Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Global Gospel Growth

When you think of the church, what comes to mind? Chances are, if you're not getting caught up in the trappings of stained glass windows, musty hymnbooks and blokes in robes, then you'll think of a local church. That small gathering of Christians you meet with regularly.

It's so easy to focus only on the local church, it's issues and problems, personalities and possibilities, buildings and budgets. It is, after all, how we do church. For many, it may be the only experience of church - local, small, and sometimes challenging.

Imagine that you're a newly converted Christian in the city of Colossae. You've heard the good news about Jesus and responded in faith. You have love for your fellow Christians, and you're enjoying meeting with them and learning more about Jesus. But in terms of the city, you're a small minority. People don't like you coming to faith, there are opponents ranged against you, the possibility of persecution. You're likely to feel small, threatened, and in a difficult position. Was your conversion real after all? Perhaps it's just a phase or a fad you're going through and you'll soon come to your senses.

What Paul says next in his letter to the Colossian Christians will continue to give them encouragement and boldness. Not only that Paul, the great apostle has heard of them, but that they're not alone in their experience. They're not alone in their faith:

the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing - as it also does among you (Col 1:6)

The church is bigger than the fifty or hundred that you're regularly meeting with in your local parish church! You're not the only one to be coming to faith in Jesus! Rather, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing, all across the world.
203/365:2010 Globe

How aware are we of the growth of the gospel? Do we rejoice at the news of many millions coming to faith all over the world? Do we recognise them as our brothers and sisters, united in the family of God, through the Lord Jesus?

God's gospel is growing globally, so that the vision John saw of a crowd that no one could number from every tribe and language and nation, will be achieved. Let's keep on praying for the mission throughout the world; give and help and support those labouring across the world; and keep doing your bit where you are - wherever you are - to ensure continued gospel growth. To God be the glory!

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