“Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was Jewish and a believer but whose father was a Greek. 2 The believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. 3 Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4 As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.” Acts 16.1-5
Much was happening in the early church. Growth was explosive. Its not unlike what is happening now at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky where God’s power is being freely poured out upon believers. What began in a chapel last Wednesday, is continuing today. Students and adults are remaining in Hughes Auditorium for days on end seeking the presence of God. It’s reminiscent of the Great Asbury Revival in the 1970’s.
Paul is at the forefront of this ministry. Even after the split with Barnabas, it is Paul whom we follow. His work is a significant work of the Spirit. Churches are “strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.”
As they come to the house of Timothy who had a Jewish mother and a Greek father. The text says that Paul wanted to take Timothy along on the journey and “they all knew that his father was a Greek.” What baffles me is why was Timothy required to be circumcised? If there is no longer Greek nor Jew, slave nor free, male nor female, as Paul writes, then why the additional requirement? I assume it done out of obedience and to offer one less stumbling block to those who they would meet.
In v. 4 we read that Paul and now Timothy traveled from “town to town” and they “delivered decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey.” Perhaps there was still some of the old law mixed in with the new. Even though Paul had rejected requiring new believers to obey the letter of the law, maybe with Timothy, it was easier for him to get circumcised then not. Yet this decision seemed to not effect the impact of the gospel. The churches were still strengthened and the numbers of believers still grew.
My point? We can do little to prohibit the working of the Spirit. Be it Timothy’s circumcision or Paul’s parting with Barnabas, God works in spite of our messes. God is in the redeeming and reviving business. His work to restore the human soul knows no bounds. His grace is freely given to all who would receive.
Would you receive his grace today? Would you share his grace with others? Would you ask for a mighty work to be poured out upon your life and the life of your church that Christ might be magnified? Join me in praying for world wide revival. That the Spirit of God might seek and save the lost and bring hope to a world in need.
“O Lord God, you are good. Even as I read about your workings elsewhere, I want your Spirit to fall upon us as well. I want the greater gifts, to be immersed in your Presence and bathed in your love. Come now, Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me. I praise you for your wondrous deeds. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen