This morning, along with thousands of other churches, we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Assemblies of God fellowship!
Let’s take a look at a short video of how the Assemblies of God got its start.
* AG History Video *
The exciting part of this all is that this is just the beginning of what God is doing in and through our fellowship. Each one of us here is a part of what God is continuing to do. Each of us has the divine opportunity and calling to continue this awesome work that the Holy Spirit is doing!
This morning, we’re going to review and also be sent out to fulfill the mission that God is calling us to.
The Assemblies of God mission is expressed through:
Jesus said in Luke chapter 19 that His mission was to seek and save the lost. That’s exactly what evangelism is all about. To evangelize is simply to make known the good news of Christ’s salvation. The Assemblies of God has grown so rapidly and largely due to the sacrificial response of people to God’s call to evangelize the lost.
Evangelism comes in many forms. Everything from us in our ordinary routines speaking with others, to preachers like me teaching and proclaiming the good news, to magazine and book printing, to planting churches, to missionaries laying down their entire lives all have the goal of evangelism.
One of the distinctions of the Assemblies of God from other churches is our emphasis on the baptism of the Holy Spirit as revealed by the initial physical evidence of speaking in tongues. We’re firm believers that the Holy Spirit baptism is one that empowers and equips individuals for the purpose of evangelism, to be personal witnesses for Jesus, because that is exactly what Jesus said regarding this baptism.
After the death and resurrection of Christ, Jesus appeared to believers over a period of forty days and spoke to them about the Kingdom of God.
4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Jesus taught that the baptism of the Holy Spirit will empower us to be witnesses for Him to the ends of the earth. I strongly encourage everyone to read through the book of Acts. Rightfully named, this book contains one miraculous adventure after another of the Acts of the Holy Spirit all performed through those who accepted the salvation of Jesus and who also received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Jesus transformed not only these individual’s lives, but also the church and the world forever!
In Luke chapter 11, Jesus said that the Heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to any who ask Him. Through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we are empowered to overcome sin in our lives and to do all of the works that Jesus did and even greater! This all serves the purpose of evangelism – sharing the good news of Christ’s salvation with those who have not yet accepted it.
The second part of the mission of the Assemblies of God is:
Salvation is only the beginning of experiencing a Spirit-empowered, abundant life!
Just as an infant must be well nourished to grow and be healthy, so we must nourish ourselves in the word of God to grow spiritually. Of course, this growing process doesn’t stop once an infant gets to the toddler, then school years, then teen years, then adulthood. The child continues to explore and experience their surroundings and is trained and that learning process never stops all through the course of our lives. Discipleship is the process of growing up and maturing in our faith.
This analogy, in fact, is used several times throughout scripture.
1 Corinthians 3:1-3
1 Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?
11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
1 Peter 2:1-3
1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
In the same way that we continue to learn and grow all throughout our lives naturally, we also never stop learning and growing in our faith spiritually. Discipleship is a life-long adventure and process. It begins when we make the decision to lay down our lives, take up our crosses, and follow Jesus and it never stops. A disciple is simply one who learns. Jesus gave us the great commission, which is simply to make disciples as we go on throughout our lives, and did not leave discipleship an option. It is a command and mandate for those who follow Jesus.
The Assemblies of God has developed thousands of programs and studies to assist us in this process of growing from infants in Christ to maturity and fullness in Christ and helping others to do the same. In fact, the Gospel Publishing House generates 10 tons of printed material every day to help us become disciples and to never cease in our spiritual growth. Many colleges, universities, and schools have also been established for this purpose.
The third part of the mission of the Assemblies of God is:
Although styles and techniques of worship vary from one Assembly of God to another, worshiping the Lord is a key emphasis of the Assemblies of God. Whether it be hymns, psalms, choruses, or contemporary styles of music, the key of worship is that Jesus be praised and glorified and given all of the honor that He is due. Worship is our response to God, an expression of our hearts, and it will change depending on what season of life we are in, what circumstances we find ourselves, and how the Lord has revealed Himself to us. Worship is powerful and brings us into the very presence of the Lord. In fact, Psalm 22 reveals that God inhabits or is enthroned through our praise.
The Assemblies of God embrace the fullness of scripture including the many, many ways that it teaches and instructs us to worship. These include: the waving of banners, dancing, singing, shouting, lifting hands, giving testimonies, giving thanks, praying, reading scripture, playing of instruments, laying prostrate or face down, kneeling, or just resting in the presence of God. We embrace full freedom of expression in worship, so long as it is orderly and not contradictory to Biblical principles or teachings.
Whenever we worship, we also anticipate and expect a response from God. That may come in the form of a prophetic word or a message in tongues or healing or a manifestation of His peace or whatever else the Lord desires to do. Leading people and teaching them how to worship the Lord is a key part of the mission of the Assemblies of God.
The fourth and final part of the mission of the Assemblies of God is:
Over and over again throughout the scriptures, we see God proclaiming about Himself as well as His people declaring about Him that He is full of compassion. Many times throughout the recorded ministry of Jesus, He would look on people and be moved by compassion toward them. He would heal them, teach them, provide for them, and meet whatever needs they had.
Our desire is not to speak poorly of people and to look down on them in judgment in a spirit of religion, but to rather be moved by the Holy Spirit and to freely offer to others that which Jesus has freely given to us. We choose to forgive them and show the compassion and loving kindness of the Lord, which draws us all to repentance.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
In the same way, the Assemblies of God desire to reveal this compassion of the Lord toward people. They have established many ministries to serve this purpose. They range from adoption and foster care to health care to addiction recovery to food and clothing provision to homeless shelters to prison ministries – wherever there is an opportunity to show compassion to someone in need, the Assemblies of God rises up to meet that need and to manifest the great, unfailing love of God.
This morning, I encourage us all to apply this fourfold mission of the Assemblies of God to each of our own individual lives just as we apply them as a church. Let it be our desire and mission in life to: evangelize the lost, be a disciple and make disciples as we go, to worship the Lord, and to show compassion to those in need. In doing so, we fulfill all that Jesus has called us to as we follow Him, empowered by the Holy Spirit!