Acts Wrap-Up Video Devotional

This brings us to the end of the book of Acts. Jesus proclaimed in Acts 1:8, you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and Judea, in Samaria and to the ends of the earth, and here we are at the “partial” fulfillment of that. By partial fulfillment, we see that this is more of a now and not yet statement; it is applicable in the “now” because we watched through the book the gospel travel from Jerusalem at the point of Jesus’ ascension through Judea and Samaria and across the world, ending up in Rome. While Rome is not the end of the world, it is the explosion at the end of the wick, the catalyst point. Church history shows us that once the gospel takes seed in Rome, the movement explodes and takes root across the known world – this we can follow through well-researched church history. The “not yet” refers to the fact that the gospel has not yet reached every tribe, tongue, nation, and language. There is still more work to do.

This is where we come in. Jesus’ proclamation was not only meant for the disciples at the time, but His charge to the church as it moves and grows throughout history; a legacy that we today are a part of. This mission is currently ours, and it is our responsibility to handle that calling with serious effort. Matthew 24:14 tells us that Jesus won’t come back until every tribe and nation has had the chance to accept Him. Thus, our action (or inaction) today connect us to the legacy of people like Peter, Paul and Augustine (among many others) who gave all they had to this movement of Christianity.

What will you do? How can you be a part of such a legacy? Simple, by 1) connecting with people in your local community (whether or not they are similar to you) and loving them in the way Jesus did, and 2) putting your prayers and your dollars to work by supporting international workers reaching the unreached people groups. In all we do, we need to be looking for ways to make disciples. It’s a good thing we can trust that Jesus will be with us forever through the person of the Holy Spirit, leading the way as we follow in faith! I’ll see you on the front lines!

Acts 16:1-5 Video Devotional

“Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.” (Acts 16:1-5)

During Paul’s second missionary journey, he comes to the towns of Lystra and Derbe, thereby meeting a young man of a Jewish mother (who was a believer) and a Greek father. Meeting the dear, gentle-spirited Timothy, Paul was moved to bring him along and disciple Timothy into a young leader. We hear much about this young man in scripture and although he faces some intense trials and almost quits his post (some could argue he did leave his post) as the pastor in Ephesus. Yet, he led a fruitful, victorious life and (according to sources) died a martyr for Jesus.

One of the cool things to learn about Timothy is his maternal heritage. Both his mother and grandmother are named in the New Testament (2 Timothy 1:5) as his Christian legacy. They led by example and gave him a torch to pick up and run with. When Timothy was struggling, this legacy of women served as a reminder to him to fan the flame of the gift of God.

This serves as a reminder to us that however God calls us to lead and to whomever He calls us to lead, it makes no difference who we are: male/female, Jew/Greek, black/white, old/young, or anything else. God doesn’t look on the outside, He looks on the heart and places us in the situations He wants us. Paul told Timothy directly not to let anyone look down on him, but to lead by example (1 Timothy 4:12).

We are also reminded from the verses above of an interesting insertion in the text of Timothy’s late-in-life circumcision. This is interesting, because Paul notes in other places (specifically Galatians) that circumcising one’s self is not necessary for salvation. So why have Timothy circumcised? Why bend to the pressure of the Jews? By reading any other of Paul’s writings about the topic, it is clear that he does not bend to the pressure of the Judiazers, but focuses on salvation by Christ alone.

He has Timothy get circumcised because of what Paul said in 1 Corinthians – about being all things to all people so that by all means, he may save some. Timothy’s ministry included a lot of Jewish people, and Paul foresaw it being a hindrance to them if he was not cut. His circumcision would make it easier for some Jews to come to Jesus and learn the full truth.

That is a good note to us. As believers today, it is easy to push our rights on others – especially when we realize we do have it better. But pushing our rights (or perceived rights) on others usually tends to turn people away from us and Jesus, not towards. Maybe we could give up some of our freedoms for the benefit of others? Wouldn’t that be leading by example? I want to hear your thoughts! let me know in the comments.