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Celebration of reconciliation

By Peter Kuzmic

The 20th century is described by some religious historians as the Pentecostal century. From small and humble beginnings at Azusa Street in Los Angeles, and Topeka, Kan., the full gospel has encompassed the globe. Spirit-filled people understood the purpose of Acts 1:8 was world evangelization.

So we celebrate the Pentecostal century, but we don’t celebrate the conclusion of it. Because God has greater things for His church. Only the gospel of Jesus Christ has the power to transform individuals and families and communities and social relations and nations.

God has called His church not just to collect sinners and preserve them for heaven; the Church is God’s missionary community sent into this world as His transformative agency. He has no other redeeming agency in our world but His redeemed people. The Assemblies of God has been called and empowered by the Holy Spirit to confront the culture of death and the crises around the world.

This gospel demands our total loyalty. We can be instruments of reconciliation. Under God, we can replace hatred with love and revenge with forgiveness. The gospel makes it possible through us for human fears to be diminished and human hopes to be enlarged.

Friends, don’t keep this gospel locked up in our Assemblies of God churches. The church of Jesus Christ does not exist for itself; it exists for others. We are God’s servants in the world, the world for which Jesus died. We are God’s community moving to an eternal city. But there are still 2 billion people who have not heard the saving name of Jesus.

Anointed by the Holy Spirit, some of my students risked their lives to take medicine and food into a city when no one else could get in. When the town finally opened up, the mayor gave us a facility in the center of town to serve the needy. He told this Pentecostal preacher: "Distribute your literature, and please feel free to start a church. We trust you."

I asked, "Why do you trust us?"

He said, "We trust you because you are credible, because you became vulnerable with us."

I shared with him the story of the most credible Person who ever walked on planet Earth. Jesus is the most credible person because He became the most vulnerable when He went to the cross for the salvation of mankind.

This is our message for our broken world. Let us share it boldly.


Peter Kuzmic, Ph.D., an Assemblies of God missionary, is cofounder and director of the Biblical Theological Institute of Croatia.

 

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