Opening Up Ourselves to More of Christ by Opening Up to Each Other More About Christ
[Editor’s Note: When others share Christ with us, it helps us to see more of Christ than we have seen so far. This blog post explains how a modern day event mirrors one we read about in the book of Acts.]
Have you ever wanted to travel back through time to visit a scene from the book of Acts just to find out what it was really like to experience the excitement of the birth of the Church and the drama of its growing pains?
I believe that in a very real sense at a Christ Talks event anyone can! It’s like taking a day to step back into the book of Acts.
That’s what we discovered at the gathering in Youngstown, Ohio, in February. That’s what we’re getting ready to enjoy next week on Saturday, April 23, in State College, PA. For those of you who are close enough to join us, please do!
I want to tell you how this works because I’m convinced you can begin to experience the same phenomenon right where you live, anytime, including every Sunday morning.
The Day They Opened Up in Jerusalem
If I were to pick one New Testament event mimicked by the Christ Talks approach, it would be the meeting of the Council at Jerusalem recounted in Acts 15. Consider these excerpts from Luke’s report of that gathering:
“ . . . they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the believers very glad. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them . . . After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them . . . The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. When they finished, James spoke up . . . Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided . . . It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us . . . ”
When this convocation of Church leaders gathered in the Holy City to weigh the future shape and approach of Christ’s mission to the Gentiles, they did a lot of listening—listening to each other.
This appears to have been their primary strategy for discovering what their Redeemer, dwelling in their midst through the Holy Spirit, expected of them. And as a result, they came away from the meeting with sufficient consensus that they confidently placed their conclusions in a summary document that was sent to all the newly planted congregations.
Of particular interest is what they testified concerning the radical steps they were about to take—the unprecedented initiatives that would open the door for the Gospel to go forth to all nations and thus, 2000 years later, reach even us. They wrote “it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us [emphasis added].”
In other words, through their hours of deliberations—as they took turns to speak to one another about how each viewed the person of God’s Son, reported how he was working among them and through them, and discussed what he was up to and where he was headed in accord with the Scriptures—they felt they had heard from Jesus directly.
They concluded, that by his Spirit, Jesus had revealed to them more of himself along with his solution for the controversy that faced the fledgling Church, and the way he wanted them to proceed to implement the plans he had for them to impact the world.
Accordingly, from this one event the whole course of history was redirected, with eternal ramifications.
Christ Revealed Among Believers
Just as in Acts 15 the Spirit revealed the heart of Christ to that gathering of believers by speaking through individual and diverse reports about his manifestations over previous months, the same can happen among believers today—anywhere, anytime.
For example, to the seven churches in Revelation comes one basic exhortation from our Lord Jesus: “Let him who has ears to hear, hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.” Why? Because the Spirit was speaking to each congregation fresh insights into the person and purposes of Jesus through messengers sent by Jesus.
And he is alive and reigning and ready to do the same with any of God’s people today.
This is what happens at Christ Talks events—like the one scheduled for this coming April 23 in State College, PA, as a diversity of fellow believers share an experience none will soon forget—surely having significant impact on every life
But truthfully, it should happen every time believers come together.
Every Sunday, for example, as Christians gather to worship, one of our first assignments should be to practice together what I like to call the “strategy of silence”—to listen to the Head of the Church by listening to what each of us has to share about how much more of Christ’s goodness and grandness, his greatness and glory, his great love and mercy and grace, we have recently discovered in our personal walks with him.
We open up to more of him when we open up to each other to talk about him a whole lot more.
Then we get to sit back and marvel at how he takes it from there, using our “reports” to change our vision of him, our passion for him, and our obedience to him.
Moving Toward a Christ Awakening
As we see in Acts 15, when fresh insights from the Lord Jesus Christ are shared with one another—when they are pondered, discussed, processed, blended, synthesized, reconfirmed, and wholeheartedly embraced—Christ himself breaks through. It’s a Christ Awakening!
Previous perspectives on Christ get turned upside down. Former commitments to Jesus get resuscitated and impassioned. Persistent hindrances in our pursuit of Christ get exposed and replaced.
And all of this happens as we open up more to each other about Christ.
Take a few minutes to see what I mean by viewing two of the eight-minute Christ Talks from our ethnically and denominationally diverse gathering in Youngstown, Ohio. See if Jesus doesn’t introduce you to himself in new ways through each one!
Then imagine your very own Christ Talks event—six hours set aside in your church or in your community of churches for hearing such reports from fellow believers—and then discussing them, praying over them, and worshipping God because of them.
I believe you will experience in the midst of it all how Jesus knits your hearts together by knitting you to himself like never before.
Click here to find out how to get started.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Bryant
Known as a proclaimer of Christ and Messenger of Hope, David Bryant is the founder and president of Proclaim Hope!, a ministry whose goal is to serve a nationwide Christ Awakening. David is the author of five books, including Christ Is ALL! Join in the Joyful Awakening to the Supremacy of God’s Son.