And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. ~ Acts 13:48, 49 (ESV)
READING: II Timothy 4:1-8
Jesus is Lord of church planting. He is the one who blesses and He is the one who defines “success.” Sometimes He builds churches of multiple thousands and other times His church plants are of modest size. But in the end He accomplishes His purposes: to glorify Himself and to bring men and women to a saving knowledge of Him.
Paul’s church planting throughout Acts 13 was anything but easy. By the world’s standards, Paul often would not be considered a success. He taught in the synagogues (vv. 4, 14ff ), rebuked evil men (v. 10), preached to city-wide audiences (v. 44), but then was driven out of town (v. 50). Later he was violently attacked and left for dead (14:19, 20).
But Paul’s role was to be faithful and obedient, and he was. When the Gentiles first heard the gospel, the news was so wonderful they rejoiced and glorified God’s word! Throughout Paul’s journeys, the Scripture notes that all those people whom God, the Lord of church planting “had appointed to eternal life believed.” So God’s word continued to spread.
Paul was a successful church planter, not because He built huge congregations but because he faithfully preached the gospel in the face of opposition and disappointment. And the Lord of church planting used this faithful man to train leaders, preach the gospel, save lost people, and start churches throughout Asia and all the way into Europe!
Lord Jesus, Grant me success according to Your plan and will. May I be found faithful to preach the gospel and to persevere, knowing You are the Lord of all! Amen.
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