March 23, Wednesday

21Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from March 21-27 are provided by Pastor Jason Sato of OTR in Cincinnati.  Jason, a graduate of UC San Diego (B.S.) and Westminster Theological Seminary in California (M.Div.), is married to Jessica, and they have two young children: Jonah and Lily.  

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Acts 11:19-21 (ESV)

Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. [20] But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. [21] And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.

At the beginning of the book of Acts, Jesus tells His disciples, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8b). In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit falls upon Jesus’s disciples at Pentecost and thousands are saved. A great revival breaks out in Jerusalem; nevertheless, the gospel remains in that city until Acts 8.

So, what causes the gospel to finally spread? Following the martyrdom of Stephen, “there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles” (Acts 8:1). In short, persecution is the cause, which God graciously sent to His people, who were reluctant to go to Judea, Samaria, and the end of the earth, in order to scatter them among the nations. In His great love for the entire world, God is willing to allow His people to suffer that the world might be saved.

Subsequently, God’s people are scattered “as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch” (v. 19). Some speak only to Jews (v. 19), but others go to Antioch and speak to the Greeks (v. 20). These believers are noteworthy in that they are not even named, but they do their part, perhaps reluctantly, by testifying to who God is and what He has done. And then God does His part; He raises the spiritually dead and “a great number who believed turned to the Lord” (v. 21).

I did not grow up in the church. Hardly anyone in my family or extended family is a believer. So I am thankful that a timid, reluctant Christian was sent by God to share the gospel with me. More so, I am thankful that the Lord is so determined to save that He opened my heart so I could believe. Today, reach out to someone with the gospel.

Prayer

Father, thank You that You have purposed to proclaim Your salvation to all peoples. I am timid and weak in faith, but please use me to speak words of life to people who are perishing. Oh Lord, You are mighty to save!

Bible Reading for Today: Proverbs 9

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Lunch Break Study

Read 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (ESV): And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. [2] For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. [3] And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, [4] and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, [5] so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Question to Consider

  1. According to v. 2, what is the opposite of lofty speech or wisdom?
  2. According to v. 4, what are the most important elements of Paul’s message?
  3. Why does God use a foolish message and a fearful messenger to save?

Notes

  1. The simple message of Jesus Christ and him crucified.
  2. The most important elements of Paul’s message are the demonstration of the Spirit and of power, not words of human wisdom.
  3. So that no one would put their faith in Paul or the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

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Evening Reflection

Take a moment to pray for unbelieving coworkers or friends whom you see on a regular basis.  Ask that God would open a door to share and that He would use you despite your weakness.

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