…You will tell people about me everywhere…to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
When man was first created, he was given a command intended for each succeeding generation. Men were to be fruitful and multiply and, while filling the earth, subdue it to the service of God (Genesis 1:28).
After mankind’s depravity pushed God to destroy them with a cataclysmic flood, He reiterated to Noah His wish for us to fill the planet in Genesis 9:1. Instead, man decided in Genesis 11:4 to build a city and a tower whose top would reach the sky so that they would not be scattered over the whole earth. Contradicting God’s command, they established their own rules and attempted to “reach the heavens” with their own works. They valued reputation more than obedience.
Maybe they thought God would feel lucky to have such enterprising humans associate themselves with Him. Needless to say, the Lord was less than pleased and found it necessary to afflict them with many different languages in order to confuse all the workers and bring this great work to a halt.
Jesus also told His disciples that they were to reproduce themselves “in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). But being human and naturally stiff necked, they followed part of His wishes by having a considerable number of spiritual children (Acts 2:4) but chose to remain in Jerusalem and even began developing a rigid hierarchy (Acts 6:2-3). God sent a persecution in Acts 8 in order to enforce His desire but He still had to give Peter another strong push to accept non-Jews (Acts 10). The disciples still had strong misgivings about spreading into the Gentile world (Acts 11:1-2) and even with more persecution to spread them further (Acts 11:19), most still tried to stick with their own people wherever they went.
This command still applies to Christians today. We are to be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth with our own kind. We have the example of our Lord who chose to associate with publicans and prostitutes, the low class and the general scum. We, however, choose to build big beautiful buildings instead of sending our own out into the world. We choose programs over missions and build ever larger religious towers, lest our work get scattered, largely out of fear of losing reputation.
Now I have nothing against the Holy Spirit working greatly. But let me ask you this - when we pastors go to conferences, do we hear from missionaries or church planters? No, we are taught by CEOs of megachurches. We’re supposed to be impressed by the numbers and the programs… but you know, I wonder if the people in the town of Babel tried to impress others with the number of bricks or the beauty of their tower?
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