The spreading flame

You may have read the book or seen the movie Alice in Wonderland. There’s a scene in which a hookah-smoking caterpillar asks Alice the question, “Who are you?”. Given what’s happened to Alice in the story so far, she finds it difficult to answer the caterpillar’s question, “I hardly know, Sir, just at present”.

When we get asked the caterpillar’s question, we’re likely to respond by giving our name, maybe our profession, or nationality, or family background. What about if that question was asked of our church community: “Who are we?”. Answering this question helps us to clarify our purpose.

The start of a new academic year is also the start of a new ministry year at St Andrew’s. Our Growth Groups, Kidzone, and Youth ministries all resume after the summer break, and we welcome lots of new people. Therefore, it’s a good time to ask those questions, “Who are we? What’s St Andrew’s all about? What’s our purpose in meeting together?”.

We begin to get an answer to these questions when we look at the Book of Acts. This book is all about the proclamation of the gospel and the growth of the early church. At the very start, the risen Jesus says to his disciples, “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

We share the gospel to the community around us.

Jesus’ command to his disciples is also his command to us. We share the gospel to the community around us. But the gospel declared must also be the gospel demonstrated. We show what we believe by living transformed lives. And that shapes everything about our church life together. Christian community is meant to show the watching world the life changing power of the gospel.

Over the next few months in our sermon series, we’re going to continue in our study of the Book of Acts that we’ve been doing over the last few years. In this series, we’ll be looking at Paul’s missionary journeys in Acts 13-20. We’ve called this series, “The spreading flame”, as we look at how the news of Jesus was shared by his followers to the world around them. Like a spark that ignites a forest fire, the gospel spread as Jesus’ followers were obedient to his command to be his witnesses.

If St Andrew’s is your church community, you’re also called upon to be part of this spreading flame. Jesus uses his people to proclaim his gospel. That includes you. It includes you as we gather at church on a Sunday and as we scatter around our city during the week. Please prayerfully consider how you can invite people to church, or Kidzone, or Youth, or Silverzone on a Sunday. But also prayerfully consider how you can spread the flame in your home, your workplace, and amongst your friends and connections.

Be part of our mission as we seek to know Jesus and make him known.