Thursday, February 9, 2017
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It's amazing how quickly you can get three hundred college men to change their plans on a moment's notice. It happened several times when I was in school. Oh, it's late at night; we're all up in our rooms studying, sleeping, or goofing off, and we're certainly not planning to go out. Yet, within a matter of minutes all three hundred men are out of their rooms and out of the dorm. It's amazing what one fire bell can do, huh? Oh, there was no fire, just an occasional fire drill. But the call summoned us from whatever we were buried in, brought us out of our rooms, and out into the night.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Calling Christians Out of Their Room."
Now, you can't read the book of Acts without marveling at the explosive impact of those first Christians. They rocked their city, they saw thousands come to Christ, and they saw people come to Christ daily. They made such an impact it spread across the world and twenty centuries, and guess what? They had the same Savior we have, and the same Holy Spirit living in them! So what happened? Well, let's look at one of those keys to life-changing, city-changing, world-changing Christianity.
Our word for today from the Word of God, Acts 4:31, it says, "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God boldly. All the believers were one in heart and mind No one claimed that any of his possessions were his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the Apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all" If you compare this chapter with chapter 2, it says in just three verses, they were together, together, together. Three times it says that. See, these people had a life or death message to deliver. They realized the urgency and the enormity of getting the Gospel out to an area that was unreached, and they knew they had to work on it together.
C. S. Lewis suggested that Christianity is like this big house. And I'm going to borrow from his example and add to it a little. Everybody enters the house through the same long hallway. In that corridor you've got the cross and the empty tomb. We all went there to get our sins forgiven, and that's how we came to Christ. Now, off the hall are a lot of little rooms. Not long after we come in the center corridor we find that we like one of those rooms and we go in it, and we stay there like college students on a busy night of studying.
In one of the rooms off the central corridor they're sprinkling people to baptize them, in another room they're dunking them, in another room they're speaking in tongues, in another room they're talking about people who speak in tongues. You know, in our rooms, we spend a lot of time on our group's distinctive; the things that make us, us; things that tend to divide us from the folks in the other rooms. Meanwhile, just outside the front door thousands are dying without Christ!
There is one call that has the power to do what the fire alarm did in our dorm that night and summoned us from our individual rooms to go out together. It is the call of Jesus to seek and save those who are lost. They need to be brought to the center corridor that we all claim, to get to the cross to have their sins forgiven, and the empty tomb to meet their living Savior. While we've been busy building our Christian sub-cultures we've lost our culture. One third of Americans say they've had no religious training, half of them say they're giving their children no religious training. Most of the people around know almost nothing about our Book or our Savior. Could it be it's because we've lost one of the powerful words of the early church-together?
This is a time for ordinary believers to look out the window and see the urgency and the enormity of reaching the lost out there and to begin to pull people out of their little rooms, out of their denominational and doctrinal turfs, to join in urgent prayer together for the lost, and aggressive plans to work together to reach them.
The Lord is sounding the alarm! If we hear His cry for harvest workers, we'll be out of our little room and pulling others out of theirs to rescue the people who are dying just outside.