Thru the Bible -- Acts of the Apostles

Devotional

Look How They Grew!


How did the gospel spread throughout Asia and Europe? Paul and friends carried it by hand and shared the Lord Jesus Christ with everyone they met along the way. 


Paul taught in Corinth, one of the most wicked cities in the Roman Empire, for almost a year, but the Jewish opposition got so intense he considered taking the gospel only to Gentiles. 


One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a dream and said, “Keep it up, Paul. Don’t let anyone scare you into silence. I’m with you and no one will hurt you. I have many people in this city” (18:9-10). So, Paul stayed a while longer. 


Antioch


In Antioch, Paul faced the same issue again with Jewish leaders who demanded Paul teach the Mosaic Law. They didn’t quite believe the marvelous freedom we have in Christ. Some super–saints today also impose legalistic standards in the hope of pleasing God. They forget our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is a love story. If we love Him, we wouldn’t do anything to break our relationship with Him. 


Paul now sails for home with Aquila and Priscilla. On their way, they stop in Ephesus where Aquila and Priscilla stay. Paul continued on to Caesarea to get to Jerusalem in time for the feasts and give his report. Then he went north, back to his home church in Antioch. The second missionary journey was complete. 


Paul’s Third Missionary Journey 


Paul is a missionary at heart, and he couldn’t stay home long. He wanted to go back to Ephesus, but until he could, another great preacher, Apollos, had a ministry there. An outstanding man and a great preacher, Apollos was well trained in the Old Testament and had a passion for the things of God. He taught the people of Ephesus everything he knew—but he only knew about John the Baptist’s ministry. He hadn’t heard of Jesus or the Holy Spirit.


When Aquila and Priscilla heard Apollos preach, they introduced him to Jesus, his Messiah. Overjoyed, Apollos then visited the churches in Greece, including Corinth and Athens, preaching Jesus, the crucified and risen Savior.


Paul in Ephesus


Paul finally got to Ephesus, a longtime dream for him. Like his pattern, Paul went to the synagogue first, and boldly taught about Jesus Christ. Some responded in faith, but others’ hearts hardened. He finally had to leave the synagogue because of the Jewish opposition. Instead, for two years Paul preached the Word of God at the school of Tyrannus and, as a result, all of Asia heard of Jesus Christ.


The Word of God was growing exponentially in this season. Though he had not visited them yet, Paul founded the churches in Colosse and in Rome, and wrote them both letters. 


As Paul’s time in Ephesus drew to an end, he said he wanted to go to Rome. As he waited, he wrote a letter to the Corinthians. Timothy delivered it, sharing it as he went with Philippi and Thessalonica and also the churches in Athens and Corinth. 


Paul leaves Ephesus and travels back to Macedonia to visit Philippi, Thessalonica, Athens, and Corinth where he reunited with old friends. He visited all the churches in Europe from his third missionary journey—and delighted in how they were all growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. 


Next, when did it become a practice to worship on Sunday, the first day of the week, rather than on the Sabbath (Saturday)?