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November 14, 2018, 8:00 AM

From One To Many

Church Family: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

“So the churches … grew daily in numbers” (Acts 16:5).

Today’s passage, Acts 16:1-5, begins with the word “He” and ends with the word “numbers.” It moves from one to many, describing a widening circle that ought to characterize the life of every church. How does it happen? How do we move from one to many? Three factors in this passage stands out.

1. The power of a mother’s faith. There was a wonderful young Christian at Lystra named Timothy. We can credit that fact to his mother’s stalwart faith. His mother was “a Jewess and a believer,” and his father was “a Greek” but not a believer. Timothy was the product of a divided home, a religiously and culturally divided home. As he grew into manhood, somehow the faith of his mother overcame the pagan influence of his father, and Timothy made his choice to follow Christ. Years later Paul will commend Timothy for his “sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Tim. 1:5). Faith lived in Timothy because it was first lived before him in the persons of his grandmother and mother. The father remained immune, it would seem, but that faith proved contagious to Timothy. It is not easy to stand for Christ in a divided home. But such a stand is going to create an opportunity for others to find Jesus.

2. The wisdom of an apostle’s choice. We are told in Acts 16:2-3 that Paul recruited Timothy for his missionary labors, after “the brothers… spoke well of him” to the apostle. He began to travel and preach with Paul, sharing the life and work of one of the foremost exponents of Christianity in the first century. What a rare opportunity for a young man! How effectively Timothy served is beautifully attested in Paul’s letter to the Philippians, “I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel” (2:20-22). Unselfishly committed to Christ’s cause, Timothy proved to be Paul’s favorite helper, fully vindicating the wisdom of the apostle’s choice.

3. The secret of a church’s growth. Acts 16:5 declares, “So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.” The word “so” looks back to the causes of this faith and growth. One of the causes is stated – obedience to the apostolic teaching. “As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey” (v. 4). Those decisions were made by the council, whose meeting is recorded in chapter 15. They can be summed up in two statements: We are saved by faith, and we exhibit our faith in love.

The other cause of the church’s growth is implied – it’s witness to the world. Churches can experience biological growth, as children of Christian parents become Christians in turn. Timothy is an example of this. But daily growth is possible only where the gospel is being shared with the outside world, and those who hear it are brought to faith in Jesus. Therefore, how do we move from one to many? By winning our kids to Jesus, the training of gospel workers, and the evangelism of our community.

Let’s pray: O Lord God, may we be faithful evangelists for You and may Your Kingdom grow. Amen.

You are Loved!

Pastor Jason Stevens


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