Have we sequestered the word of the Lord to the confines of the church walls? Never in the history of the Christian church have there been more Bible study tools available to the average person than we have today. Never before has there been as many Bible teaching and training opportunities as the church now offers. The question remains: is the word of the Lord getting to the whole city?
Maybe we should ask ourselves if we believe that the word of the Lord is for the city. The word of the Lord created the church and is for the discipleship of Christians. But does God intend for his word to be heard only within the church, and only by Christians?
The account of the first missionary journey of the Apostle Paul gives us a picture of the word of the Lord being heard by a whole city (Acts 13-14).
Honestly, I can’t imagine what that was like. I have a hard time seeing in my mind’s eye “almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord” (Acts 13:44). As we read on, we see that the whole city did not receive the word of the Lord. The message of forgiveness and freedom through Jesus was embraced by some but rejected by others. But we know that in every city some have been “appointed to eternal life,” and so we pray and seek to proclaim God’s word to everyone (Acts 13:48).
What will the Holy Spirit use to bring God’s word to a whole city? How will everyone hear?
The word of the Lord must be preached, taught, and talked about in the congregations of the city. I was thrilled to hear a Christian describe how his church started offering a Bible study class that actually studied the Bible. May attendance at these studies increase!
The word of the Lord is to be carried by Christians on the move throughout the city. How wonderful it is to walk into coffee shops and see open Bibles and overhear conversations about Jesus. I imagine these conversations happening all over the city.
The word of the Lord is to be translated into every language, and newer translations are to keep pace with changes within a language. Hey, young language lovers–here’s a career for you.
The word of the Lord can be thoughtfully articulated as having relevance for the needs of our day by writers, bloggers, and communicators. Words shape minds. Let’s use them purposefully and wisely.
The word of the Lord is taken to people and places in our city where there is little access to it. People with cross-cultural ministry gifts cross barriers with the gospel. The whole church prays for and supports these efforts.
The word of the Lord becomes visible in the lives of Christians and the life of the church. When we keep God’s commands in his word, we commend his word to others.
Let’s pray this weekend that the word of the Lord will be heard in our city on Sunday.