Today’s reading is the story of a great journey. It’s the journey of Paul and his companions to take the Gospel to the world in obedience to the command of Christ in Matthew 28 to “make disciples of all nations.”
Let’s take a moment to consider some of the events along this journey. It’s a wild ride, but there is one simple thing that is the primary highlight of the whole story.
- Paul and his companions keep trying to preach the Gospel but are blocked again and again by the Holy Spirit before finally being allowed to take the Gospel to Macedonia.
- While there, they preach the Gospel to a businesswoman named Lydia and she comes to faith in Christ.
- Paul casts a demon out of a slave girl but because the girl was a source of income for her owners as a fortune teller, Paul and Silas are beaten and then thrown into prison.
- While in prison, Paul and Silas are worshiping and God causes an earthquake, which sets them free from their chains.
- The jailer thinks everyone has escaped so he is ready to kill himself. Paul stops him and preaches the Gospel to the jailer.
- The jailer and his entire household are born again.
- Paul and Silas preach the Gospel in Thessalonica and because Jewish leaders were jealous of the popularity of the Gospel message, they gather some wicked men and convince them to riot.
- Paul and Silas are sent in secret to Berea, where they preach the Gospel and many are born again.
- After the Jews in Thessalonica hear about the Jews in Berea getting saved, they show up in town and start another riot.
- Paul escapes to Athens.
- While Paul is waiting in Athens for his friends to show up, he is heartbroken over all the idolatry in that city so he starts preaching the Gospel every day to anyone who will listen.
- Paul ultimately preaches the Gospel in the Aropagus (which is where all the “smart” people would hang out).
- Paul goes from Athens to Corinth where he starts to work at his trade as a tent maker and preaches the Gospel every day.
- Paul goes to Ephesus and preaches the Gospel.
- Paul went to Caesarea, Antioch, Galatia, and Phrygia preaching the Gospel.
- Paul comes back to Ephesus and preaches the Gospel.
- He spends two years there, working at his trade and preaching the Gospel every day. God works through him in such a way that all the residents in Asia hear the message of Christ.
- God brings an incredible revival through Paul’s ministry. Miracles are being performed and many pagan magicians start burning their books of magic and repenting and getting saved.
- Because of Paul’s ministry and so many people being born again, the idol makers are nearly put out of business. So what do they do? They start a riot…of course.
What a life Paul and his companions lived! What amazing adventures and what an incredible impact they had on the world. Yet, when you look at the story of their journey, it’s really all very simple.
No matter where they were, or what they were doing, they had one single priority:
Preach. The. Gospel.
That’s it. That’s what life was about for them. Wherever they found themselves, they would preach the Gospel. It didn’t matter if they were at work, or in the public square, or in the cultural center of the city, or in prison, or in the middle of a riot! They focused on their only mission, which was to preach the Gospel.
Why do we insist on making things so complicated? Why do we insist on muddling our lives with so much, when our entire life as Christians comes down to this one very simple thing?
We are on this planet to preach the Gospel. Wherever we are, and whatever we are doing, let’s just preach the Gospel. It’s really that simple.
I’m going to let Paul have the last word here:
I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the Gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24, ESV)