As we dig into Acts chapter 14, reflect for a moment on all the programs and gimmicks we use in the western church to achieve church growth. Then consider Luke’s statement in verse one; “Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed” (Acts 14:1). What would cause this to happen? It is clear that they allowed the Holy Spirit’s work in them to equip and empower their ministry.
Let’s look at other “key principles” that are timeless and supra-cultural that must be employed today if we are going to see the same kind of growth and expansion.
Acts 14:1-7 – Barnabas and Paul “remained for a long time, speaking _______ for the Lord who bore witness to the word of His grace”. In a people group who had never heard the message before, God confirmed the message with signs and wonders.
Acts 14:8-18 – Paul was able to discern that a man “had faith to believe” and was made well. Barnabas and Paul are very careful to reject the praise of men and point to the “living God who made the heaven and the earth”. Both spiritual skills are vital for effective ministry.
Acts 14:19-23 – The stoning of Paul gives the believers opportunity to gather around him. They continued preaching the gospel and “_________ the souls of the disciples, ___________ them to continue in the faith”.
Acts 14:24-28 – Barnabas and Paul returned to Antioch – the church that commended them to the work, and “declare all that God had done…and how He had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles”. Can you imagine how encouraging this would have been to the saints in Antioch?
For those of you who doubt this can take place today, I ask you; has the Holy Spirit changed His ability to do God’s work in and through us? If not, what has changed? In a blog many weeks ago, we emphasized the urgent need to STOP, REPENT AND RETURN TO THE SCRIPTURES! This is the path back to seeing God work in the same way today as He did at the beginning of the church.
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