And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24.27
This week’s video is presentation 17 in our study of Acts. In it we review the ongoing work of Christ as it becomes established in churches, such as those in Jerusalem, Corinth, and Ephesus. You can view it by clicking here (scroll down to Lesson 17).
Read and meditate on Acts 19.1-7.
Apollos, Priscilla, and Aquila departing for Achaia left a vacuum of leadership in Ephesus. Some believers were there, but not many. Perhaps the three determined they’d done all they could for now? But only twelve believers?
1. Paul may have had Ephesus in his sights from the beginning of his third missionary journey, for we don’t hear much about any stops along the way. When he arrived he found a dozen or so men, true believers, but not well trained. They seem to be stuck about where Apollos was, trusting in John the Baptist’s word about Jesus. How would those men have known whether or not they had received the Holy Spirit when they believed?
2. We note that Paul took the time to discern the state of their faith. He gave them credit for true faith but then took them further into the work of Christ and the Spirit. This is what good teachers do, build on foundations, discover and lengthen base lines, cultivate seedlings, check on the state of things, and build from there. In what ways does the disciple-making work of your church reflect this approach?
3. These twelve men became the nucleus of a revival in southeast Asia Minor. Twelve men! From Ephesus the Gospel radiated throughout the region, as the Spirit convicted, converted, filled, equipped, and sent people into all the surrounding area. First Paul, then Priscilla and Aquila, then Apollos, then Paul again: The Kingdom progresses by stages under the skilled hands of master builders (1 Cor. 3.5-10). Patience, persistence, and faith are the keys to the ongoing work of Christ. Is your church’s vision for its ministry big enough for all members to find a growing role?
4. The movement of preachers, evangelists, and pastors throughout the book of Acts and the New Testament fascinates me. Over and over we see people arriving to take up or continue a work, going forward to new places, or launching out to begin and help establish some new effort. What is your church’s ministry plan for continuing the ongoing work of Christ?
5. God is orchestrating the progress of His Kingdom, using faithful servants and witnesses from all walks of life. Launch, establish, disperse, replicate – this is the pattern of the ongoing work of Christ. This is the way the Spirit flows God’s grace through churches into the world.In what specific ways is your church in the flow of God’s Kingdom work in our day?
The organic nature of the Church is becoming increasingly evident, as we see new congregations coming into being, new leaders emerging, and more disciples being added to the churches. Only the Spirit of God can superintend and give continuity and strength to such an effort. How can you know when your church and its leaders are looking to and depending on the Spirit for the ongoing work of Christ?
For the LORD has chosen Zion;
He has desired it for His dwelling place:
“This is My resting place forever;
Here I will dwell, for I have desired it.
I will abundantly bless her provision;
I will satisfy her poor with bread.
I will also clothe her priests with salvation,
And her saints shall shout aloud for joy.
There I will make the horn of David grow;
I will prepare a lamp for My Anointed.
His enemies I will clothe with shame,
But upon Himself His crown shall flourish.”
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).
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