January 11, 2019

Rob Patterson – Bishop, Allegheny Conference

Bible meditation: Acts 16:6-19:20 (spread of the gospel, Europe)

Not long ago, I read an article written by someone who had renounced his faith in Christ. What surprised me was his stated reason: poorly chosen similes in the lyrics of a worship song.

The author caused me to reflect more deeply on the cost of discipleship. It seems to me that the Bible is very explicit in communicating that those who follow Jesus will suffer. Through instruction and by example, we’re taught that those who claim Jesus as Lord gain the privilege of sharing in the power of his resurrection, as well as the fellowship of his sufferings.

As the Good News first penetrated the communities in Europe, Luke documents that God continued doing amazing things while bringing new life and light to those bound by sin and darkness. In doing so, his partners in the work suffered immensely.

Philippi: Beaten and jailed unjustly, they didn’t quit (Acts 16:22-24).

Thessalonica: Attacked by a mob, they fled by night, but they didn’t give up (Acts 17:5-10).

Berea: The Thessalonians came and stirred up trouble. Paul was escorted to Athens by the brethren. He didn’t throw in the towel (Acts 17:13-15).

Athens: The academic elite mocked Paul’s presentation. He didn’t stop preaching (Acts 17:32-33).

Corinth: The Jews resisted, blasphemed, and brought Paul before the judgment seat. He pressed on (Acts 18:5-13).

Ephesus: Some became hardened and disobedient and taught against the Way. So Paul took the believers and withdrew. He, along with the others, persisted (Acts 19:8-10).

Acts 19:20 reminds us the Word prevailed: “In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.”

Let’s pray that the Holy Spirit will empower us to keep the faith through thick and thin. Our God reigns!

Prayer:

Father, we ask you to give your body a continuous infilling of your Spirit. We pray that you will provide an ample supply of wisdom, courage, and strength as we persevere. Thank you! In Jesus’ name.