The Missionary Spirit

                “In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day He was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles He had chosen.  After His suffering, He showed Himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive.  He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the Kingdom of God.  On one occasion, while He was eating with them, He gave this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.  For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.””

                                                                                                                                                Acts 1:1-5

                A number of years ago I preached a message on the reality that the Holy Spirit is a missionary Spirit.  The text was the first eleven verses of the book of Acts. Whenever I wrestle with these verses it becomes apparent to me that Luke is here describing the nature of the New Testament Church as a missionary Church because it is living in fellowship with a missionary Lord.  Luke begins by linking the book of Acts with his first book, the Gospel of Luke.  In that first book Luke described all that Jesus began to do and to teach.  In Acts he continues with his theme describing for us the continuing work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Christian faith is in fact Christ.  Its history has been lived out in fellowship with His personal and active presence as the risen Lord living among us.  John Miller once called this the “King being living and active among us.” 

                This week I came across a powerful illustration of this fact.  It is found in the life story of Elisabeth Elliot a missionary and an author who lived out a life of service that can only be explained by the personal presence of the living Lord.  Elliot’s husband, along with four others, was murdered as he was seeking to share the love of Christ with the Auca Indians in Ecuador.  In the years that followed Elisabeth Elliot continued to work as a missionary and in the providence of God she was given an opportunity along with the sister of one of the other murdered missionaries, to live with the very tribe that had murdered their loved ones.  How do we explain how these young men could take the love of Christ to this dangerous tribe?  It is the work of the Holy Spirit bringing the personal presence of the living Christ into their lives.

                The Apostle Paul puts it this way in his description of the prayer he was praying for the Christians in Ephesus.  “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom His whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.  And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:14-21)

                Such missionary love can only be explained as the work of the Holy Spirit uniting us with our Lord Jesus Christ.  As we fellowship with our Lord we find ourselves led by His providence into the very places where we can share this love with those who desperately need it.  Where is the Lord leading you to share His missionary love?

By retir158

I am a retired Baptist Pastor living in Leamington Ontario. I am a husband, a father to three and a grandfather to eight.

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