How to reach your city, your community… your nation with the gospel (from Acts 19)

Acts 19 records one of the most remarkable accounts of the gospel’s impact on an area and the growth of the Church to be found anywhere in human history! That account was a part of my Bible reading this morning during “coffee with the Lord.”
The question that came to my mind as I read Acts 19 this morning was, how do you influence a community or city for Christ (in this case, it was Ephesus – a pagan city of several hundred thousand people)… But more than that, how do you impact an entire nation with the gospel (in this case it was ancient Asia – modern Turkey)? The facts are, in less than a three period of time, not just Ephesus was reached with the gospel; all the churches that Apostle John writes to in Revelation in addition to the congregation at Colossae were planted! What began with just three Spirit-filled believers, ended up threatening an entire pagan stronghold (Ephesus – the “temple keeper of the great Artimus” and “she whom all Asia and the world worship” – vss. 35, 27) and vibrant, healthy congregations were planted all over ancient Asia… in less than three years! Wow! You really need to read the chapter!
My prayerful reflection this morning resulted in several suggestions as to how this incredible growth of the church and impact of the gospel occurred:
1. No question about it, the sovereignty of God – the “winds of the Spirit were blowing in Asia! (John 3:8)
2. The simple (but powerful) message of the gospel (Romans 1:16-17)
3. Spirit-filled believers who shared their witness with others – neighbors, friends and family! (Acts 19:1-7)
4. A determination not to be constrained by the limitations of a building… or anything else for that matter in communicating the gospel… Creative energy at work just finding effective ways to do it! (Acts 19:8-10)
5. The refusal to allow resistance by the organized religious community to discourage or hamper witness and ministry. (Acts 19:8-10)
6. The supernatural activity of the Holy Spirit and ministry “in Jesus’ name” – “signs and wonders!” (Acts 19:11-20)
7. No soft-pedaling of the need for “repentance” (calling people to repudiate and turn from their pagan past to the Lord). (Acts 19:18-20)
8. Willingness, if need be, to suffer for Jesus’ sake. (Acts 19:23-41)
Really nothing new and dramatic here – Just “vanilla” principles! But non-negotiables, it seems to me, if we want to reach our cities, our communities… our nation, with the gospel!

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