The Problem that Obstructs His Plan: Acts 1:9-11
9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
Let me give you one good word to define the solution to this problem of obstructing God’s plan. FOCUS. Lack of clear focus can be a major problem in accomplishing the mission Jesus has given the church. When we are focused on the wrong things, we will surely not be focused on the work God has empowered and commanded the church to do.
Have you ever been at work and watched the clock every minute or two to see if it was time to go home? This does two things. 1) It makes minutes seem like hours 2) It keeps you from getting as much done. Clock watching slows down progress dramatically.
Jesus intends for us to keep our focus on the task at hand. He does not want a bunch of clock watchers saying, “I wonder when Jesus will be back?” This hinders the job we have been given to do. It is enough that we know he is coming back. We need not know when.
Spending a lot of time focusing on end times and prophecy, while neglecting salvation, holiness, and discipleship is not keeping our eye on the ball. This is exactly why I have not yet preached through the Book of Revelation. Most people just want to study revelation, because it is a novelty. They want to focus on end times prophecy, because it seems more exciting than holiness and righteousness before God.
Have you ever been in Savannah, Jacksonville, Atlanta or some other big city when there was an accident. I was coming back from class in Atlanta when I came across a traffic jam. There had been an accident. Here was the funny part. When I got up even with the accident, I realized that it was the wreck that was causing the traffic jam but it was the drivers trying to see the wreck. As people drove by, they would attempt to view the wreck. This caused them to slow down which made the traffic jam worse. In other words, progress was greatly hindered because people were focusing on the wreck instead of the task at hand, which was to drive their cars.
Too many Christians are looking for the secrets to the Christian life, when it isn’t a secret. Love God and obey Him. That is not a secret.
Too many churches are focused on better music, better programs and better events and miss the call of exalting Christ, equipping the believers for ministry and evangelizing the lost.
Jesus has given the church instruction on how we are to carry out missions. Here is God’s plan for missions and evangelism within the church. This is the way God has designed it.
In Aug. 1993, I preached in the first service of Living Hope Baptist Church. It was a brand new church plant in the Byron and Crawford County area of Georgia – that is sort of between Macon and Warner Robins but slightly west.
We had 62 people at that service. In that first year, we saw more than 20 people saved and baptized. But…do you know that the plan for that church began long before Aug 1993?
It began by visiting almost every home in about a 5 miles radius of the ultimate location of the church. Doors were knocked on and people were told that a church was starting.
Then, two homes in two different communities – about 4 miles apart – were found who would allow a Bible study in each of their homes. We started a Bible study geared for families called Parenting by Grace. We arranged childcare for each Bible study.
After several months in those Bible studies, we found a location to have our Sunday worship services. We then spent months canvassing all those same homes again with publicity about our first worship service. We spent many hours preparing the place where we would meet. Finally, with Elissa 8 ½ months pregnant with Savannah, our first child, we launched that first service.
I pastored that church for 7 years after. It still continues to minister in that area with a pastor who is a dear friend of mine. The planting of that fellowship was not haphazard but followed the plan laid out in Acts 1.8. We began at the base level, began to extend out, and then grew from there. This is the Jesus Plan of Missions.