Growing up, I hated being away from home. I was the definition of a home bird. I remember growing up and mum and dad (out of kindness) getting me to go to a week-long summer camp, it was in Kilkeel, but to me, it felt like another planet. I think I lasted two nights, and three days before I demanded to return to the safety of the family home. Thankfully as the years passed, I grew up, and my faith deepened so too did my desire to see more: In 2009 I had the opportunity to travel to Senegal with a small team there to see the work of Christian Missionaries working in remote places. In 2011, I had a chance to go to Guinea-Bissau to know a friend who had been working there during a Gap Year, and then partakes in some practical work; Then in 2015 I headed to Tanzania for three months; In 2016, I headed to Kenya, to work with the local Anglican church in Kenya; In 2018. Finally, I was able to go to the Acts 29 European conference, where I heard stories of faithfulness throughout Europe Godly men and women serving God in their places — seeking to Glorify him and bring people to a living faith in Christ — loving because of the love they had received. Churches different in form, style and size: yet, shaped by the same Gospel and desire. To see Jesus glorified and shape the lives of the towns in which those people found themselves called to. I do not tell you of these trips for you to marvel at my cultural diversity. I mention them only as a glimpse, a foretaste of what we see in our passage today and because they are a fruit of the labour of Pauls ministry, they are a direct result of the events we see in Acts 18, when Paul began to change focus on his mission from the Jews to the gentiles. They are a replication of the investment we see Paul making in Priscilla and Aquila, and they to Apollos. They are the Church of God, the Kingdom of Christ moving to the end of the earth. Those trips, where moments that I will be forever thankful because, in those moments, I was reminded of the beauty of the Gospel and the power of God. That God does what he said he would do, and to this Day, his church is alive and spreading through the proclamation of the Gospel, love, sacrifice and service to the ends of the world.
THE BOOKS OF ACTS: AN EARLY HISTORY OF A NEW KINGDOM
Acts is the second work of Dr Luke, who has researched and recorded the life of Jesus and the early history of the church. They are both two of my favourite reads, just the way Luke writes and seems to write and captures how the story of Jesus flows into the Story of the Early Church. They are not two separate books, they are two volumes of a story that is yet to end, a story which we are a part of. A history of a new Kingdom, with a King like no other than is stretching to the ends of the earth. An account that we are to learn from, and a history that we are writing today.
Acts is about the growth of the early church: honest, hopeful, and inspiring. It exists to teach us, inspire us, and at some times rebuke us. Show us what can go wrong and show us what can be. As you have journeyed through it over the last while you have crossed over so much:
- The preparation for the coming of the Spirit (1:1-26)
- The Establishment of the Church (Acts 2:1-47)
- The Church in Jerusalem (Acts 3-8:3)
- The Jerusalem Churches witness in Judea and Samaria (8:4-12:25)
- The Witness of the Church to the ends of the World (13-28)
We find ourselves in that fourth and final section of the book. Thus, it is essential for us to remember the bigger picture to understand what this passage is teaching us. Acts 18 is an important chapter, it is only 28 verses, but it covers three significant periods in Pauls Gospel Work:
- A Year and a half spent in Corinth (Acts 18:1-17)
- A Trip to Antioch (Acts 18:18-22)
- The beginning of Pauls third and final Missionary Journey (18:23)
- 3.1: Disciples Strengthened in Galatia (18:23)
- 3.2: Aquilla and Priscilla join in the work.
So as we look at Acts Chapter 18, let’s remember this is a history like no other, it is a history that reveals the living God, that should impact how we live today like no other can.
PASSAGE INTRODUCTION (18:1-6)
From the start of Chapter 18, we are given some essential details. Specifically, Paul has left Athens and is on the way to Corinth. Or to phrase it another way: Paul has left the Intellectual Capital of the Roman World (Modern Day Cambridge) and is now making his way to the sensual Capital of the Roman World (Modern Day LA) where people were seekers of desire. Roughly speaking Corinth was some fifty miles west of Athens and was in itself an important trading port. We know it was a dark city spiritually by Pauls letters.
The start of chapter 18 follows a similar pattern for Pauls missionary Journeys, Paul heads to the Synagogue to preach Christ and allow the Lord to use him. He heads to the Synagogue because there the people would have had some understanding of the basics of the Jewish faith, and they where the people God had first come to save. Yet, it is not an easy commission, for after he has set himself up with Aquilla and Priscilla economically (v3), Paul spent as much time an effort as he could in the Synagogues reasoning about Jesus, seeking to lead people to the Lord. So devoted was he about the task that when Silas and Timothy returned from checking the churches in Macedonia Paul was too busy, to engage in the work of the Lord to hear from them.
Yet, it is not easy. The sense is one of Paul labouring away without seeing much response. Like trying to cut a tree down with a blunt axe. Thus, in verse six we see a drastic change in course. From the whole narrative in acts we know that Paul will spend as much time with a crowd where it is welcome and interest, even if there is no immediate fruit: He is willing to invest more than just words to see people come to faith, he will put in time and commitment. What he will not do is waste time where there is no welcome, where there is only hostility. Thus, we are presented with the image of Paul not just leaving but shaking the dust off his garments. Another expression o the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 10:14 – Where there is no welcome, move on and shake the dust of your feet.
When Paul wrote to his brother in Christ Timothy, he said: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” (3:16). It is a simple statement of the truth of the living word that every part of it teaches something. We learn about the normality of mission, while Paul travelled he worked. He had to make a living. Thus, he made tents. It is a reminder to each of us of the different tasks, abilities and gifts God has given us, and then how he will use them. To follow God does not always mean something drastic, it means using the skills we have to do the work of God. Yes, Pauls primary role and purpose was to preach the Gospel, reach the gentiles and build Gods church but, he would not have been able to do that without his skills as a tent maker. So those moments when he was not preaching but was doing something practical with his hands to survive were as equally important in the broader schemes of things. We are not all called to be preachers, teachers, academics. Regardless of our qualifications, Jobs or titles, God uses us in different ways for the same purpose.
The second thing I see from this is the importance of teamwork and community. In six verses the passage mentioned two separate groups of people who work with Paul. Priscilla and Aquila – who as we see later are distinguished servants and then Silas and Timothy who returned from Macedonia. God has specific tasks for us, and some of us will walk different routes. However, regardless of what God calls us to or how he will use us we will never walk this journey alone. Not only is God always with us through the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, but fundamentally the Christian call is a call to community, to join in the family of as it builds the Kingdom of God. To become part of the Body of Christ, regardless of which part God calls us to be working together as one body for the purpose of the head – Jesus.
WHEN GOD IN ON OUR SIDE (7-17)
You can imagine the frustration Paul must have felt. It is one thing to labour without love, it is completely another thing to be with those who not only do not respond but who actively work to oppose you. Even though Pauls focus now begins to change to those outside the Jewish faith, it is not that he has given up on them, he loves them and wants them to know the good news of the Gospel. So he changes tactics, removing himself from the Synagogue and setting himself up in a house next door. The work stays the same, yet, sometimes we have to change how we go about it, Paul reminds us of that here. Yet, because of his labours, Paul starts to see the Lord at work in the hearts of people, both Jew and Gentile as we see (v8) with Crispus the Jewish leader of the Synagogue and his household getting baptised and then many Non-Jewish Corthinians hearing Paul, believing and then declaring their faith through baptism. Regardless of the what fruit Paul was seeing it must have been hard: 1) by the fact that the shock of the dust of his garment at those opposing him, and the next verses:
One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, “Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent! 10 For I am with you, and no one will attack and harm you, for many people in this city belong to me.” (Acts 18:9-10 NLT)
When the opposition got to serve, Paul would generally move on. We are not too sure of the broader picture, but we can assume from the passage and from God speaking to Paul that he was getting tired of his work in Corinth, and with that tiredness, his mind started to think about what next. No doubt he was praying that the Lord would direct him to where he must plant Gospels seeds yet. Wonderfully we are reminded that it is not us who makes plans but God. God himself speaks to Paul with dual reasoning:
1) That his sufferings and hardships have not been in vain, and through them, all God has been protecting Paul and guiding him. Further still while Paul is doing Kingdom work in Corinth, he will come to no physical harm. Why? “because I (Yahweh) am with you.”
2) There is work to be done, and God intends for results. Thus, Paul must go on speaking, refusing to remain silent. The sense of which is not just a command for Paul to not take breaks from speaking, but to talk even when attempts are made to stop him. To speak when there are those who declare that you have nothing to say, to speak when the World claims it does not want to hear, to speak because what is spoken is the most important things. Thus, God not only encourages Paul of his protection but commissions him to the task, then assures him of the result – “I have many in this city that belongs to me.”
God declares to Paul: “Get on with the task for I am with you!” and with such an assurance what else could you do? It is why Paul bases himself in Corinth for another year and a half, longer than he would stay in any one place (apart from Ephesus) doing what God had called him to do – preach. Paul remained in the area that at the start had seemed most resistant to his message because God revealed that it was most in need of his message, he stayed and laboured with love and faithfulness teaching the scriptures to any and all.
Specifically, Paul responded to the command the Lord had given to him. He remained faithful to the task at hand, heeding the word of God over the circumstances he found himself in. How easy would it have been for Paul to dismiss the vision as not God, and ignore the truth that God was revealing, then set out and make his own decisions:
“No, it is too hard here, so I am going to go back to Athens.”
Instead, he was faithful to the task that God had called him to, in the place that God had placed him; faithfulness which means God could work through him to fulfil his plan. The devotion that acts as an example to us, while we don’t often have God speaking through visions, what we do have is the spoken word of God written down, spoken word that speaks the same truth, and instructs in the same way. Thus, as we live and work, and seek to bring the light of Christ into the World we by the power of the Spirit in us trust the word of God in the same way. Not ignoring our circumstance or hardship but trusting that the God who raised Jesus from the dead and gives us eternal life is more significant than them and is going to use them for our good, his Glory and his purpose. Trusting that God has us where he has us for a reason – because that is what the Bible tells us. So as Paul was told to keep speaking and never be silent, so we must keep talking/living so that the light of Christ is made known. We are commissioned with the same task.
AN EXAMPLE OF GODS PROTECTION (ACTS 18:12-17)
What Follow’s is a strange scene in many ways. Paul has been encouraged and inspired again to the task at hand, staying another 18 months in Corinth, seeing fruit. When out of nowhere Gallio the proconsul of Achaia makes an appearance, marking a new season of opposition to what has been happening. We are told that such The proconsul was the chief judicial officer of an area, and we know from historical documents outside the Bible the Gallio served in this role form 51-52AD; a tribunal was the proconsuls seat of judgement – basically, it was the Roman equivalent of the Crown Court.
The introduction of such a scene serves the narrative in several different ways. First, it should encourage us: There would not be an attempt to undercut the work that Paul had been doing if the work he was doing had not been successful. So successful it seems that it manages to unite the Jews to oppose it. Pauls preaching and ministry were having such an effect that it was taken from across the whole spectrum of the Jewish people, to the point where they united in opposing it. Secondly, it is a reminder of the reality of the World we live in, where the prince of sin still reigns. Paul was in no way doing anything that was disobedient, would cause civil strife. He is only living out his faith in a way that it called him to, yet, it still attracted negative attention. When the Gospel when preached does not just impact an individual heart (that is the primary purpose and target of Preaching) it begins to impact every facet of society, as more people turn to Christ they turn to the things of Christ away from the structures of the World. In essence, as people were converted to Christ people were losing power and influence, so they had to do something to stop it. That something was bringing Paul before a secular court, over what was an internal spiritual matter.
It was an event that shows us a possible form of opposition to our faith. Specifically, when we faithful to Christ. Yet, it is an event that also encourages us because we see success, and we understand that regardless of who is being successful it will always draw opposition. But the primary purpose of this interaction is an example: Luke uses this strange encounter, of a united Jewish resistance bringing Paul before a secular court: representing two of the main challenges to the early church not too discourage us, but to show us the sovereign rule of God at work in the life of Paul. For the God who spoke just a few: “Keep on preaching, do not be silent you will come to no harm because I am on your side!” displays his sovereign protection, guiding hand and rule over all things. For no sooner is the charge spoken: “This man is persuading people to worship God contrary to the law”, and no sooner than Paul begins to defend himself: “when Paul was about to open his mouth,” does God Act. Specifically, God is faithful to his word – he will do what he says he will do – Thus, even before Paul has spoken Gallio has made his mind up. This is not just luck on Paul’s side that Gallio could not be bothered a certain morning. It is the sovereign outworking of the protection God promised Paul. So close and powerful is the God of the Bible that he will do his work in the hearts of those who would not know him. Luke places this passage here to remind us of the faithful Protection of God, even in the smallest ways. Thus, by Gods guidance Gallio dismisses the case against Paul: “But since it is a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves. I refuse to be a judge of these things.”
ENCOURAGING & TRUSTING (18:18-23)
The next section of the passage is essential within the bigger context of Acts. It marks Paul laying out some of the foundations for his third missionary journey. Yet, even then he would not have known it, but we see the work of God through his decisions even now. For me, this passage teaches us two valuable lessons: The importance of teamwork and the necessity of encouragement.
We see the importance of teamwork in a straightforward sentence: “accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila…. when they reached Ephesus he left them there.” Already we have seen something of a spiritual journey of discipleship. We are only introduced to Priscilla and Aquila at the beginning of Chapter 18, then after 19 verses, they have left all they knew to join one of Pauls missionary journeys. Those 19 verses roughly represent 2 years, thus the time in which they meet Paul they have come to faith and matured as disciples of Christ. To the point where Paul feels capable of not only bringing them along but leaving them to it. There is no doubt, Paul is one of the most influential people in human history, his writing has shaped the World as we know it. He must have been a capable man, but no matter our gifting, ability, purpose or plan we all need help.
Especially in the things of Christ, Kingdom work is not the call of the lone wolf, the lone ranger. It is a call to the body of Christ to work together, to add the body. That call is as much a reality for Paul as for me and you today, thus, Paul models what Christ taught – Teamwork. As Jesus journeyed with the disciples, he realised them to grow in there ability, gifting and calling. In the same way Paul from his encounter with Priscilla and Aquila, has journeyed with them in their discipleship helped them mature into the things of Christ, and now trusts them with the work of Christ. His “leaving them in Ephesus” was not because he was sick of them already, it was because he needed them there. He left them to get on with the work of the Gospel in Ephesus while he got on with his work elsewhere. It was part of their maturity in faith and their journey. It was Gospel-Team work, an image of the body of Christ spread across a vast geographical area doing the work of Christ. The same should be true of us today, as we journey with Jesus and mature, as Christ shapes our hearts and lives then we should be trusted. In the body of Christ, in the church, we are all equal so as we grow we join. With maturity comes responsibility. I am not called to do this alone, we are called to do it together. Thus, regardless of who we are, our gifting or ability we must not shy away from serving and helping out. God calls us to use us.
Intertwined with Priscilla and Aquila in this section is Pauls journey: through Jersulam, Antioch then “travelling through one place after another in the region of Galatia and Phrygia. “This time it is not to covert, or seek new people. It is to strengthen what has already been built. The CEV puts it: “He helped the followers there to become stronger in their faith. “Other translations talk about Paul helping to establish people in their faith. Regardless, it serves as a reminder and a challenge for all us of. There is the initial step in the journey, that choice to follow Christ, then there is every step after that. Paul was not just concerned with getting people over the line of faith, he was concerned to keep on going, keep on walking. For Paul, it was not just about: “Getting people saved” his heart was as much to see people keep on walking, keep growing into the things of Christ. Hence he spent time and effort travelling round and growing what had already been planting, building on the foundations that already existed. Why? Because a body looks after itself, the best thing for the church is a healthy church. There is no little point in leading people to faith, encouraging them to join churches if those churches where not places that they could contain that journey of faith. Places where those people could grow. Thus, Paul spends time establishing and developing people because he cannot do it all. Healthy, Mature, Growing Christian means a Church able to do the work God has called us to and an environment where new believers are safe to put down roots, learn the things of Christ and join in the work of Christ. We are reminded of the importance of investing, we are to be disciples who help strengthen the faith of others, who encourage, invest and grow. This is one of the outworkings of our worship, our discipleship – we help each: Study, prayer, encouragement, time, community, fun, church, small groups basically anything that has a positive influence on the faith of another. We are not just concerned with the new believers, we are involved with all believers. The inverse of someone who can help followers become stronger in their faith is someone who is growing in their own faith. That which does not have life, can not in itself give life. Thus, if we are to be people who encourage one another in faith, we must be individuals who are committed to our own growth. So the same things we might use to help someone else in faith we spend on ourselves.
THE FRUIT OF GROWTH: (Acts 18:24-28)
The passage finishes this morning, away from Paul. The meanwhile in verse 24 tells us that this is happening while Paul is travelling helping followers there to become stronger in their faith, the followers he left are doing the same thing. It is a beautiful picture. Paul meets Priscilla and Aquila two years previous, lead them to the Lord, then disciples them as they matured in their faith. Now, we see them meeting Aquila and replicating the same process. It is fantastic, encouraging and challenging to us, as the Paul left two people in Ephesus to do Kingdom work and moved on to strengthen the faith of the young church, they replication the same process.
We are introduced to Apollos, who is presented impressively. He was “eloquent,” “mighty in the Scriptures,” “fervent in the spirit” and “instructed in the way of the Lord” all according to verse 24. Thus, from the off he would be someone you would think is well established in the faith, almost “ahead” of Priscilla and Aquila. Yet, he was not quite there. It was not that he was being unfaithful to God, he only had half the story, he only understood the things in of Christ in light of the baptism of John. Luke seems to suggest that while he knew of the life and teaching of Jesus and faithfully taught them, he had somehow missed out on his death, burial and resurrection – “the baptism of Jesus.” Thus, Apollos had not heard of the Baptism Christ had commanded before his ascension:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28)
Thus, in verse 26 we are presented with the image of Priscilla and Aquila hearing Apollos, while obviously being impressed, hearing his message and having the maturity of faith to know that while it was faithful, it was lacking. It is a beautiful picture of the fruits of Pauls labours as two relatively young, yet mature Christians are used as an example for generations to come. Notice firstly, that they surveyed the situation; they didn’t hear error from Apollos and immediately turn into the Gospel police, they took time to listen to all he had to say and more importantly (in our example) see the heart behind what was being said. They understood that he was not speaking out of selfish desire, he was not using the things Christ for selfish ambition, thus not really caring about “faithfulness” he was concerned about Christ and as far as he knew to be faithful. Therefore, we have the image of Priscilla and Aquilla taking him aside and explaining to him further things of Christ. It is essential to note from the original language that the word translated explain into our bibles is plural: meaning both Priscilla (a women) and Aquila (a man) helped Apollos understand. They worked as a team and encouraged another member of the team to the same task.
Thus this passage closes by exampling the things it has been calling us to. For not only do we see Paul modelling the way of Christ, we see it being replicated the third sphere. Paul encouraged Priscilla and Aquila, they encouraged Apollos and acts 18 finished with him desiring to go on to Achaia to attend to the same task – strengthening the faith of others. Beautifully his desire is met with support and practical encouragement as his brothers and sisters encouraged him in the mission, that is they recognised his ability and call. Then wrote to the disciples in Achaia there to welcome him. Finally, chapter 18 finished with Apollos is a great blessing to those whom he went to, not only does he encourage the body of the believer, he also becomes a great Apologist of the faith as he “vigorously refuted his Jewish opponents in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah.” (Acts 18:28 NIV) Through a broader study of scripture, we know that Apollos would become an excellent resource for the body of Christ and aid to Paul. All because Paul invested in Aquila and Priscilla and they took time to invest in Apollos, so let us never underestimate the effect of time and relationships.
CONCLUSION & SUMMARY APPLICATION
There is so much in this passage, almost too much for one session. It should leave us challenged and encouraged in our own faith. We see God at work and examples of how what we are called too. I think the critical verses for this who chapter are 9 and 10:
“The Lord said to Paul in a night vision, “Don’t be afraid, but keep on speaking and don’t be silent. I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to hurt you, because I have many people in this city.”
They are the summary of all that we have seen. The issuance of the protection of God, then the commission placed on Paul and by transmission Aquila and Priscilla, then Apollos right the way to we who are disciples today. So quite simple let’s get on with it. Let us be a people who are faithful to the task that we have been called because we are confident in the Lords promises over the circumstances we have found ourselves in. Working where God has us, with the skills that he has given us inspire of the opposition we might face. All the while being bold in our own faith, making sure that we are a people who are strengthening ourselves so that we can reinforce each other, the natural outworking of is the story of Aquila and Priscilla with Apollos: Where true life is known, and roots are grown, seeds are planted as a natural consequence, and the Kingdom of God continues to grow, and as it becomes, lives, communities are transformed for by Christ for Christ.
While this passage, seems so grand, so daunting in many ways as God works and guides all things according to his will. There are a couple of practical points that we see, that should encourage, challenge and inspire we who are disciples today. So while we ascent to the truth of God’s Sovereign rule, that he will fulfil his mission on earth by his hand, and nothing will stand against it. While we marvel at the energy, ability and commitment of Paul. Labouring to the task in Corinth, preaching and debating Christ, discipling Priscilla and Aquila, then moving on the Ephesus and further to encourage the church there. Let us following a few of the simple points we see here.
1) Committed Students of The Word.
First, the commitment of Paul, to study. Paul had a call on his life and stuck to it, he proclaimed Christ, debating and defend the good news of the Gospel. To do this, Paul had to be active in the word of God. There is no sense of staleness in Pauls ministry: he can deal with an assault on the Gospel, whether it is some philosophical waffle from thinking Greeks or legalistic additions via Jewish converts. Again and again Paul defends, defeats and draws people back to the simple truth of Christ. He can only do this because he is active in the word of God, Paul has grasped the ongoing reality of Christ, that while we come to him once, we must go to him daily in study and reflection and allow him to shape us. Thus, Paul is diligent to Gods word. I have heard it said that Christians spend to much time on theology and not enough time on Jesus. The simple truth of the Gospel is there is no separating the two. You cannot talk about Jesus without doing theology, and the greatest threats to the Gospel are misunderstandings around Jesus – lousy theology. Thus, as Paul is, and does in the passage, we must be committed to the plain truth of Jesus as is presented here, and as like Paul and Apollos, we must be a people ready to defend the truth. That means we know what we believe, and why we believe it, and we know the challenges that the world is throwing at our faith. Through study, we prepare to both know the question and then answer. Let us be a people committed to truth, and able to defend it. As 1 Peter 3:15 instructs us:
” but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, ready at any time to give a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.”
2) Committed to the Cause
The Second example we see here is one of commitment to the cause. We see it in the case of Paul in a couple of different ways. Firstly, the relationship that develops with Priscilla and Aquila throughout this passage, he meets them as unknowns, and they become part of his life. Then, with time as the narrative develops, they become not just disciples but vital to the work of God in acts. Thus, Pauls relationship with them is not merely passive, it is committed. He does not just lead them to faith, he leads them in faith and helps them to mature into the things of Christ, then when they are ready, he releases them into faith, leaving them in Ephesus to build the church there. Then we see it in how Paul labours for two years in Corinth. He is committed to the proclamation of the Gospel, and nothing will distract him, not even when friends arrive, or when he is requested to stay in the area. Such is his truth in the Lord and his commitment to the call, through spiritual wisdom, he can discern what he is meant to do and stay committed to it. Thus, he labours longer than he usually would in Corinth, Paul moves on to new areas when he is requested to remain in Ephesus. Let us be a committed people.
3) Committed to People
Perhaps the most potent aspect of this passage is the power of relationships. In it, we see Paul model, not just a commitment to the meta-mission the proclamation for the Gospel, but also to the micro-mission: the discipleship of people. Paul is committed to the people who’re paths he crosses. We see his commitment to the development of Priscilla and Aquila, and we see his dedication in his moving across the churches to encourage them. Furthermore, we see the fruits of his commitment to people and why equally we must commit to the micro. As Paul invested in Priscilla and Aquila over the years, they matured and grew in faith and become leaders in the church and replicated the process that had been made known to them. As they had received, so they poured out; thus, when Priscilla and Aquila arrived in Ephesus they also invested in Apollos, correcting the limits of his faith and encouraging him in the apparent call on his life, and the gifts he was using. Then beautifully as Apollos received, so he replicated, when he moved on to a new church, he became a gift to them, building them up in the faith and defending the truths of Christ in the public square. So let us never be a people who underestimate the power of the one, and the importance of commitment to the micro: the one-to-one. We never known the fruits of those we might be pouring into. Let us be a people committed to people and the power and potential of relationships in a world that tried to tempt us otherwise.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”