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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The Scriptorium

Increase: Word, Persecution, Joy

The ongoing impact of the ongoing work of Christ.

Acts (12)

And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24.27

Be sure to view the video introducing our study of Acts 13 (Lesson 12) by clicking here.

Read and meditate on Acts 13.49-52.
We note that Paul and Barnabas move on, following the leading of the Spirit, but the Spirit stays behind to fill the believers with joy. The work of the Kingdom is the Spirit’s work. He leads. He empowers for witness. He convicts and converts. He sanctifies the faithful. He builds the Church. And He does all this all at once and in every place!

For reflection
1.  The Word is spreading rapidly because the people who “got it” really did. How can we tell when someone has truly come to believe the Good News?

2.  These people were excited, freed from the burden of their sins, secure in the hope of eternal life, and flourishing in the grace of the Lord. People who know such experiences can’t help but talk about them to others, and this is how the Word of the Lord spreads, as we’ve seen (Acts 8). Suggest some ways Christians today might encourage one another to talk more freely and openly about the Lord.

3.  But as the Word increases, so do opposition and persecution. Big deal! That didn’t stop Paul and Barnabas, and it shouldn’t stop us, either. The joy of salvation is a real and permanent joy, not one dictated by agreeable circumstances. We should expect opposition and persecution, and know how to deal with these by resting in the strength and promises of the Lord, Who has overcome the world (Jn. 16.33), and by continuing in the ongoing work of Christ. How can you renew yourself daily for taking your place in the ongoing work of Christ?

4.  The Jews enlisted the devout women – Greeks – because they could see where this was tending. They weren’t content just to get Paul out of their congregation or town. They wanted to shut him down permanently. If only they’d known: Jealous religious leaders had tried that with Jesus, and it didn’t work then, either. In this chapter Luke establishes a kind of mini-template. The Spirit calls and empowers, the Gospel goes forward, people believe, persecution arises, the Word and joy of the Lord increase. Is this the pattern we observe in our churches today?

5.  Talk with a pastor or church leader. Does this pattern reflect what you see in your church? In what ways? Does anything seem to be missing? What should your role be in helping your church line up with this template?

The ongoing work of Christ continues because it is the Spirit’s work, and not merely ours. We see how the Spirit uses faithful people, armed with the Gospel, to lead others to the Lord and His Kingdom. Where we do not see this happening, is it because the Spirit is no longer working? Explain.

Closing Prayer
Return, O LORD!
How long?
And have compassion on Your servants.
Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy,
That we may rejoice and be glad all our days!
Make us glad according to the days in which You have afflicted us,
The years in which we have seen evil.
Let Your work appear to Your servants,
And Your glory to their children.
And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us;
Yes, establish the work of our hands.

Psalm 90.13-17

T. M. Moore

Each week’s studies in Acts are bound together into a free PDF that you can download for personal or group use (click here). Each week also features a video related to the studies of the week, which you may find helpful as you work through our studies in Acts.

Acts is the record of Christ’s ongoing work as King and Lord. This is the work of bringing the Kingdom of God to earth as it is in heaven. Read more about the implications of this work in our new book,
The Kingdom Turn (click here).

Please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe by sending a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452. Or, you can click here to donate online through credit card or PayPal.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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