Sketchbook Devotional — Acts 14
The Work of God
“When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” — Acts 14:21–22
“And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. And they remained no little time with the disciples.”— Acts 14:27–28
The work of the Gospel is all God’s doing, but that doesn’t dismiss us from sharing the Gospel or loving our neighbor. If anything, it encourages us to continue on in our labor for the Gospel. Not don’t hear this wrong. I am not saying that our labor is the Gospel; rather, as we more fully understand the Gospel & all that Jesus has done for us we can’t help wanting to bear fruit & do so by sharing His truth & living in love for our fellow man. Out of this we have two things to remember:
- God is with us every step of the way in the good & bad. Paul, Barnabas, & the other disciples do not stop preaching the Gospel even when they are stoned & run out of towns. They also don’t take a break from preaching the Gospel when they are able to spend time with the disciples in different towns. They encourage them & then continue on in preaching the Gospel. They know that God’s power gives them strength & life because of the power of the cross of Christ. Sin is taken away & they know that nothing separates them from God as they labor to share this Good News.
- Cultivating a Gospel centered life takes time & commitment. In Acts we see a repeated pattern of gathering with fellow believers, then dispersing to go out & declare the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who do not know Him. Both gathering & then scattering are rooted in Christ. For us we gather for strength & encouragement with our fellow believers on Sunday for church & possibly in a small group time during the week. This gives us the strength for each of us to then go to our own specific walks of life where we get to live out & share the Gospel with those we interact with. It takes time & commitment because it’s our entire lives but we don’t have to do it alone. God knows that without community, ultimately we will fail in sharing the Gospel. We need the strength & encouragement of fellow Christians pointing us to Jesus so that when we go out to live out & share the Gospel we are reminded that God is with us & working in the good & the bad. God is the one who does the work, we are called to share what He is already doing.
What part of your life do you need to remember that God is with you today & everyday doing the work of the Gospel? How do you feel about living for the Gospel? Are you worn out or full of joy? Are you in between? No matter where you are pray to God to strengthen you & that you would remember that God is the one doing the work as you labor for the Gospel.