BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. “Meanwhile, the word of God continued to spread, and there were many new believers.” Acts 12:24 NLT
This verse and ones like it are the key verses in the Book of Acts. In Acts 6, 12 and 19 you will read similar declarations. They all take place after some event that would seem to bring discouragement and a “step backward” for the work of the gospel.
Jesus’ great declaration to Peter was, “I will build My Church.” (Matthew 16:18) From the first century to the 21st century, the gospel of Jesus Christ has continued to spread and to be declared to the ends of the earth. In our human thinking, we focus on those that the Lord is using a point in time. The natural question is, “what will happen if…or when?” What will happen when the disciples are all gone? What will happen if something tragic happens to this person or church or movement that the Lord is using?
I know I have pondered those kinds of questions. But we are constantly reminded that the work of the gospel is not dependent upon those whom God uses at a certain point in time or in a certain way, but it is dependent upon the true “Head” of the church, Jesus Christ.
In Acts 12, we find three key events that lead up to the statement, “…the word of God continued to spread….” James the brother of John one of the “sons of thunder” is beheaded by King Herod. Peter is then put in prison facing a death sentence. The Lord miraculously rescues Peter and then Herod, receiving the worship of a god, is killed by the Lord.
So, in three brief events, a martyr, a disciple miraculously delivered from prison, God’s judgment on an evil ruler, in all that happens, in the trials and triumphs of life, God’s Word continues to spread.
We see in our day the persecution of Christians in China, drove the church “underground” – but the Word of God continued to spread. We have seen great men of God come and go, but the Word of God continues to spread. We see the assault on Christianity by Islam, but Muslims are having dreams and revelations of Christ and the Word of God continues to spread.
Paul understood that while he was being used by the Lord in preaching the gospel and establishing churches that the gospel was bigger than he was. Paul was in prison and he wrote to Timothy, “I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained.” (2 Timothy 2:9 NIV)
We have the opportunity as followers of Christ to take a stand for the gospel, to share the good news of life in Christ. The Lord uses those who are willing, available and faithful. What a privilege that is. The Word of God is going to continue to spread, so let’s do our part, and fulfill our call in our generation and in our time in history as the Word of God continues to spread.