“So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.” Acts 16:5 (NIV84)
Here we are in the sixteenth chapter of the book of Acts and the church has spread throughout the region of what we know as the Middle East. The message of the Gospel was wrapping itself around the Mediterranean Sea, working its way toward Europe. Jews and Gentiles alike were coming to the faith. The church was getting farther and farther from its center (Jerusalem). Given the fact that all this happened in such a short time, one might expect confusion and division. The church was spreading so fast that soon, Paul’s missionary journeys would not be creating the spread of the church, but keeping up with it. More and more he would go into towns where there was already a group of believers.
Some of my take-aways are as follows: The church does not need us to control its movements. That is the job of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit provides the Word, power, and direction. The Church, even our local churches, need to have a faith similar to these early Christians. We need to step out in faith and fulfill our calling, trusting that the Lord will provide what we need to get it done. The early church stressed two things. First, it is essential that Christians grow in faith. This is done through a devotion to God’s Word, prayer and Christlike living. Second, it is essential that reaching the lost be our No. 1 priority, that we spend time, energy and resources to reach more and more people for the kingdom of God.
May it be said of us that we were continuously strengthened in our faith and that the church grew in numbers daily.