You do not have to know me personally for very long, before you will discover that I am a big fan of my alma mater’s football team, the University of Oklahoma Sooners, and their three NFL quarterbacks, Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts. As I post this, I am decked out in all sooner-crimson, anticipating tomorrow’s televised Spring practice’s wrap-up scrimmage game before 70,000 fans!
In Mayfield’s first year as a pro, he was asked, after a particularly outstanding performance, “How did you do it?” His response was classic: “I woke up this morning feeling dangerous!”
His answer to this question gives us insight into exactly what we have been discussing in these blog postings about walking as little children in God’s kingdom. Mayfield unknowingly tells us what we can expect as we continually lead with our weakness and failures as forgiven sinners—we are dangerous!
Today’s typical, church-going Christian in our society has no idea how those words apply to his everyday life as a believer, because his Christianity is not the Christianity we see on the pages of the book of Acts.
For example, after Stephan was stoned to death in Acts 7, the story of the immediate aftermath of that event is resumed in Acts 11: “Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only. But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord” (Acts 11:19-21).
These persecuted Christians, who were a part of the original Jerusalem church, had to “get out of Dodge,” (i.e., flee for their lives) because of the now-burgeoning persecution in Jerusalem led by Saul and other Jewish leaders. They were not missionaries planting churches, not Christian leaders, not bent on some endeavor to “reach the world for Christ” with this new experience of Jesus they had discovered.
No, these believers were just like you and me—plumbers, carpenters, real estate salesmen, school teachers, doctors, lawyers and clothing salesmen—whose lives had been uprooted. But wherever they went, they were dangerous to the kingdom of darkness that prevailed. Wherever they went, just going about their daily lives, they could not be silent about what they were experiencing in the church.
Peter and John had set the tone in Acts 4 when they were dragged before the Sanhedrin and commanded not to speak about Jesus: “But Peter and John answered and said to them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For WE CANNOT BUT SPEAK the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19, 20). Peter and John knew nothing about “You ought to, need to and should witness to others.”.
The result was the same in Antioch, and, we can assume, in all the other towns where the scattered Jerusalem Christians went as well. “A great number believed and turned to the Lord” (Acts 11:21) This is, as author Roland Allen wrote in his book in 1925, “The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church.” This is New Testament evangelism: every day, in all we do, with whomever we meet, we can’t contain what we have experienced, and we want to gather together with those who have experienced this too! That “gathering” is the church.
If this is occurring all around us, every day, wherever the church is present, society cannot ignore it, forbid it or legislate it out of existence. Make no mistake, our defeated enemy, the Devil, is fighting a delaying action to keep this from happening. He is desperately using lies and deception to keep the church from mopping up Satan’s guerrilla forces and finalizing Jesus’ victory over him at the cross.
Next week we will look at how, right now, the Lord is answering the prayer He asked us to faithfully pray: Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” (Luke 11:2).