The saints in Jerusalem, including the apostles, were going nowhere. Jesus had promised them in Acts 1:8,
You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
But they didn’t go until God ripped them — he killed Stephen. He took him out to get them on the road. God took him home. Stephen looked into heaven, saw the Lord Jesus beckoning, “Come on home, my most gifted deacon, come on home.”
“Our only hope when we wake up in the morning is that Jesus is with us.”
That will get somebody moving — and it did. We owe our lives to the death of Stephen and the missionary movement that resulted from his death. But you don’t have to wait for that to happen. I’m suggesting that you not wait.
God can still do that though. He’ll take somebody out. Maybe he’ll take me out tonight. And hopefully you’d say, “Whoa, we better go.” Wouldn’t that be something? And the hand of the Lord will be with you when you follow him into mission. Like Acts 11:21:
The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.
I want to be as encouraging right now as I possibly can. Some of you are hearing this, and your imagination is running ahead. You’re a single woman or a single guy, a married couple, old or young, you’re retired, and you’re seeing yourself sitting on a 747 in a seat by yourself or with one other person. You’re heading to who knows where, and you’re saying,
What have I done? What have I done? This was not the plan. This isn’t going to work. I’m going to be so depressed when I get there.
And all kinds of thoughts come tumbling to your mind. But this text is here for that reason, isn’t it? Isn’t this why this is in the Bible?
The hand of the Lord was with them, because when Jesus finished his work, he finished it, and he gave the Great Commission. The last thing he said was this: “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
Why did he end like that? Because he knows we’re all cowards. We’re all frightened. We’re all discouraged. We’re all easily depressed. We’re all over the place. How are we going to make such a commitment? I can’t carry it through — I’m a basket case.
And our only hope is when you wake up in the morning and say, Jesus is going to be there. When you go to bed at night, Jesus will be there. When you talk to your first person, and they roll their eyes, he’s going to be there. When they arrest you and question you, Jesus will be there. At the visa, he’ll be there. At customs, he’s there.
Jesus is always there, and he has all authority in heaven and on earth. Go make disciples.
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