is simply saying ‘’follow me, and I will make you” Matthew 4:9.
For this topic, I am going to be focusing on Jerusalem and Judea. Although we don’t live in Jerusalem but what does that word mean to us living in Lagos, Nigeria? What does it suggest to us? Your Jerusalem is essentially your immediate environment, your immediate family, your close friends or close associates, your kinsmen; these are your Jerusalem. Your Judea on the other hand are your professional colleagues, your staff, your co-workers and your neighbours. You have been sent to them (people in your Jerusalem and Judea) but the challenge is that people in your Jerusalem are usually difficult to preach to. Often times, we shy away from reaching out and preaching to the people in our Jerusalem. Why? The reason is because they know us through and through, they knew us before we got born again and so they are familiar with our past and this can make it a bit difficult to enter into conversations with them about Christ. What you should know is that you are not alone, Jesus also went through the same challenge; we do not have a high priest that cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities John 7:2 & Mark 3:20-21. So Jesus had childhood friends and siblings who did not believe in Him. More so, Jesus went to His hometown but their response was; ‘is this not the son of the carpenter’? Mark 6: 3. There is that challenge in your own Jerusalem that people know you too well, they have seen you at your weakest point. The people of Jerusalem could not see the saviour in Jesus, all they see was the son of the carpenter. Many of us are in this position and it has become a constraint for us.
How do we deal with people our Jerusalem and Judea?
- The starting point is for us to recognise the importance of prayer. In the place of prayer, we can release our past and even our present to God to use it for His glory. We can be committed to how God wants to use us in the future but the starting point is getting past our past; we need to allow the power of God to work on us. In the place of prayer, we can receive healing. We are now God’s property. God want to use us for His glory so we need to pray and release ourselves to God and allow Him work in and through us.
- You need to recognise that God has kitted us to have what I call Mission Tool Kits; the equipment God has given us to enable us reach out effectively to people in our Jerusalem and Judea despite our challenges and constrains.
What are our Missions Tool Kits?
- The Power of Planting and Watering: As a believer, we plant by praying for and preaching to the unsaved and watering is done by the way we live our life that reflects what we believe and our love for people. We water by the way we live and love others. We need to pray for people in our Jerusalem that are unsaved. People who are lost or unsaved; there is a challenge that they usually have which is that the gospel is veiled to them 2 Corinthian 4:3-4. When the eye of someone’s mind is blind, they find it difficult to appreciate or comprehend what is preached to them. And so when I am praying for people who are not saved, what I do is to tear down that veil in the Name of Jesus. When you see someone who is constantly pushing back against the gospel of the bible; there is a veil covering that persons mind. So we need to pray and create room for God’s words to be able to penetrate the heart of stone. We also can water by remaining in love and not being judgmental. And for people who are not within your reach, you will pray that God will send harvesters into their lives and friends who will influence them positively.
- There is the Power of Invitation: This is bringing people into an environment where they can be empowered, where the veil can be torn and that obstacle can be removed. Bringing people where they can experience the touch of God and a good place is the church.
- The Power of Your Personal Story: Everybody evangelises one way or the other by sharing your experiences at the salon or market with your friends. Also, many businesses are flourishing because of recommendations. You should do the same by sharing your personal stories with people around you. Personal stories are so compelling because they are authentic. Real life transformation stories inspires people especially those in our Jerusalem when they see a lot of change that has happened in our lives.
- The Power of Building Bridges: This is often very important especially in our Judea because we find ourselves around people that we come in contact with every other day. Many of us in our work place connect with a lot of people like our bosses, colleagues, customers and so on; we can intentionally build relationship with them. God expects us to build bridges by using the opportunities around us to connect with someone or people around us and get them to connect with God. All we need is to be sensitive to those opportunities. There are always opportunities in our Judea; the key thing is to learn how to leverage on the help of the Holy Spirit.
In conclusion, we need to understand that the gospel is the issue of the soul, there are many people that are oppressed and frustrated even though they appear as if they are all together. So don’t allow people’s physical frame or appearance to hinder you from reaching out and preaching to them. You need to find the right opportunity to drop the word of God in their hearts. Note that not everybody that looks all together is together! There are some people around us who are ready for harvest, we just need to show up and speak up at the right time. I want you to make a mental note of the people in your Jerusalem and Judea and I want you to make a commitment to use this Mission Tool Kits to reach out to them. Praise God!