The Spread of the Gospel
“So the Word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed”
Acts 19:20 NKJV
At the end of Paul’s stay in Ephesus and toward the end of his third missionary journey, Luke makes a summary statement in Acts 19:20. You could actually say this is a very short and concise statement of everything that has happened up to that point.
It has been about 23 years since the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. That means it’s been about 23 years since the great Commission had been given to the church. It also has been about 21 years since Paul became a believer. And, it has been about 12 years since Paul went on his first missionary journey as a church planter. And, at this time Paul had been preaching in Ephesus for almost three years.
In that amount of time, the Gospel has been preached in most of the known world. Luke describes the spread of the Gospel this way: it “grew mightily and prevailed.” He is describing the spread of the Gospel in agricultural terms. The NLT translation says: “So the message about the Lord spread widely and had a powerful effect.” The Christian Standard Bible translates it: “In this way the word of the Lord flourished and prevailed.” The picture here is of a productive and fruitful vineyard or orchard.
The power and effect was in the message of the Gospel. The spreading of the Gospel was the result of people like Paul, Apollos, Peter, Philip, Priscilla and Aquila, and everyday men and women who told others about Jesus.
The spreading of the Gospel included times when people where open to the Gospel as well as times when they were closed to the Gospel. It spread, flourished, and prevailed even in the midst of opposition and persecution.
Fast-forward 2000 years. The summary statement written then can be written today. The Gospel is still effective and still prevails. The question is then, is it still spreading? The answer is yes if there are still men and women who are telling others about Jesus. The bigger question is, am I spreading the Gospel?
It is our prayer that Rose of Sharon will be a church where the Gospel is preached and taught and the everyday members are working to spread the gospel in our area and beyond.
I love you and it’s a privilege to be your pastor.