by Terry J. Hallock

Hearing the Cries
Terry J. Hallock
Acts 16:6-16
March 16, 1997

Today's Scripture, which describes the beginning of Paul's second missionary journey gives yet another glimpse of how the first century Church saw its purpose, set its priorities and made its decisions.

(Read Acts 16:6-16)

A voice the Church had never heard cried out from a place the Church had never been, "Help us!" Without knowing where they were going, whom they would meet, or what it might cost them, Jesus' Church heard and Jesus' Church went.

Which brings me to a simple prayer entitled "Listening with Jesus". It says, "Lord, I long to be part of a caring church family, but often I'm not sensitive to what people are really saying. Please teach me to listen with your ears of compassion. I pray for (fill in someone's name in need). Lord; help me respond with a heart that cares the way you do. Amen."

The picture of God's first century Church family and that simple prayer seeking Jesus' sensitive heart teach us a singular truth about what we're to be doing and how we're to be doing it. The only purpose for our existence is to be a people willing to hear the cries of a lost world and the only way we can fulfill that purpose is to hear with Jesus' ears and feel with Jesus' heart.

For Paul, Barnabas, Timothy, Silas, Luke and every other member of that early Christian family, serving a broken world for Jesus was their ultimate purpose and submission to the Lordship of His Spirit was their ultimate guide. They did nothing unless it glorified the name of Jesus and unless the Spirit of Jesus anointed it. Acts tells us they didn't enter Asia or Bythinia because their obedience to the Spirit kept them from doing so, but they went to Macedonia because Jesus urged them to. They listened. He spoke. They went. Jesus wasn't simply one part of their life. He was all of their life! His Spirit wasn't just one of their guides. He was their only guide!

That singular reason for the existence o ...

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