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A couple of weeks ago, I drove to Ohio for a friend’s funeral.
The last time I had seen his oldest son, he was a little toddler in diapers.
Now, he’s taller than me with a big-old mountain man beard and a child of his own.
Kids grow up, don’t they?
I know that’s not exactly the most profound thing I’ve ever said, but it’s true.
Can you imagine what would happen if they didn’t?
Actually, there are a handful of people in the world who really never do grow up.
TLC did a show on them a few years back called “My 40-year old child.”
At the time, there was a 40-year old Australian named Nicky Freeman who was developmentally no different than a 10-year old.
And there’s a 10-year old girl from Montana named Gabby Williams.
She weighs around 11 pounds and hasn’t developed much beyond a newborn in any way.
The condition they have is so rare that doctors don’t even have a name for it.
Peter Pan might be a fun fantasy—but it wouldn’t be if it was real, would it?
Babies are supposed to grow into toddlers.
Toddlers are supposed to grow into pre-schoolers.
Pre-schoolers are supposed to grow into school-age kids.
As much as it terrifies parents, school-age kids are supposed to grow into teenagers.
And teenagers are supposed to grow into adults.
That’s what’s supposed to happen.
Anything that gets in the way of that development is abnormal—and everybody knows it.
A 10-year old in diapers with a baby bottle is not normal.
A 40-year old who looks and acts like a 10-year old child isn’t normal.
So why in the world would we think it’s normal for a person who has been a believer for 5 or 10 or 50 years to have never developed beyond a new believer?
That concept should be as foreign and freaky to us as a 10-year old newborn or a 40-year old child.
But it’s not, is it?
As a matter of fact, it’s so common that it doesn’t even register with us—much less shock us.
Last week when we started our study of the book of Acts, we started looking at Luke’s introduction to the book.
That introduction covers the first 11 verses of chapter 1.
Last week we got through verses 1-7 and this week we’ll finish up the introduction.
We split it up that way because in the first seven verses, Luke reflects on all the things that Jesus BEGAN to do and teach.
All those things are the beginnings of our salvation.
But verses 8-11—and really the rest of the book—are talking about what happens after we’re saved.
In other words—what happens beyond the beginnings of our salvation?
In John 3, Jesus compares salvation to being born again.
But newborns aren’t supposed to stay that way, are they?
So new believers are expected to grow.
We can’t stay in the beginnings of our faith forever.
The writer of Hebrews tells us that we need to get off the bottle and start eating solid food.
And then he says this in 6:1, “Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity.”
If Jesus has saved you, that’s wonderful!
You have been born again!
But newborns grow.
You have been given a great beginning.
But we’re called to go beyond beginnings.
Going beyond beginnings means that we are driven by the need.
Look at verse 8:
ACTS 1:8
Last week, we spent the first six verses reflecting on the cross, the resurrection, the promise of the Holy Spirt, and the hope of Jesus’ return.
In other words, we looked at all the things that are ours from the moment of salvation.
So I want you to pay particular attention to the way verse 8 starts.
It starts with a “but”.
It’s the same word the infomercial pitchmen use when they’re selling stuff on TV—“but wait!
There’s more!” There’s more to our salvation than just getting saved, isn’t there?
As a matter of fact, we’re called to go beyond the beginnings of just /learning/ everything that Jesus did and taught.
We’re called to /become witnesses/ to everything He did and taught.
Once we’re saved, we become driven by the same need that drove Jesus.
And what drove Him?
In Luke 19:10, Jesus said, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Jesus came to seek and to save lost people.
If you’re saved, then that means He sought you and He saved you.
And it also means He’s calling you to do the same thing with other people.
When He saves us, Jesus calls us to seek lost people—not run from them.
Not hide from them.
Not fear them.
Not bash them.
He calls us to seek them.
Because that’s the only way that we can save them.
Jesus provided the means of salvation when He died on the cross and rose again.
And He makes that provision available to ALL who will believe.
But in Romans 10, the Bible makes it clear that no one will believe unless somebody tells them the gospel.
No one will believe unless somebody witnesses to them.
And listen to me—that’s not something you pay me to do for you.
God called me to this church—not so that I would be your witnesser-in-chief—but so that I would train all of you to be the witnesses that Jesus saved each of us to be.
Because the need is so great that all of us had better be on mission.
Jesus saved you to be his witness in your Jerusalem.
That’s your local area—the place you work, your school, your neighborhood, your community.
Jesus also saved you to be his witness in your Judea.
That’s a little bit wider area than your regular circle.
It’s your community, your town, your county, even your region.
Jesus also saved you to be his witness in your Samaria.
That one’s a little bit tougher.
Because that one requires you to step way out of your comfort zone.
Your Samaria is all those people around you who don’t look like you or talk like you or act like you.
It’s someone of a different ethnicity than you.
It’s someone of a different socio-economic status than you.
It’s someone who’s tatted up from head to toe.
It’s someone who is living in sexual sin or gender confusion.
Being a witness in your Samaria is going to make you uncomfortable.
But the same grace that saved you is the same grace that will save anybody.
Jesus also saved you to be a witness to the end of the earth.
That means you need to pray for global missionaries.
It means you need to give to support global missionaries.
And it means that you need to be willing to become a global missionary—or encourage your kids or grandkids to become global missionaries.
Why is it so important?
Because millions and millions of people are dying and going to hell every day.
3.1 billion people live in places that have been completely unreached with the gospel.
And, statistically speaking, 6 out of 10 of your neighbors are unchurched.
Probably closer to 80% don’t have a saving relationship with Jesus.
The need is great.
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