Paul and Sandra Burbidge and two of their children, Adam and Natalie, were guests at Bethany Baptist Church, Sunday. The Burbidges are Canadians who are being sent out from Chegoggin Baptist Church of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia to share their burden for lost souls in Eastern Canada and their desire to plant churches in that area.
Adam, Sandra, and Natalie sang special songs with Adam accompanying them on a guitar. Adam also sang one song by himself and played some on a banjo between services. This music ability will be helpful when they begin their work of church planting.
The secularization of society in Canada has resulted in a generation with no knowledge of the consequences of sin. They do what is right in their own sight and do not know that there is a time coming when they must stand in judgment to give an account for their sins. They may have sensed that there is a God, but they have not learned about the coming wrath of God. They simply do not know that to die without accepting Jesus Christ is to spend an eternity in hell.
Paul brought a message from Acts 13:1-5. This tells about how the certain prophets and teachers in the church at Antioch were fasting as they ministered to the Lord and the Holy Spirit said, “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.” So they moved out to the island of Cyprus and on to cities in Asia minor. This was in obedience of the Great Commission given by Jesus after his resurrection.
This was about eleven years after the great commission had been given. In that eleven years the gospel was limited primarily to Jews in the Middle East. The church had not fulfilled the command to go to the uttermost part of the earth.
During this time and even to the end of the book of Acts, Jewish Christians were having a problem about going to the Gentiles. There were many debates concerning the inclusions of Gentiles. Peter had some trouble for going to the home of Cornelius a centurion of the Italian band. Peter had received a vision from God telling him, “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” And that he should go with the men. Peter came to believe from that experience that the gospel was also to go to the Gentiles. When he gave that testimony to the Apostles and brethren in Jerusalem, they were pleased to hear this. Many of Jesus disciples did go out to the “uttermost parts.” By 63 AD the gospel had gone as far as Wales and Thomas is said to have died in India.
A study of Acts 13 can give insight into how to fulfill the great Commission today. It is still the responsibility of individuals in local churches to take out or send out the gospel. Doing service to God is still the focus. Preaching and teaching the gospel is the method. You have open the Word of God and preach about sin, judgment, and the wrath of God in order to get to the message of the love of God as found in the crucifixion, death, and burial of Jesus Christ. It is by the preaching of the Word of God and the conviction by the Holy Spirit that people will learn that they need a Saviour. The world needs to hear the whole council of God and churches have been given the charge to “Go out into all the world,” to places both near and to the uttermost.