‘Paul as church planter 9
And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit’, Acts 13:52.
If Paul would not have had success in his ministry, he would have been treated as a harmless fool. But he wasn’t. He was dangerous. God was with him and blessed his work. People repented and started to follow Jesus. Therefore Paul was persecuted. In Antioch in Pisidia the unbelieving Jews chased Paul from their area.
What is the next thing we read about the church that just had come into being in the city, and that now had to continue without the church planters who had spent so little time with them? ‘And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit’.
How is that possible? Simple: the church is not owned by the missionaries. The church is God’s. Missionaries have to take care not to try to take the Holy Spirit’s place. It is so easy to have a high view of ourselves. Therefore Luke takes pains to point out that the missionaries left, and that then the believers were filled with the Holy Spirit.
When we left the church behind that we had planted in Bangkok, I wondered how they would fare. Within a year it had grown 50%. After that it went up and down several times. Yet it is an experience I will never forget. The Lord has his ways to keep us humble and to remind us that the church is his, not ours.
Are you sometimes trying to take over God’s responsibility? If so, are you doing a good job?