We were told that there was about fifty or sixty new believers who had come to Christ in the last month! These were the people I was going to address! This was so different from our typical groups of pastors and church planters. With very little Bible knowledge and perhaps still learning what salvation was all about, I asked the Holy Spirit to quickly give me a plan for the next two hours. I later learned that the next day would only be an hour and a half.
Realizing that these tender plants need good food to strengthen their faith and set them on a path of rapid growth, I made no reference or comparison between the Early Church and the church today. It would not be in their best interest to create doubt about what they had come to by faith, but rather take them back to the model in Acts and show them how quickly God moved to establish the church and what were the key principles that made it happen. By the end of the first hour, I had them repeating on the white board what they had just learned. It was like pouring gasoline onto a fire. The explosive way they learned took me by surprise and I realize they had not been tainted by a lot of forms that often handicap our learning ability. By the end of two hours, I had covered four chapters of the manual and they were able to draw all four on the white board.
My heart was so full of thanksgiving for two reasons! I had seen the Holy Spirit work in a powerful way in these people; almost all of them under 20. How faithful is our God!!
“They received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11).
Natural disasters are often used by God to put His servants in the right place at the right time so that the next chapter in effective missions can be written. “A great famine over all the world…took place in the days of Claudius (a self-centered, wicked ruler)” (Acts 11:28). God moved the hearts of the disciples at Antioch to “send relief to the brothers living in Judea. And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul” (11:29-30).
Please note two things in this decision. First, Antioch did not try to retain these men for themselves. I am certain there was strong attachment after one year of teaching and experiencing Christ being formed in them. This was a time of amazing spiritual growth and strengthening. Yet, Antioch was willing to release their best for the simple task of helping brothers in need. Second, Barnabas and Saul did not fear that leaving would cause these Antioch disciples to fail. They were totally confident in the Holy Spirit work in them.
In the next blog, we will see another page in the divine plan for this trip to Jerusalem. But before you leave today’s posting, ask if you and your church have confidence in the work of the Holy Spirit in new believers? If you have a feeling of fear that failure will take place if you leave and God sends you somewhere else, then you should examine how effective your teaching is.
Link To Our Old Blog: