When powered and nurtured by God’s Holy Spirit, exponential growth happens in all kinds of miraculous ways. Like wildflowers in the middle of a field, their seeds windblown take root and quickly take over the whole field. When God is in it, His will be done, in Jesus Name, nothing is impossible and no one can stop His work. I am so grateful for the willingness and driven dedication of Paul, Silas, Barnabas, Peter, John, and all the other apostles who passed on to other “reliable people” to go and do whatever the Holy Spirit of God said. They did this with driven intentionality led by God.
Because of God’s Actions in these willing men and women, filled with His Spirit then, we are free to be the church today in a world that desperately needs a Savior. Can we pause and give thanks to God for them? Yes, and Amen!
God’s prophets told us this would happen. “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Joel 2:28, NIV
These words of prophecy were repeated at the start of the early church! Go back to Acts 2, as this same Spirit the Holy Spirit of God fell over the disciples. Peter, led by God’s Holy Spirit, stood to speak to thousands of people from different languages for the first time in his life with these words from Joel to explain what was going on in God’s people who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior,
“No, this is something which was predicted by the prophet Joel, ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. And on my menservants and on my maidservants I will pour out my Spirit in those days and they shall prophesy. I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and notable day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’” Acts 2:17 Phillips
ALL – God’s Holy Spirit is poured on ALL of us who believe and call on the Name of Jesus!
In our passage today, we pick up Paul’s journey in Ephesus. He brings along his new friends Priscilla and Aquila with whom he lived with for a time making tents for a living to fund the ministry. Let’s go back to the time Paul stayed with them. Can we imagine for a moment those Spirit led, Godly conversations about Jesus as they leaned over the canvases they were sewing? We sometimes only see Paul as a rough and tumble kind of guy because of his drive and tenacity, not so much as a seamstress. But this was a former trade which he knew well. This was not a quilt making clack of women over a loom but another “make the most of every opportunity” time for Paul to teach them, disciple them and soon they were leaders who Paul trusted.
Paul doesn’t stay long in Ephesus, God led him to retrace his steps and encourage the new churches. He is able to do this because of Priscilla and Aquila. Paul poured what He knew and believed about Jesus into this couple. They are now going to pour the Truth about Jesus into Apollos who doesn’t have “the whole story” but has been gifted with the ability to speak.
Friends, do we see what is going on here? There is a story within the story! We are learning about how God and His Spirit multiplies His work exponentially through His people who love, believe, and live for Jesus, His Son! Whatever God has given to us, we pass on to others ready to hear with Spirit-led reliability to pass the Truth on to others. Wow.
ACTS—God’s Actions Through His Disciples
Acts 18, The Message
Next Stop: Ephesus
18 Paul stayed a while longer in Corinth, but then it was time to take leave of his friends. Saying his good-byes, he sailed for Syria, Priscilla and Aquila with him. Before boarding the ship in the harbor town of Cenchrea, he had his head shaved as part of a vow he had taken.
19-21 They landed in Ephesus, where Priscilla and Aquila got off and stayed. Paul left the ship briefly to go to the meeting place and preach to the Jews. They wanted him to stay longer, but he said he couldn’t. But after saying good-bye, he promised, “I’ll be back, God willing.”
21-22 From Ephesus he sailed to Caesarea. He greeted the church there, and then went on to Antioch, completing the journey.
23 After spending a considerable time with the Antioch Christians, Paul set off again for Galatia and Phrygia, retracing his old tracks, one town after another, putting fresh heart into the disciples.
24-26 A man named Apollos came to Ephesus. He was a Jew, born in Alexandria, Egypt, and a terrific speaker, eloquent and powerful in his preaching of the Scriptures. He was well-educated in the way of the Master and fiery in his enthusiasm. Apollos was accurate in everything he taught about Jesus up to a point, but he only went as far as the baptism of John. He preached with power in the meeting place. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and told him the rest of the story.
27-28 When Apollos decided to go on to Achaia province, his Ephesian friends gave their blessing and wrote a letter of recommendation for him, urging the disciples there to welcome him with open arms. The welcome paid off: Apollos turned out to be a great help to those who had become believers through God’s immense generosity. He was particularly effective in public debate with the Jews as he brought out proof after convincing proof from the Scriptures that Jesus was in fact God’s Messiah.
THINK ABOUT IT…THIS STORY IN A STORY PACKS A PUNCH!
How does this exponential multiplication of passing it on in really work in our lives? It begins with careful, prayerful thought.
Who am I mentoring? God, who do you want me to mentor or help?
Who is mentoring me? God, who needs to mentor me?
What do I know about Jesus that needs to be passed on to someone who is ready to hear it?
As a leader, who can I teach to lead?
As a servant, who can teach to serve well?
Of course, we don’t know it all, none of us do, but what we do know needs to be told. There will always be someone behind us who needs to know what we know and someone in front of us that we need to know what they know. Seek Truth. We are promised we will find Him every time we seek Him.
Know God. Learn about Him through His Word. Decide to Know Each Other. See what they know. Ask for the Spirit to lead us.
Love God. Decide to Love Each Other enough to share what God has given to us. Ask for the Spirit to lead us.
Lead us out our puny, single focus minds of thinking only of taking care of ourselves to your bigger, expanded, exponentially focused bigger picture! We know this: ALL have sinned, (including me) and in need your salvation. We have our own story of salvation to tell. We also know that salvation comes to those who repent and believe. On top of all that we now know that Your Holy Spirit is poured out on ALL of us to help us tell your Truth. Oh Lord, give us boldness, right words, right time, in the right Spirit to pass on what you have given to us—even today.
In Jesus Name, Amen