Evangelism Vignette – November 20, 2010
How many of you have been to Disney World? I remember a series of television commercials that Disney ran. They would feature an athlete trotting off the field after a victory – maybe a world series or super bowl win, or an Olympic gold medal. A voice was heard asking the athlete, “You just won the super bowl! What are you going to do now?” The celebrity would always reply, “I am going to Disney World!” Anybody remember those commercials? The Disney folks wanted us to believe that Disney World was the ultimate celebration of the ultimate victory.
I thought of those commercials after bible class a few weeks ago when we talked about Paul’s return to Jerusalem in Acts chapters 21 through 23. Paul was beaten, threatened with scourging and taken into custody by soldiers to protect him from the angry mobs that wanted to tear him to pieces, but the opportunity to tell people about his savior was a great victory. And then what? Paul wasn’t going to Disney World. No, chapter Acts 23 verse 11 says “But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, ‘Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome’.” Now, I know Paul is the one who said “to live is Christ, to die is gain,” and Paul wanted to go to Rome, but I have to believe that at some level, Paul’s sinful flesh had to say, “What? Be of good cheer? Rome? Wasn’t this enough?” Paul knew that more beatings and prisons and abuse waited for him in Rome. But yes, God said “Be of good cheer,” and Paul went with good cheer. For Paul, the ultimate celebration of his Savior’s ultimate victory was to share it with others.
So, what about Peace Thru Christ in Middleton, Wisconsin in November of 2010? Our little congregation has the struggles of making ends meet in difficult economic times. Struggles to maintain our property and buildings with limited resources; struggles to continue a Christian day school with small enrollment; struggles to preserve the message that has been entrusted to us. We’re not going to Disney World either. Well, be of good cheer because our congregation of less than 100 also has the privilege of bringing God’s message of forgiveness to a metropolitan area of over 500,000. Yes, be of good cheer because we know God gives us the ability to carry out this task – Philippians 2:13 says “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for his good pleasure.” Be of good cheer because we have the infallible Word of God – Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword…” Be of good cheer because we have been chosen for this work – 1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Be of good cheer!
Be of good cheer, and let your ultimate celebration of your Lord’s ultimate victory be sharing that victory with others.