One of the greatest proofs of whether our ministry has been effective is watching what happens when we leave a place. For a work of God to be effective and fruitful, we must step out of the initial role of presenting the gospel (the whole counsel of God – Acts 20:27), and then watch the Holy Spirit take complete control.
Paul and Silas went to Thessalonica after Philippi, and “on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead” (Acts 17:1-9). Some joined Paul and Silas, but others used “wicked men of the rabble [to] form a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attack the house of Jason” (17:5). We might conclude from this that evangelism outreach was a failure. Let’s look at the conclusion of this:
“Our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction…you became imitators of us and of the Lord…so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone everywhere” (1 Thessalonians 1:5-8).
It is very evident that Paul and Silas were very effective in their ministry, even though their time in this place was short. Notice what made their work effective – the Holy Spirit! It is not the length of time we are in a place or whether we build hospitals, schools or church buildings. The real question is whether the Holy Spirit is working in us and in those who hear and receive the gospel.
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