Preaching the Gospel gets two responses – rejection and acceptance. As Paul and Barnabas see favour in Pisidian Antioch and Iconium many are becoming disciples, experiencing “the word of grace and signs and wonders” 14:3, that leads to joy and Holy Spirit saturation.
Note that those “appointed to eternal life” are those that believe. This is the doctrine of election where God chooses those He will save. Some take this to the extreme and don’t do any evangelism – thinking that God will save the elect by himself, thank you. Nonsense! Treat everyone as if they are elect, tell them about the good news of God’s grace and He will save many who will grasp the security that being chosen brings!
See how the word of grace means the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit. As you grow in grace, are you finding your life is more and more characterised by joy and Holy Spirit saturation?
At the same time there is opposition – revival is happening alongside persecution. Satan hates people grasping the grace of God – receiving eternal life and growing in faith and actions. The very thing that they are growing in now, grace, will be the main attack thrust of Satan in Galatia over the next few years as Judaisers come in to try and entice grace-filled believers back to the law.
Notice also how Paul is happy to move on to the next area, trusting that God will grow the believers to carry on the work, so that when he returns he can appoint eldership that has emerged.
There are three things, therefore, that the devil will try to use to stop you growing in maturity and fruitfulness.
- ‘You’ll never amount to much, or do anything.’ Have you seen how God is using ordinary people to do mighty exploits. Don’t let the devil push you down, so you forget the great commission. You are a son and a saint no matter what they say;
- If that doesn’t work he’ll try to add a bit of law and self-effort to grace. God will fill you daily with His Spirit by grace not by going back to the 10 commandments. God will empower you to perform signs and wonders, but by grace not law;
- Lastly he will make you think it all depends on you, that you have to do it all. You can’t trust others to grow in grace like you did! That’s small minded thinking. We want to be people who train and release people to be and do what God calls them to.