“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” Matthew 25:35-40
Matthew 26 describes what happens towards the end of Jesus’ life. Only a couple of chapters are left before the gospel is completed. Jesus had only a few days left to live, or maybe just a few hours, before He would go to the cross.
And what was Jesus doing? With the little time He had left, He could have written a great doctrine, preached a farewell sermon, finished a book, or maybe given his disciples a final parting word. But the bible says that Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper. Jesus sat down to share a meal with Simon, who had sores all over his body and shedding skin.
We serve a God who showed us how to put Himself in other people’s world. He always looked for ways to serve others. He was so incredibly selfless in all that He did, and never loved Himself more than He loved those around Him. If you look throughout the gospels, you can see that Jesus spent a good chunk of His time with sinners, with the poor and needy, with the tax collectors, … .
When we consider Jesus’ teaching on who will inherit a place in the Kingdom of God (Matt.25:31-46), we see that it is reserved for those who feed the hungry, welcome strangers, clothe the naked, and visit the prisoners. For Jesus, caring for the people around us is the same as caring for him.
We want to follow into Jesus’ footstep and be a church that is active. We don’t want to get comfortable inside the church walls, we want to reach out to the community that we’re a part of and see revival and change in our city!
We realise that there is no shortcut to revival. It takes prayer and a lot of determined people in the trenches getting the job done day after day. We can have a great move of God in a church service, but we cannot declare it revival unless real change occurs in our world. Unless our changed hearts go out there and bring revival to the streets.
Real revival comes when the crime rate drops, communities are changed for the better, people in the community flock to church, and the spiritual atmosphere in the area changes in a positive way. True revival is when women in the sex industry repent and find a new family to be a part of, when the homeless are off the streets and found both a physical home and a spiritual one, when our church buildings are too small and we have to start having services outside.
Revival came in the book of Acts, but there was tremendous dedication in the hearts of the apostles who followed that filling of the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room. After being filled with the Holy Spirit, the men went everywhere, starting churches and ministries, and they changed the world. They gave of themselves all they had.
That’s what it will take to change cities: a burning desire in leaders to give of themselves, to give their lives for the welfare of a community or a city.
We want to be a church that does something. A church that doesn’t sit on the sidelines, but plows away and brings the Kingdom of Heaven to earth. We do that through setting up programs for families, street ministry and door-to-door ministry, and many other things that come up throughout the week.
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