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God’s not-so-secret agents!

June 16, 2017 No Comment
Rev. Dr. Glenn E. Schaeffer

Rev. Dr. Glenn E. Schaeffer

by Glenn E. Schaeffer

There was nothing secretive about Pentecost. Sounds of violent wind filled the house—a sign that the Spirit of the Lord was among them. Visible flames of fire rested on their heads fulfilling John the Baptist’s prophecy that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. Inspiring speech flowed from the lips of Jesus’ followers as they began to speak in a variety of foreign languages.

These Spirit-filled followers spilled out into the streets of Jerusalem! There was such a ruckus that God-fearing Jews in the city for the Festival of Pentecost were drawn to the commotion. They were bewildered—perplexed—amazed by what they saw and heard (Acts 2:5-13). When questioned what was happening, St. Peter and the Eleven didn’t play coy; they didn’t say rather mischievously, “We’re secret agents.” And when the crowd pushed for an explanation Jesus’ followers didn’t refuse to tell them for Whom they worked.

In fact, St. Peter, one of those formerly cowering disciples, stands up in their midst and proclaims a powerful Christ-centred message. St. Peter says, “These men are not drunk as you suppose. What you see unfolding before your very eyes is the fulfilment of an Old Testament prophesy from the prophet Joel.”

In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your young men will see visions,
    your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
        and they will prophesy. (Acts 2:17-18)
And, all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved. (v.21)

We live in the age of which Joel prophesied—when the Spirit of the Lord is poured out on people; when sons and daughters, young and old proclaim the Good News of Jesus!

For many of us, our “Pentecost experience” occurred when we were baptized in the name of the triune God. As a result, we are God’s Not-So-Secret Agents! We are “the salt of the earth.” We are the “light of the world.” We are like “a city on a hill that can’t be hidden.” We serve the hungry, the thirsty, and the stranger. We clothe the poor, visit the imprisoned, and minister to the sick. We possess beautiful feet as we bring good news to the world!

Sometimes being a Not-So-Secret Agent calls for personal sacrifice. The following report comes from Dr. Jim who works with The Voice of the Martyrs. He recounts, in a 2014 article:

One brother, Helal Saber, had been badly burned. He was walking down the street with his fiancée when a group of Muslims stopped him and asked one simple question. “Are you a Muslim or a Christian?” With attacks going on throughout the neighbourhood, surely Helal must have known what might be in store for anyone with the “wrong” answer. But he bravely answered, “I am a Christian,” and refused to deny Christ. The men doused him with gasoline and set him alight. Helal was burned on over 85 percent of his body, and though I planned to see him during my trip, he went to be with the Lord before I arrived.

That’s an extraordinary example of being one of God’s Not-So-Secret Agents. God-willing none of us will undergo a similar experience. But, whether we are an introvert or an extrovert, we are called to be God’s Not-So-Secret Agents. St. Paul describes in Romans 12:4-18, in very practical terms, how we live as God’s Not-So-Secret Agents. You don’t have to be an extroverted person (or some super Christian) to live as St. Paul describes. Truth be told, introverts make great evangelists! Often it’s the simplest, unnoticed acts that have the most profound effect on the lives of others.

Whether we are an introvert or an extrovert, we are called to be God’s Not-So-Secret Agents.

So, we are God’s Not-So-Secret Agents! Being enlivened—being renewed, being revitalized—by the Holy Spirit, we live for our Savior and we speak of our Saviour! Why? So that many more people may call on the name of the Lord and be saved.

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Rev. Dr. Glenn E. Schaeffer is President of the Alberta-British Columbia District of Lutheran Church–Canada.