Tay Leng Seng
Soldiers are trained to accomplish a mission. There is a time to rest, to eat, to run drills, and train in camps during peace-time. But once the country is at war, every soldier is mobilised. The training that happened during peace-time is critical to prepare him for the battlefield. He must be ready to move on mission.
Every Christian is called to be a soldier in the army of God. And we need to be ready to move on mission. From the story in Acts 8:1-8, we learned that,
What do you think it means to be a soldier in God’s army? Discuss with your group.
a. What did Paul mean when he urged Timothy to be a soldier in God’s army?
a. How significant was Philip going to Samaria?
b. Philip went to Samaria with one passion and one purpose; to preach Christ. Remember, Philip (and Stephen) had been chosen to serve tables (see Acts 6:5). How do you think he got into evangelism?
c. What opportunities do we have to share the gospel today?
i. Share your experience of sharing the gospel to a friend/family member. How did that experience teach you to lean on the Holy Spirit and mature you as a believer?
Read Hebrews 12:1-2 and Philippians 1:27-30. What attributes are mentioned in these scriptures that demonstrate a believer surrendered to the Lordship and mission of Christ?
a. What ‘civilian affairs’ are you entangled in today? What might it mean for you to stop your involvement in these ‘affairs’?
WHAT WILL YOU DO
Acts 8 prompts us to ask deep questions about our own spiritual relationship with God. Prayerfully ask yourself these questions.
i. Have I limited my spiritual relationship with Christ to simply believing, or do I seek the Holy Spirit to dwell within me?
ii. Have I limited my spiritual commitment to Christ or do I genuinely and completely surrender to Him as Lord of my life?
iii. Am I obedient to the leadership of the Holy Spirit or do I require that I be in control of what happens in my life?
“Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.” – Acts 8:4 NIV
THINK ABOUT IT
Extracted from “The Christian Mission And How To Fulfill It”, Bible.org
Imagine that we are correspondents sent out to a dangerous battle zone. We expect to see battle-weary soldiers in combat fatigues, dirt on their faces, living in the most difficult conditions, carrying their weapons at all times. But, instead, at the battlefront we’re surprised to find the soldiers dressed in civilian clothes, playing volleyball and ping pong, lying around swimming pools, sipping cold drinks, with no weapons anywhere in sight. If such an army was defending our country from a hostile enemy, we’d have good reason to be alarmed!
The problem is, that army has forgotten its mission. It thinks that its mission centers around its own comfort and having a good time. Having forgotten its mission, it would easily fall to a hostile enemy. If that enemy attacked, the members of the army might try to desert, claiming, “I didn’t sign up for this! I signed up for all the benefits, but I had no idea I might get shot at!”
I believe the church is a lot like the army I’ve just described. We have promoted the Christian life for all its benefits: “Come to Christ and He will give you peace and happiness. He will help you overcome your problems. He will give you a happy marriage and family. He will give you an abundant life.” So the recruits sign up, thinking about sitting poolside and enjoying the good life with Jesus. Then, the bullets start ricocheting. Bombs start dropping, shrapnel is flying everywhere. People are getting hurt and dying. And these laid-back recruits turn and run, thinking, “I didn’t sign up for this!”
The Bible is clear that the Christian life is not a playground, but a battleground. God has not saved us so that we can live comfortably, happily, and self-centeredly in suburbia. He has conscript-ed us into His army. We have a mission given to us by our Commander-in-Chief, to take the message of His salvation and Lordship into enemy territory, to win captives from the forces of darkness. As in every war, our mission requires combat and struggle. If we forget our mission and get caught up with our own comfort, we will be quick to desert the cause when the enemy attacks.
Paul describes the Christian cause in such combat terms in Philippians 1:27-30. There is a sense in which it would be easier to preach these verses to the church in China or Iran, where believers are threatened with daily persecution. They’re quite aware of the cost of being a Christian. They’re ready, if need be, to lay down their lives for the sake of the gospel. But few of us, Christians in first-world nations have ever had to endure severe persecution for our faith. We think of Christianity as something that increases the well-being of our daily lives. We focus on the benefits that come from being Christians. But, the danger is, in focusing on our own well-being, we forget our mission. If we forget our mission, there is no way we will fulfil it. And, we become an easy target for the powers of darkness.