Fight the Good Fight Acts: 19

God on the Move: “Fight the Good Fight” -Acts 19
Look more closely at the procedure Dr. Luke recorded when Paul met the men who were insufficiently trained in the faith:

• Paul found them in the course of his travels (19:1).
• He recognized them as “disciples” (19:1b).
• He examined their beliefs, and determined they were open-hearted, but lacking knowledge of some key parts of what God was doing (19:2).
• He pursued specifics of their background to determine where the breakdown occurred in their spiritual formation (19:3).
• Paul instructed them in specific Scriptures concerning the truths they were missing, and set them in context (19:4).
• The disciples accepted the teaching, and publicly displayed obedience (19:5).
• God empowered the people and led them to the next step of their journey (19:6-7).

Think about what we just saw in the Word. An untrained believer needs to be entreated to grow while being treated with respect. Training them requires that we really listen to them, and inspect what they are saying for Biblical adherence and truth. Where truth is lacking, there needs to be deliberate and careful instruction that is applied to the needy one.

Stop for moment and consider how Paul handled those who rejected the message of Jesus:

• Paul made sure there was sufficient time for explanation (three months of Sabbaths – 19:8).
• He made every effort to answer their honest questions, and deliberately tried to persuade them of the truth (19:8b).
• When it became clear that they were not truly interested and were bad-mouthing God’s work in their midst– he withdrew (19:9).
• Paul pulled out those who wanted to follow Jesus and who would have been harmed by remaining in the synagogue after his departure (19:9b).
• Paul carefully trained the followers over an extended period – focusing significant energy on building them up before he left them (19:9-10).

The Bible stories, and never shown how they answer the deepest struggles of the human experience.

• Who can explain pain and set it in context better than God in Job?
• Who can reason why God rooted sexual attraction deeply within man better than Solomon in his Song of songs?
• Who can explain what happened to humanity, why relationships fall apart and genetics are breaking down better than Moses?
• Who can make clear man’s need of a new life better than Jesus did to Nicodemus?

• Paul was being used by God in powerful ways that were clearly God at work (19:11-12).
• Imitators thought they could “co-opt” the work of God and began to try to imitate what the Apostle was doing (19:13).
• Messing with the spiritual world, the men said the right things, but didn’t have the relationship with God to deal effectively with the spiritual world (19:14-16).
• The enemy’s attack was used by God to spread the Gospel, and remind people that the evil one was real and at work (19:17).
• Paul confronted the spiritual darkness, and as people continued to be a part of the work, they surrendered their dark practices (19:18).
• God convicted people, and they destroyed their attachment to the old life in front of all (19:19).
• While magic books were being destroyed, the Word of God was growing and spreading (19:20).

Fake followers have always been around. Some of them lead large congregations and have TV shows, but their lifestyle, if examined, shows an incredible financial attachment to the Gospel. Others join what they view as a spiritual circus, because they think they can be performers.

The pattern God left us through Paul’s work and Luke’s record of it was this: when correction was needed, care had to be taken to settle down and systematically answer the attacks. Hours, weeks and months of Paul’s life were taken up behind closed doors in prayer and the construction of carefully worded letters to answer each defection situation.

We don’t need to be afraid; we know the face of our enemy very well. God’s Word unmasks his identity and makes clear his methods – so that we are not ignorant of his schemes… We must anticipate the battle, and we must use the model to effectively combat the enemies of the Gospel – but God gave us a manual to accomplish the task.

✍️🥊🥊Mrs. Kalaiselvi Balakrishnan in Jesus Christ 🥊🥊✍️