Acts 1:10-11 “And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
As these men stood gazing up into the sky, they lingered in the thoughts of how Jesus had answered their questions. They were still looking for their king to usher in the kingdom.
Acts 1:6 “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”
Jesus refocused their vision to what He had called them to do.
Acts 1:7-8 “And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
Often, we get distracted from the right path that God has for us to travel. Even the slightest deviation will not lead us to the goal God has for us. A daily, even hourly check with the Spirit of God will keep us focused on the right goals and the right paths.
Over the years, I have seen two types of people that come to a church. One seeks help to rid themselves of the consequences of bad decisions. The other is a seeker of truth and desires a relationship with the Possessor of truth. The first is transient. The second will plant themselves when they have found that for which they are looking.
There are window shoppers and list shoppers. Window shoppers are content with just looking. List shoppers already know what they are looking for and are focused on finding it.
More specifically, we must not be content just to come and worship as a church body. The church, as an organism, must be alive inside and out. Inside to maintain the health of the body, and outside to evangelize the lost.
A preacher friend described the three main activities of the church.
Outreach – Fulfilling the command of Christ to reach the lost with the gospel.
In-reach – Maintaining and sustaining the health of the Body of Christ.
Re-reach – Seeking the prodigals, looking for those that have fallen by the wayside.
As a child of God and a member of a local, New Testament, Bible-believing church, we must find the place God has for us to utilize our gifts and talents. We must engage in the outreach because we are commanded by God to do so.
Matthew 28:19-20 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
We must be open and receptive to the in-reach of those put in place as our pastor, our teachers, and mentors. In-reach involves regular feeding of the flock. It entails the discipleship arm of the church. The body of Christ must grow and keep growing.
Re-reach is often neglected because it involves going into the highways and hedges to look for those who have wandered away from God. Jude accurately describes what our mindset should be.
Jude 22-23 “And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”
Sin doesn’t look very good. It doesn’t smell very good. But we, who are spiritual, must be ready to restore such a one.
Galatians 6:1 “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”
I am convicted today as I read about the disciples who just stood there looking up while Jesus ascended into the air. Jesus was now gone from their presence, but He had left them instructions on what to do.
I can look into the Word of God and know what to do. If I fail to do it, I am just a looker, not a doer.
As we begin this new year together, may we purpose to use our gifts and talents for the three activities we’ve been called to do. Find your place. Get grounded and rooted in what it is God has for you, and this year, you find no greater joy and peace!