Praying for Church Planting through the Book of Acts
The Gospel is a message about Jesus as King and his coming Kingdom. Jesus said that "no man can serve two masters" (Matt 6:24). This is why Paul received opposition when he left Philippi for Thessalonica. As he always did, his first stop was in the synagogue. Over the course of three weeks he taught about how Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament through his life, death, and resurrection and that he was the long-awaited Messiah (17:2-3). The already diverse church continue to grow in number and diversity as "many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women" (17:4) came to faith in Christ. Jealousy would prompt the Jews to start a riot against Paul. They accused them before the city authorities of being "men who have turned the world upside down" (17:6). The message of Christ and his Kingdom was viewed as a threat to the kingdom of Caesar. Despite their persecution of Christians, the Kingdom of God continued to advance against the kingdom of this world. So we pray that the message of the crucified king would turn our city upside down as many hear and believe.
Fearing for their safety the believers in Thessalonica sent Paul and Silas East to Berea. Once again Paul would begin his ministry in the synagogue. Though, this time, their reception was quite different. The Jews in Berea "were more noble than those in Thessalonica" (17:11a). Rather than opposing the message "they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so" (17:11b). Once again the church grew in number and diversity as Jews, women, and Greeks came to faith in Christ. But, their time in Berea would be cut short as the Thessalonican Jews would make the trip to Berea in order to stir up another riot against Paul and Silas (17:13). So Paul left by ship for Athens. So we pray for opportunity to share the word with those in our apartment community and neighborhood and that they would receive it with eagerness.