Spreading the gospel
Acts 13: 49
“The word of the Lord spread through the whole region.”
It was not only in Antioch that a new exciting church was being planted but across the region including the districts of Phrygia, Lycaonia, and Galatia, many were coming to Christ, turning away from their gods to worship the One true God and to follow Jesus.
In a book devoted to the Acts of the Spirit, this verse becomes even more important to us who believe, desire and pray for such moves of God in our generation.
Here is what we have discovered so far on our journey verse by verse through Acts:
• Following the first persecution, they “spoke the word of God boldly” (4:31).
• Following the second persecution and flogging, “day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ” (5:42).
• After the selection of deacons, “the word of God spread” (6:7).
• Resulting from Saul’s persecution of the church, “those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went” (8:4).
• Samaria “accepted the word of God” (8:14).
• The Gentiles of Cornelius’ household “received the word of God” (11:1).
• And here today, on Paul’s first missionary journey, “the word of the Lord spread through the whole region”.
The Bible, the Gospel, the Word of God is high on the agenda on every move of the Spirit. Disciples disciple and churches plant churches because of the expansion of the word of the Lord.
It is the way that people come to know God and it is the sign that what is happening is actually God.
The ministry of Paul and Barnabas did not spread throughout the whole region. Miracles or any other of the gifts of the Spirit were not the primary agent that was impacting this area. The exciting power of the gospel was the fire of Jeremiah (20:9) “But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot”.
Some members believe that if their Pastor had a better ministry then the church would take the town for Jesus.
Some Pastors believe if they find that one truly anointed travelling evangelist, healer or deliverer then the whole region would sit up and take note.
Some believe if they pray hard and long enough then the divine visitation of revival will come.
Some long for the public display of the gifts of the Spirit to be used on the streets to beat hands down the efforts of David Blaine, Dynamo, Derren Brown and other magicians, to bring true hope to the crowds.
I could go on. All these things are understandable and some have noble desires. But we must remember that the main character in this amazing book is not a personality like Paul or Peter but the gospel.
So how does the word of the Lord spread today? The answer is simple isn’t it?! Too simple in fact. Now that’s a good new years resolution!