The Gospel to Europe (7)
Pray Psalm 96.1-4.
Oh, sing to the LORD a new song!
Sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.
For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.
Sing Psalm 96.1-4.
(Mit Freuden Zart: All Praise to God, Who Reigns Above)
Sing to the Lord! O, bless His Name! All nations tell His glory!
Salvation’s tidings loud proclaim; let earth rehearse His story!
For God is greatly to be praised; His throne above all gods is raised –
fear Him, and sing His glory!
Read Acts 16.1-40; meditate on verses 18 and 19.
1. How did Paul cast out the demon from the little girl?
2. How did he lead the Philippian jailor to salvation?
The lack of a permanent building can’t stop the ongoing work of Christ (Acts 16.11-15). The devil in his wiles is helpless against it (vv. 16-18). The attempts of angry men to put a stop to the Gospel collapse in a heap before the power of the Lord (vv. 19-26). In the face of all opposition, the ongoing work of Christ goes on, reaching the souls of earnest seekers and readied pagans, overcoming the threats and schemes of powerful men, and strengthening and encouraging those who believe and have been saved (v. 40).
Everywhere the Gospel went in the book of Acts, nothing could stand against it. The ministry of the Word and the proclamation of the Kingdom are powerful against every foe to accomplish God’s purpose of bringing His Kingdom to earth as it is in heaven, in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14.17, 18).
In our day, the progress of the Gospel seems almost to have ground to a halt. Is this because the Gospel has lost its power to save (Rom. 1.16, 17)? Is it because the Kingdom has realized all that the Lord intends (Hab. 2.14)? Or is it because we have lost our vision for a world turned upside-down for Jesus, our resolve to live as His witnesses, and our confidence in His Word and Spirit; and we have decided to embrace a merely “good enough” salvation while we continue to pursue the idols and diversions of the world of things?
The Gospel has not changed. But we are not a people like Paul and Silas. Like Luke and Timothy. Even like Lydia and the Philippian jailer. We don’t see the urgency of the Gospel. We don’t believe that all people need to be saved. We have lost sight of the fact that a day of judgment is coming. And we have become comfortable in our non-threatening way of being Christians.
Which Paul would question as to whether we are really Christians at all (2 Cor. 13.5).
Pray that we will recover our true understanding of the Gospel, undiluted love for Jesus, and our proper place in the ongoing and unstoppable work of our Lord.
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
As we pray to recover our true understanding of the Gospel, we would do well to rehearse how we came to be Christians in the first place: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph. 2.8, 9). Yes, Paul, we agree with every word!
Now, why were we saved through faith? It must be for some purpose? Well, yes. I’m glad you asked. Paul continues, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2.10). Well, yes, I see that. That is the reason for this great salvation!
So let’s bolster our resolve and say with the Israelites of old: “All that you command us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go” (Josh. 1.16). Ongoing and unstoppable.
And let’s agree with the psalmist and say: “LORD, I hope for Your salvation, and I do Your commandments. My soul keeps Your testimonies, and I love them exceedingly. I keep Your precepts and Your testimonies, for all my ways are before You” (Ps. 119. 166-168). Ongoing and unstoppable.
Finally, let’s hear what Jesus says to us: “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” And, “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you” (Jn. 14.15; 15.12, 14). Ongoing and unstoppable.
What better way to show God that we love Him, than by keeping His commandments, and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ, with everyone in our Personal Mission Field? It is our purpose and our calling. Those good works that were created beforehand for us, that we should do.
Ongoing and unstoppable? Only by the power of the Holy Spirit within us.
Because, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19.26).
1. Would you describe the ongoing work of Jesus in your life as “unstoppable?” Explain.
2. How do you expect the unstoppable, ongoing work of Christ to affect the people in your Personal Mission Field?
3. Knowing that the ongoing work of Christ is unstoppable, how should we as believers encourage one another? Whom will you encourage today?
Such were the beginnings of the preaching in Macedonia. Either gain or ambition or superstition is always at war with the gospel, but when the world rages most fiercely against the members of Christ, then especially is the solace of heaven at hand to help.Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536), Paraphrase of Acts 16:24, 8
Pray Psalm 96.5-13,
Pray for the ongoing and unstoppable work of our Lord Jesus Christ – in your life, your Personal Mission Field, your church and community, and throughout the world. Thank the Lord for His mercy and grace, and rejoice that He is coming soon to take us to Himself forever.
Sing Psalm 98.5-13.
(Mit Freuden Zart: All Praise to God, Who Reigns Above)
All other gods are idols vain; the Lord created heaven.
Splendor and strength with Him obtain; to Him is glory given!
All fam’lies, praise this mighty Lord! Give strength and glory to His Word;
exalt the Lord of heaven.
Bring off’rings sweet to Him, our Lord, in holy garments praise Him!
Tremble before Him, all the earth; among the nations raise Him!
The earth is fixed, it will not move; the peoples will His justice prove.
Exalt the Lord and praise Him.
Let heaven sing with lusty voice; let earth and sea sing sweetly!
Let fields and trees in Him rejoice, for He is coming swiftly
to judge the world in righteousness, the peoples in His faithfulness.
He comes; exalt Him greatly!
T. M. and Susie Moore
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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.