After reviewing two disquieting symptoms in the last few blogs, I want to turn your attention to the effective work of Paul. With his encourager Barnabas at his side, they planted four churches in just under two years. Here are the places:
· Pisidia’s Antioch – July to November 47 AD
· Iconium – December 47 AD to April 48 AD
· Lystra – May to August 48 AD
· Derbe – September to December 48 AD
Notice how short their stay was in each place. Paul and Barnabas retraced their path through these places to “strengthen the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). They kept their teaching to the basics so these new believers and churches would be attached to Christ, not a form other than the pure gospel. Not long after this, these churches would be challenged by false teachers wanting to distort the gospel of grace and shackle their souls by the law for salvation.
The length of time in a place does not determine whether a church will stand, but how converts are rooted in the gospel of grace. Please follow me on this theme for the next few days and we will see more of God’s work through Paul.
Dates taken from Gene Edwards, Revolutionary Bible Study, SeedSowers Publishing, 2009, page 191.
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