Search Today in the Word:

Go

August 2014 Issue

The Book of Acts: Mission through Church and Spirit

Subscribe to the Today in the Word Podcast

View Devotion Archives

Best of Vol 2 - Promo

Devotion for Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014

Paul’s Third Missionary Effort: Ephesus and Beyond

Read Acts 18:18–19:20

2014-08 - Cover SM
Print: This Page | This Month's Issue (PDF)
Podcast: Subscribe
Share
 
In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power. Acts 19:20

Have you ever observed a spreading vine? What starts out small and contained soon spreads in new directions, shooting off new growth and covering other plants. The early church was something like a spreading vine. As today’s passage makes clear, what began in Jerusalem had now spread throughout the Mediterranean world, and new leadership emerged along the way.

While Paul traveled from Corinth back to Antioch, Priscilla and Aquila took on new leadership in Ephesus. While there, another man, Apollos, was trained, and sent on his way to minister in Achaia. As the leadership grew beyond the Apostles, the church spread into new areas. Meanwhile, Paul finished his visit to Jerusalem and Antioch and then circled back to Ephesus. Notice the spread of the gospel despite opposition and apparent setbacks. Upon arriving in Ephesus, Paul met a dozen individuals who seemed to know the message and baptism of John but were ignorant of Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit. After Paul’s proclamation to them, they responded with faith and baptism and experienced the Spirit’s filling.

Later, Paul preached in the Ephesus synagogue for three months, but because of opposition he began lecturing in the hall of Tyrannus. This was no flash evangelism. Paul spent two years there, preaching, arguing, and debating daily about Christ. The results were striking—God’s word spread throughout Asia and extraordinary miracles of healing took place through Paul.

Some false teachers tried to reproduce Paul’s healing in Jesus’ name. In the end, their lack of relationship with Jesus was exposed, but God used that incident to highlight the glory of Christ. Many even came forward to confess their previous life of sorcery and burned their books in response. As Scripture summarizes: “the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power” (v. 20).

Apply the Word

Have you grown discouraged by the rejection of the gospel by friends, family, or co-workers? God’s word is powerful enough to spread even to places that seem impossible. Continue praying for the unbelievers in your life, asking God to spread His word to them, demonstrate His power among them, and raise up new leadership to bring them to Christ.

Search the Bible For:

Go