During the online Global Chinese Mission Convention 2021, which took place in late December 2021, Reverend Liu Tong urged Chinese believers to imitate the mission of early churches under the pandemic.
Organized by the Ambassador For Christ, the conference was sponsored by the partner churches in Texas, the United States, aiming to become a catalyst for the completion of the Great Commission.
On the morning of December 29, 2021, Rev. Liu, senior pastor of the River of Life Christian Church in Silicon Valley, the United States, preached a sermon entitled "Imitate the Missionary Work of the Early Church".
The American Chinese pastor said, “The COVID-19 outbreak has brought our missionary work into a very difficult situation. However, the Bible tells us very clearly that we must preach the gospel in season and out of season. Facing an environment full of persecution and resistance, the early church was able to turn a generation around, becoming a missionary church. But how did they do it?"
Based on Acts 2:42-47, the pastor explored several aspects of missionary work.
Liu said, "The original meaning of 'Christian' is little Christ. Others thought that early church Christians spoke, acted, and even walked like Jesus. So they were just called 'little Christ'.
"In the early church, they lived such a good life. Seeing the testimony of their lives, other people were influenced by them."
"When is the power of the water in this dam released? It is when the gate of the sluice is opened, as the water rushing out of the sluice carries a huge amount of energy. Christ is powerful in our lives, but what is the floodgate of heaven? It is our obedience to God. We can see that obeying God’s words can release great power, which can change our lives,” he added.
As an evangelistic church, the main reason why the early church grew so fast was that laypeople spread the gospel wherever they went.
The senior pastor stated, "One of the most important things that churches need to do today is to promote the evangelism of the laity, who can use their expertise, profession, and preferences to spread the gospel to the end of the earth."
"It is not enough to rely on pastors to change the world, because there are seven mountains of societal influence, including government, business, arts & entertainment, media, education, family, and religion which is only one of them. We need people from all walks of life, who excel in their companies, to bring the Christian faith into the workplace to change the world.”
Rev. Liu mentioned that a short-term missionary team consisting of five IT engineers was sent to Cameroon in Africa to help a local missionary organization set up a wireless network, so the local missionaries no longer had to travel far to access Internet cafes. In Africa, they also conducted solar energy projects, using solar panels and batteries eliminated from cars to build a simple energy storage system. Every time they arrived at a village, they first gave the solar power system to the village chief, who used to have to go far to charge his mobile phone before, as the village had no electricity. Then when they asked him if they could preach the gospel there, he was very happy to let them build a church. And the second system was installed in the church, as villagers would flock to have a look at lights that were turned on in the church at night. So they took this opportunity to preach the gospel to them.
The early church was also the church of prayer. The pastor said, "Prayer is the secret to victory in our spiritual battle. Thinking ourselves as common folk, we don't know that God is pleased to hear the prayers of ordinary people."
The pastor shared that the gospel of Jesus Christ was definitely not just the salvation of the spirit, but the complete salvation of the body, soul, and spirit. In particular, Christians couldn’t just preach the gospel without caring about a person’s physical needs, albeit they may be hidden under the person. They needed to preach the full gospel to the whole person, achieving the whole-person healing, Liu said.
"The Great Commission is about every nation and people. The church in Jerusalem initially didn’t spread the gospel to other places, but they were forced to go out when the great persecution broke out. Reluctant to reach the Gentiles at first, the apostle Peter went to Cornelius' house to spread the gospel to him after Peter saw a vision. Paul was an apostle to the Gentiles when he was first called by the Lord. The early church showed us a demand of preaching the gospel to all nations and peoples,” the pastor concluded.
- Translated by Abigail Wu