FURTHERING THE GOSPEL
Tuesday, 29 October 2019
Acts 16 : 1-15
“…we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.” -Acts 16:10
This portion of Scripture begins and ends with the good news of people joining the ministry to carry on with GOD’s Kingdom work. We have Paul, his companions, Timothy going from place to place to encourage the churches and spread the gospel. Then we see Lydia, a businesswoman who got saved through their message opening her home for the work to be carried on!
Acts 16:1-4 marks the humble beginning of Timothy’s mission work. He is considered to be the first among the second-generation Christians to join the gospel work. His willingness to be circumcised can be considered as the mark of his commitment for the gospel work. Though these acts of Law were not required for the free gift of salvation, the humble submission of Timothy accelerated the gospel work among the Jews (who were much concerned on traditions).
Timothy’s mixed racial background (Mother- Jew & Father- Greek) or the young age of Timothy were never a hindrance to the Lord’s work. This applies even today as a big encouragement for many to serve the Lord, irrespective of caste, creed, colour, education, finances, tribe or tongue. We are free to serve the Lord according to each one’s calling if we possess a willing heart.
Paul found in this young man a successor to transfer the baton for the kingdom work (Phil.2:20-22). Similarly, when God looks from above, will we be found as a like- minded person who will be a torch bearer of the gospel in our generation? It was never a smooth walk for Paul or for Timothy. They went through tough times—yet we see their trust in God: “…We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. …..But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.” (2 Cor.1:8-10 NLT) When faced with challenges which are beyond human abilities, we need to trust in the Lord who endured the cross for us.
Then came the call through a vision to go to Macedonia. Paul understood the Lord’s leading him to go there with the gospel. This was a new door being opened for gospel in Europe— Lydia, the businesswoman and her family became the first converts in Europe. The Apostle never allowed any racial / gender / cultural barriers in the path of the ministry. As a result, many men and women were able to render their service for the Lord- Lydia who was converted by Paul's preaching later rendered her service for the Lord. Servants of God shared the gospel – individuals received it, families got transformed, societies were blessed, and it resulted in the revival of nations.
We are living in a fallen world and the question for us believers is: “Who will go to the unreached?” “How can people have faith in the Lord and ask him to save them, if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear, unless someone tells them?” (Rom.10:14 CEV) Can we respond to that call (like Isaiah did) by our willingness, saying: “Here I am; send me!”
Thought for the Day:
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:
“Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us? ”
Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”
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