The gospel is like a pandemic. People are “infected” with the love of Christ. Often, without even realizing it, they “infect” others as they live out their faith. People notice the hope that is in them and want that hope for themselves.
That must have happened to 12 men in Acts 19:1-20 (read here). Paul enters the city of Ephesus on the west coast of what is now Turkey. The 12 had heard the gospel John the Baptist proclaimed. But they hadn’t heard that the Christ had come. They hadn’t heard that the Holy Spirit had been given. (In John 7:39 the same Greek phrase is translated “the Spirit had not been given.")
Then the fourth "wave" of the gospel pandemic strikes Ephesus. The Holy Spirit came on them just like he did on the disciples on Pentecost.
In Acts, the four waves of the Holy Spirit are:
- Acts 2 – Pentecost – The Holy Spirit overcomes the fear of the apostles.
- Acts 8 – The Holy Spirit overcomes racial divides.
- Acts 10 & 11 – The Holy Spirit overcomes efforts to make our salvation dependent on obedience.
- Acts 19 – The Holy Spirit overcomes incomplete knowledge.
In each of these events, the Holy Spirit makes his presence known in a miraculous way. The Holy Spirit washes away the obstacles and the gospel continues to spread.
This is our confidence as well. The Holy Spirit has overcome the COVID-19 obstacle, allowing the Church to share the gospel online in ways we could never have imagined. And the Holy Spirit will overcome the political, racial, economic divides in our nation right now. Let us pray: Come Holy Spirit in power and advance God’s Kingdom.
Our Old Testament lessons (read Psalms 97-102 here) begin with this kind of prayer that the kingdom advance. The gospel is for
- “distant shores” (Ps 97:1)
- “all the earth” (Ps 98:4)
- “all the nations” (Ps 99:2)
- “all the earth” (Ps 100:1)
Our daily reading ends with a prayer that we might live our lives in a way that glorifies the LORD (Psalm 101) and in Psalm 102 a prayer of an afflicted person who finds comfort in the fact that the Son of God is unchanging (compare Psalm 102:25-27 and Hebrews 1:10-12). It is often when we are in the midst of affliction that the LORD can use us to “infect” others with the hope that we have in Christ.
Worship with Us
New Small Group
I will be gathering a new small group that will meet on Zoom. So far we have people who want to join from Boston, Minneapolis and Milwaukee. Contact me if you would like more information.
No Saturday Service on July 4 because of the holiday.
God bless your day!