Taking Territory: Think global act local
God is always encouraging His people who are His church to go out and do the work of expanding His Kingdom. When we look in the word, we always see the Lord speaking about affecting more people: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Acts 1:8 NLT.
God is always encouraging, prodding, and in some cases, thrusting His church out to do the work of the expansion of the Kingdom. From this, we can conclude that non-growth displeases God and that his focus is on disciples, not just decisions.
God wants the number of people in His Kingdom to grow. This is seen in the first-century church. When the Jerusalem church was settling into their routine, getting comfortable with only Jerusalem knowing the gospel and not expanding according to God's plan, He allowed persecution to break out against the church so that they would be scattered everywhere and spread the gospel.
"On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria ... . Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went." Acts 8:1, 4 NIV. God wants to use you to reach the people around you for His sake.
While numerical growth of His church is a priority with God, His focus is on disciples, not just decisions. God wants His house full, but He wants it full of active, faithful, growing, and reproducing followers of Jesus Christ. "I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 28:18-20 NLT. So how do we respond to this call?
One of the things that keeps us from sharing Christ with others is that we feel unprepared. But if we want to be effective in reaching our friends, family, and associates, there are four steps that we can take:
1 Believe God wants to save everyone.
We cannot afford to make decisions about people's eternity based on external factors. We have to, by faith, believe that God wants all of them to be saved. Jesus said: "There is joy in the presence of God's angels when even one sinner repents." Luke 15:10 NLT. God wants to save everyone, and He has promised that He will use us to reach this nation. We need to start looking at people through God's eyes.
2 Ask God to use me to reach my family and friends.
God is looking to use you and me to reach our friends and family, and we need to be actively available to help them. We need to exercise our faith to get our friends in the presence of God for Him to save them. One way we exercise our faith is through prayer, lifting their names up to God. The scripture states: "Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don't believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don't understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God." 2 Corinthians 4:4 NLT. So we have to stand up for our friends.
3 Trust God to bring the right moment to share.
Making the most of the right timing from God starts with me. It starts with me living right before God and man, letting people know that I am a Christian by the quality of my life. When you are a Christian, people look to you to be the example. "Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone." Colossians 4:5-6 NLT. When we do this, those around us recognise that they can trust us, and trust opens the way for deep conversation. We need to pray for those times.
4 Be ready to share my faith.
At the basic level, God is calling us to be His witnesses. He is calling us to tell others about what He has done for us. You have a message, and it doesn't need to be an expert message. It only needs to be what Jesus has done in your life and sometimes, it is just the message that your friend needs to hear. The Apostle Paul said, "I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow." 1 Corinthians 3:6 NLT.
We are part of the chain reaction in a person's life. Gradually, God is breaking through to this person, one input at a time - a prayer here, a testimony there. Until God breaks through into that life, we must be faithful to the part that we have to play. Step out in faith and let God work through you.