40 DAYS OF REACHING CITIES & COMMUNITIES FOR CHRIST: DAY 4 – INTRODUCTION PART 3
But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’ Acts 26:16-18 (NKJV)
(Ed’s story continues from yesterday)
The day they met with the pastors to officially suggest the outline for “Plan Resistencia.” The presence of God was there. Intense and extensive prayer had preceded our gathering.
Ed spoke from 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (NIV). He reached the pinnacle of my message when he described my dream about an entire city hearing the gospel. He spoke about 500 neighborhood prayer cells interceding for each section of the city; about celebrations of unity when different congregations in the city would come together to minister to the needs of the lost; about the day when every home in the city would be visited and every inhabitant would hear God’s voice; about thousands of sinners saved by, and washed in, the blood of Jesus; of angels celebrating nonstop because sinners, lots of them, were coming to Christ day after day.
At that moment, the pastors—all of them—stood up and began to clap enthusiastically. A spontaneous explosion of joy, orchestrated by the Holy Spirit, had occurred. They were clapping for the Chief Shepherd, Jesus. In typical Acts 2:17 fashion, the old pastors saw it through the lens of their dreams, and the young ones through their visions. All of a sudden, God had spoken and everybody knew that He was ready to pour out His Spirit upon Resistencia. It was a sacred time. That was the day “Plan Resistencia” was born.
Actually, “Plan Resistencia” is an acknowledgment of God’s love for the lost in the city and the Church’s commitment to the biblical principles of unity, holiness and prayer. It was appropriate that the pastors responded through such a spontaneous outburst of joy in the Spirit. Like young couples on their wedding day, they knew nothing about the details of the future, but they were committed to God and to each other for the sake of His Church and the lost in the city. (Read more about Ed’s story on tomorrow’s devotion.)
The other part of the message is evangelism. There is an equally intense, God-given, Holy Spirit-inspired sense of urgency to fulfill the Great Commission. All over the world there is a compelling sense of urgency to take the gospel to every person on the face of the earth. The emphasis is through prayer. And this is where these two parts come together in a unified message prayer and evangelism. The Church has been called to prayer, repentance and reconciliation so that it will be able to fulfill its God-given mandate to pray and share the gospel so that every person can come to the saving knowledge of the truth. In this call, we see prayer and evangelism combined in an attempt to emulate the Early Church example of sharing the gospel with their generation. The Holy Spirit declares in Acts 19:10, “All who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.” The early church succeeded in taking the gospel of Christ to everyone in those multicultural cities scattered all over Asia.
The Early Church took the gospel from the Upper Room to every living room in Asia Minor in a very short period of time. Prayer and evangelism resulted in the evangelization of entire cities and the growth of the Church.
During the next 40 days, we will discuss principles that the Early Church discovered and used with a high degree of success. They used prayer as the main vehicle to take the gospel to every person. They understood that the heavenly places are the battleground where the Church must face and defeat the forces of evil. They understood spiritual strongholds—Satan’s secret weapon—and how to pull them down so that the Church can fulfill its worldwide mission. They exercised the spiritual authority given to them in the area of prayer and intercession. We pray that as you follow the principles, the two-part message of prayer and evangelism will become clear to you. And as you begin to put them into practice, you will perfect them further so that you, and those who will eventually learn from you, will obtain even greater results.
The five principles of reaching cities and communities for Christ continue:
5. Praying with authority
Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:18-20 (NKJV)
Rev. Obadiah Swen
Pastor, BWOC-City of Glory
APPLICATION AND PRAYER FOR TODAY
1. Why is evangelism so vital to the advancement of the kingdom of God?
2. How did the Early Church reach their cities and communities for Christ?
3. Pray for Bishop Darlingston and Lady Chrys Johnson for increased anointing, wisdom, strength, good health, protection, increased influence, favor and growth in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
4. Pray that BWOMI will continue to be a vehicle for the expansion of God’s Kingdom in ever nation, tribe, tongue and people’s group so that all people will come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
5. “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14