There had been a significant shift in Paul’s ministry between his first missionary journey and just as the second was starting. Barnabas and Paul were a good team, but they separated over a conviction Paul had on how to be effective as a team. That meant Barnabas took John Mark with him and Paul took Silas and made him his partner. At the same time, Paul was looking beyond just having a team of two. He wanted to multiply their effectiveness and found a young man with a good reputation at Lystra and “wanted Timothy to accompany him” (Acts 16:2).
One of the proofs that this strategy was the right one was immediately revealed in verse 4 and 5; “As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. So, the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily” (Acts 16:4–5).
Not only was the Gospel of grace confirmed in the places where they went, but the churches that had been planted were “strengthened in the faith.” As others had done and many more will do, when faith is made strong, there is an automatic multiplication that takes place. There is no need for ‘programs to force growth.’ The power of the Spirit of Jesus in the Gospel pushes out the message through those who received it and were impacted through its transforming work. Notice how quickly this took place; “they increased in numbers daily.”
When this principle is believed and accepted, we will see God bring expansion and growth.
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