Acts 19:10 This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.
Reading this, we first need to realize that what was called Asia in those days was essentially what we call Turkey today. Even so, that is a large area to have been covered in two years from a city on the southern coast, particularly in light of the fact that they didn’t even have printing presses back then, much less electronic communications. That said, it struck me just now that this doesn’t say “received,” it says “heard.” Hearing doesn’t necessarily mean repenting and believing, as in the Jews mentioned in verse nine. That said, people need to hear if they are to have the opportunity to repent and believe, so getting the word out is extremely important. Today we have electronic means of communication that would have been beyond the dreams of those in Paul’s day, but the very overload of information causes people not to digest much of what comes in. In some ways that’s entirely appropriate, because there’s a lot of junk out there. That calls for all the more skill in those who are presenting the word of the Lord, along with intense prayer for the help of the Holy Spirit. This chapter starts by telling of some believers who had never even heard of the Holy Spirit. (verse 2) Probably very few Christians are in that boat today, but at the same time a majority of Christians ignore the Holy Spirit in their daily lives. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus, and as He said, apart from Him we can do nothing. (John 15:5) We are to use every means at our disposal to inform people of the Gospel of salvation in Christ, but we must do so with a profound awareness of our inability to do it effectively in our own strength. We aren’t to take it personally when people reject the Gospel, any more than Paul did in Ephesus, but rather keep seeking out those whose hearts are open to receive.
I have been ministering in Omura for 39 years this month, with what some would call minimal results. However, the Word has gone out, and some have received it. Recently we started live Internet broadcasts of our services, and the number of people reached each week has literally jumped by a factor of eight or more, with considerable potential for further growth. As I write, our church website is being totally redone, making it more accessible and attractive. All of that is in line with a prophetic statement by a missionary friend of mine from Hong Kong, who said that the ministry of this church was going to be multiplied through the Internet. That is all exciting, but we still have the basic reality that we can do nothing apart from Christ, apart from the flow and power of His Spirit. I am to keep moving forward, building on the foundation He has allowed me to lay in the hearts of many, both believers and those who are not yet believers, so that the result will be entirely in and of Him, for His glory not only in this city but around the world.
Father, this really brings to mind Jesus’ statement that “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14) Help me play the part You have for me in that, for a mighty end-time harvest, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!