Next Sunday (September 13th), we'll be discussing the vision and mission we believe God has given Redeeming Life Church for not only the next year, but for many years, even to the next few generations. In part, we'll open, read, and examine Acts 19 from God's Word.
Acts 19 records the events of Paul's ministry in Ephesus. As I read Acts 19, I wonder if God might do something like that in Salt Lake City? I hope and pray he does!
In Acts 19:23-41, a riot broke out in Ephesus. God's Word says the city was in great confusion for hours. The people packed a theater and shouted and chanted. The riot was ignited by the craftsmen who made the trinket-gods and Artemis bobble-heads. They were going out of business. At the preaching of God's Word, lives were changing and the citizens were no longer buying their false idols. Christian faith was putting the purveyors of lies out of work.
Now, I'm not advocating for a riot, but I would like to see a movement like this in Salt Lake. How did it happen in Ephesus?
Looking back to Acts 19:1-10, we see that Paul was preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. First he encountered some people who heard about Jesus from John the Baptist. They didn't have the rest of the story, so Paul told them and they believed and were filled with the Holy Spirit. Then we find that Paul was going places where he could preach and teach the Word of God. He went to the synagogue to teach the gospel until it became too hostile (and likely unfruitful). Then he started teaching the Word in the hall of Tyrannus. Speculation on this hall is plentiful, but we know with certainty that, "this continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks" (Acts 19:10). Paul was serious about preaching and teaching the gospel.
How serious was Paul? Well, serious enough that he was known in the camp of God's enemy.
In Acts 19:11-20, there's a story about some Jewish exorcists who tried to cast out a demon "by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims" (Acts 19:13). The evil spirit replied, "Jesus I know , and Paul I recognize, but who are you?" (Acts 19:15, italics added). Paul picked a fight with the enemy and the enemy knew his name. That's serious.
The result of Paul's work over those two years was enough to change the city by the power of the gospel. Idolatry was falling by the wayside. People were getting saved. And this frightened those who made a living selling the lies. Their solution was to wipe out Paul.
I often wonder if we are serving in such a way that the enemy, the real enemy, feels threatened? Is the devil aware of Redeeming Life Church? Are we serious like Paul was serious? Are we doing the right work that changes a city by the power of the gospel?
We'll be discussing our vision and mission this Sunday. If you'd like to pick a fight with lostness for the sake of God's Kingdom, please come join us!
See you Sunday at 11am at the Northwest Community Center.
Soli Deo gloria!