I want you to know I thought I was going to be okay to share today and last night my wife … Yesterday was a big day for me in just some things I know that people are struggling with and also the church did some great things this weekend, and just seeing some ups and downs, but just seeing the church through it all. And right before bed, my wife shared something with me that I was thankful for, but it was a difficult thing. I’ll share with you a little bit about that. But it gets to the heart of what I want to be as a church family. And that’s why we’re going to be in Acts 18 today.
So I’m going to try to hold my stuff together and share this with you. To start off, I want us just to think about this, every human being has two basic desires, belonging and meaning. Belonging and meaning. The most intimate communities are formed around the deepest causes. You think if you’ve ever been a sports team, that mission and that goal, by the end of the season there is unity there. You’ll see athletes walk off a field sometimes in tears when there isn’t victory because they’ve put a lot of labor in a team to accomplish a goal.
Business, the same thing’s true. Members of the military, there’s this camaraderie, if you’ve ever been in the military or served, that you don’t share with other people, that you understand. You may not even been in the same group together, but you just understand what it means to serve your country.
I think strong marriages, common vision and purpose, common set of values. I even think in a negative way, it’s kind of why gangs exist, that kids need affirmation and they didn’t get in places that should have gotten it, so they find it in a band of misfits where they get acceptance. Everyone wants to belong, everyone wants meaning.
The most intimate communities are formed out of the deepest causes because we find purpose and we find belonging. A church community is powerful when it understands their meaning and belonging. God created the church to bless others, God created the church for a purpose. And the stronger the united vision, the stronger the community, and the greater impact that they make in the lives of people around them.
We think about the idea of belonging, the idea of meaning, there’s no deeper purpose and belonging that exists than what we live for that endures. And there’s nothing that endures for any greater period than what we do for the kingdom of our God. When I think about Alpine Bible Church, when I think about me, when I think about you, I didn’t move to Utah just to have a church. I want to be the church.
When I think about the purpose of God created the church, our identity rooted in that determines the power that we carry in moving forward. Our church, we say, we’re about an experience, a transformation in Jesus that transforms our relationships for Jesus. That God wants to do something in us, and then God wants to do something through us. That’s why we gather together collectively as a community. I mean, there’s power when God’s people gather together. That together right now in worship seek God’s face. We want God to do a work in us that transpires in the way that we work in our relationships with each other.
We think about what Jesus did for us, like Jesus’ plan from the beginning was a rescue mission. He comes in pursuit of your heart, your life, your soul, because it matters to him. And the worth of your life is determined by his giving of his own life. And so he goes on a rescue mission for you, and then he invites the rescued on that rescue mission to join him. When you study the book of Matthew, the very first Gospel in the New Testament, Jesus starts the Gospel by saying to us, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” The first disciples Jesus made, you want to know what his mission’s about? It’s about seeking the lives of people. Jesus said, “Greatest commands, love God, love others.”
And so he gives the invitation to people who were, at the time, fishing. And so he says, “This great, but there’s something deeper to life which sustains a purpose and a belonging for which I’m calling you to. And so, follow me,” he says, “I want to make you fishers of men. Seeking the hearts of people as I seek their hearts. I’m on a rescue mission and I’m joining you as being rescued to be on this rescue mission.”
At the end of the Gospels, Jesus says to his disciples, now having walked with him, he say, “Okay, now go. Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” There’s purpose behind what we do as a community. We don’t gather to just gather. The church, Jesus told Peter in Matthew 16, is designed to storm down the gates of hell. It’s on a rescue mission. And when you storm down those gates, what do you do on the other side? You rescue people. You pursue hearts.
We’re striving to build a church that makes a difference in this valley. And we understand our purpose and belonging as God’s people. Learning what that looks like together, is what God calls us to. I think we have, as God’s people, a great church. I want to keep learning and growing what it means to pursue Jesus in this way.
And so, in the book of Acts 18, we’re going to look at four marks of individuals and churches that make an impact for the cause of Christ. And when I read this, you know, my tendency is anytime we get to lists, I really just rebel against lists because I think sometimes we make that more about religious performance, rather than a walk with Jesus. And I’m going to tell you this, and anything I say out of these four points this morning, if you do this out of guilt rather than joy, I would prefer you just not listen from this point forward. It’s out of your joy for Jesus that these things should just emulate in our lives. Reflect in who we are.
And so out of the depth of your love for Christ, the book of Acts is a very interesting book, and a very encouraging book. It’s different than the other books that you read latter in the New Testament. When you read beyond the book of Acts, what you’re reading is epistles. And those are letters written to churches for which you have the opportunity to look into to see what’s being talked about there.
Letters, a lot of the letters that are written, most of what the content is is more prescriptive rather than descriptive. Meaning that the apostles that write these letters, they see a problem and they’re helping the church work through it. It’s sort of like this question/answer basis that these letters are written. It’s encouragement, most of it’s prescriptive in living your life.
When you get to the book of Acts, a little different. It’s not prescriptive, rather it’s descriptive. And Luke writes Acts and he’s really describing for us a few things. He’s describing how the Spirit of God moved on the people of God to accomplish the work of God from Jerusalem to Rome. And the way this book begins and ends is really interesting. As Acts 1 starts and you think, you know, after Jesus’ resurrection he was on the earth for 40 days. What in the world did Jesus do? And Acts 1 tells you, he preached about the kingdom. He is a king on a rescue mission, coming to present his kingdom to invite you to it.
In fact, when you get to Acts 1:7-8, the disciples ask, “Okay, when are you going to bring this kingdom?” He says, “Time is not for you to know. I’m going to send you into this world, Jerusalem, Judea, the uttermost parts of the earth. You be my disciples in this world, go and reach people.” And so he sent them on this mission.
And then when you get to the very end of Acts, it tells you for two years, finally you see Paul in Rome. And it says for two years, Paul preached about the kingdom in Rome. And so you see this story, how this little church in Jerusalem far from the great capital of Rome where the Emperor dwells, and how it goes from this little beginning in Jerusalem and what Jesus did to spread throughout the Roman Empire.
And that same mission, God invites you to. In Acts 18, the reason I want to look at this particular chapter is because Acts 18 is impacted really by just a regular couple. We just finished a marriage series and you can do Acts 18 as a single person or as a married couple. But I thought it was fitting just to talk about a married couple for a minute. What does it look like for just a regular married couple that loves Jesus to live in light of him in this world? What is that example for which we can follow?
Acts 18 introduces you to this couple named Priscilla and Aquila. Luke describes for us what that looks for our lives to make an impact where Christ has called us, just by being a follower of Jesus. This doesn’t take this super power Christian, it just is faithfulness in Christ. And so, what does it look like? In Acts 18, as he describes here, Priscilla and Aquila and the life that they lived for Jesus, wherever Priscilla and Aquila went for the Lord, and they went to a few different locations, there became a vital church in those regions. And I think it was the attitude of their lives that led to modeling health for the church and just seeing the church move forward. Now, it’s not to say the churches didn’t have struggles, they did. But they were healthy people spurring on what it meant to be pursuing Jesus together.
The first thought of the four marks of healthy individuals in churches that make an impact for Christ is this, be willing to sacrifice. You want to make a difference for Jesus? It will come in a sacrifice. And what are you willing to give? What are you willing to lay down?
And for Priscilla and Aquila, this sacrifice and adversity was very tangible. It was very apparent they had to sacrifice for the cause of pursuing Christ. When you start the book of Acts 18:1, listen to this, “After these things,” it’s talking about Paul, “he left Athens and he went to Corinth. And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, having recently come from Italy with his wife, Priscilla, because Claudius the Emperor had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. And Paul came to them.”
Priscilla and Aquila were, I believe, believers in Rome. Some people debate that, but I believe they are and let me tell you why. It’s because there was a historian in the first century named Suetonius that recorded what Emperor Claudius did during this time period. And what happened in Rome was the Jewish people had a particular group that were coming in and telling them about this Jesus. And the rest of the culture around them didn’t at this time really distinguish between Jew and Christian. They just saw followers of Jesus within the Jewish sect as sort of bringing this different teaching into what Judaism was.
And so, they just saw that this created this tension among the Jews. That some would follow this Jesus and others didn’t want to. And they were very adamant on either side. And that tension it created, well Claudius didn’t enjoy that. And so the Emperor gave everyone a choice. He said, “Okay, renounce your belief or get out of Rome.” And what happened? Some of them renounced and some of them stuck with Jesus. And the ones that stayed with Jesus, it was death or you could leave, they had the choice. And Priscilla and Aquila left.
If you read during this time period, it was unfortunate for those that were slaves in this period, because what happened was those that were slaves that didn’t renounce, they actually sent to these labor camps that led to very short lives for them. But Priscilla and Aquila were free individuals, and so because of Claudius’ ruling, they left behind their home in Rome because they loved Jesus.
There was sacrifice. Claudius gave the opportunity to renounce and keep what you had, or to give it up for the cause for which you believe in. And they gave it up. Priscilla and Aquila went through a season, no doubt, of hardship. I mean, you think of what this would be like, especially during this time period. Laboring in your hometown, loving Jesus, loving the people around you. And all of a sudden you’re forced to leave. You have an option to turn your back on what you believe, but you choose to follow faithfully.
And Priscilla and Aquila, they kept moving forward in the difficulty for which they faced, because the mission was greater than their sacrifice and then their loss. You know, I think about what it means for us to follow Jesus, in this situation, in our lives, I just think and pause these moments and just ask, what does my life reflect? If your life does not reflect any sacrifice for Jesus, how do you know that you really belong to Jesus? Is Jesus really what you prize?
I mean, if you look back in your life, and you could take the easy road or take Christ, and you continue to take the easy road, or there came times where you could really lay yourself down for the cause of Christ, and you can’t point to anything that indicates that, are you really following Jesus? Those that make an impact for Christ in life, they have a willingness to sacrifice as God leads their lives.
If you follow Jesus, one day you’ll face a gut punch. That’s why the Bible calls it spiritual warfare. I mean, if Satan can’t stop you, his goal will be to discourage you. If you look at the way Satan’s identified in scripture, the things Satan loves to do, he loves to go for your identity. He’s the accuser of the brethren. He loves to go for your past. In Revelation 12, to make you feel worthless. Or he likes to bring conflict to your relationships. I mean, if you read the New Testament, the majority of what the New Testament talks about is how to walk in Jesus in the midst of relationship, because there’s conflict. And Satan wants to work in that conflict to prevent you from pursuing Jesus.
But Jesus, Jesus said it like this in Luke 14:27, “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me, he cannot be my disciple. For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it.” Jesus wants us just to think about this journey. Because there will come times on this experience of following Christ, where God will bring you to a fork in the road. Take the easy road, or take the harder road.
Sometimes this is counterintuitive for us in America, because I feel like what we often prefer is easy. God’s will is whatever is easy, right? No. Jesus says count the cost. Sometimes in pursuit of Jesus, sometimes there’s a laying down of self, and sometimes it’s the harder road. Count the cost. The idea of sacrifice is written all over this. I refer to this verse as the why verse. Remember why. Why did you begin the journey? Why do you think it’s so important? Why? Because there’s going to come a hard day, and the thing that moves you forward is the foundation for which you began the journey. Why? Because there’s no greater joy for which to live.
I love it when Jesus asked this of his disciples and Peter is before Jesus and he was like, “Lord, where are we going to go? You have the words of eternal life.” The rest of your disciples, or the rest of the crowd that was following Jesus left at these hard statements. But Peter stayed. Why? Because he saw the value for which rested in Christ far surpassed any challenge that this world could offer. What Jesus calls us to matters more.
And so, if my life is really about pursuing that, it’s going to come at a sacrifice at some point. And maybe a little bit every day. Laying my life down. But people that make an impact for Christ recognize this. Some people refer to him as one of the greatest theologians in American history, Jonathan Edwards. I don’t really care about that title for him. There’s things I like about him, and things I didn’t like about him. But in the 1700s, he was considered a very godly individual.
At 19 years old, he started writing these resolutions about what he wanted his life to be. He developed these resolutions over life, they got really long. And really it’s frustrating to me because I hate lists, right? But he wrote these lists out. But at 19 years old, this is how he started his resolutions. He said, “Number one, that I will do whatever I think to be most to God’s glory. Number two, to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Number three, to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with.” Jesus in adversity and just remind himself over and over of this resolution. This is my foundation. This is why.
Number two, people that make an impact for Christ practice intentional hospitality. I think that word intentional is important here. Not just practice hospitality, everyone practices hospitality. I mean, you’re going to care about people in general. And especially those that you really care about, right? You have people in your life because you love, and so you’re just hospitable to them. But I think it’s different than just being hospitable and intentionally hospitable. God’s people are called to love everyone around them.
And so, practicing intentional hospitality and so when you go on from this in Acts 18:3, look at this, “Paul, because he was of same trade, he stayed with Priscilla and Aquila and they ere working, for by trade they were tentmakers. And he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.” So this is highlighting Paul’s journey in the ministry he carried, but he’s recognizing the significance of Priscilla and Aquila in playing a part of this. That Priscilla and Aquila opened their business and their home to help Paul find a place to work and a place to live.
So you think, here’s Priscilla and Aquila in Rome. They’ve had to pick up the pieces and move to Corinth. Start over. And they’re in the streets sharing their story about what God’s done through their life. They didn’t do this silently, like the reason they left Rome is because they’re on this mission for Jesus. So when they get to Corinth, they continue their mission for Jesus. And as they’re talking about this, Paul finds out about them. He comes to the area where they are, he’s sharing his story, and they’re like, “Come on in, man, because we’re on this mission together.”
Now you think about this, what would have happened if after going through that hardship in Rome, Priscilla and Aquila said, “You know what? We left Rome, but forget it.” Would the church in Corinth even existed? Or would Paul have moved on? Their hospitality unlocked the door for godly impact for the church in Corinth. Spending time together with Paul, it says that he was there for 18 months, spending time together with Paul gave them the identity and mission in growing together.
I think as a church, when we have the opportunity to spend more time together with the idea of this mission in mind, God solidifies us in this unity together. When we think about this, when we think about hospitality though, I want us to recognize your job isn’t to make everybody happy. That’s not what we’re saying in being hospitable. Rather, I think what God calls us to do is to be a blessing to people around us. Romans 12:14 says this, “When people persecute you, bless and do not curse.” Romans 12:14.
I think the idea of hospitality is honestly really where mission happens, where differences are made in the lives of people. Hospitality doesn’t mean you only invite people into your life just to give them a shot of the Gospel pill. You know what I mean? Like, “Oh gosh, I feel guilty today. I better invite someone over so I can tell them about Jesus.” No, invite people, be involved in their lives because people matter to the Lord and God calls you to love them.
And here’s the reality, when you have a genuine walk with Jesus, and you deeply love people, you naturally share the things you care about. Like, look, if you like a certain sports team and you sit around with another dude, guys, for about an hour. How long does it take before you talk about that sports team? Especially if it’s the season. Why? Because you’re fanatical about it, you care about it. You’ll talk trash about it. In fact, you might enjoy it, right? Go, Patriots. Just kidding. I love it.
But it’s like that with Jesus, when you love Jesus like that, or hopefully more than that, and you just spend time with people, it’s a natural thing of your life. You don’t have to force a conversation. You love people. And you talk about Jesus with people. Hospitality is how those things happen.
Hospitality means, do you use what God gives you for his glory? Sometimes we don’t broadcast the things we do as a church, but because of circumstances yesterday, I started thinking about this and just weeping like a baby. But you know, yesterday was a day where I got a few hard messages from people and just thankful that even as a church that that could be shared and we could start praying and caring. While I’m getting these messages, I’m with a group of people down at Grace Haven Bible Camp and we’re building cabins for kids, to make a difference. And that’s something churches in this valley have been working on for over a decade. And just being able to reflect on how good that is as a church family to go down and make a difference and serve.
And then I end up getting back late, and then there was someone else with a need. I wanted to try to make it to there to be a part of that need, but I couldn’t. But I got a message and what was said to me was like, “Don’t worry about being here, a small army showed up to take care of it.” I’m like, “Well, thank God.” That feels good.
But even as a church, I think about just this past week. We found out a missionary family, the wife was diagnosed with cancer and it’s one that they’re going to have to go somewhere for treatment. And they’ve been serving faithful in Utah for a number of years and it’s not a wealthy journey. Like being a pastor or missionary in Utah is not a wealthy journey at all, right?
But as a church, we’re like, “Man, we care about you. Just that faithfulness we love. So, here’s a $1,000.00 for your flight to go take care of what your wife needs.” And just ministering to them. And this month we sent quite a few thousand to India to help with some education of some young girls that we’ve been loving on throughout the years. This month, one of the things our church has done is we set a budget aside a couple of years ago to take pastors out to lunch. To just encourage them, to do sort of a wellness check. I don’t know if you know, but there’s not a whole lot of options for different churches in towns in our area, right? And the ones that we get in this valley, we want to just encourage as a church here. Because we’re not just about what God wants to do in our church, we’re about what God wants to do in churches. And this month, half a dozen pastors on a few different times, like you as a church minister to them, provided a lunch for them, just checked on how they were doing. Encouraged them.
One of the things my wife shared with me last night was a story about a young boy named Roy Jeffs, he’s not a young boy anymore. When we met him he was a young man, but he’s a little older now, 27 years old. His sister made a post last night, said, “Roy was 27 years old, died Wednesday night, May 29, 2019. His father, Warren Jeffs, treated him worse than all of my brothers. He did not allow Roy to grow up with his siblings, kept him hidden from most of us in his growing up life. Warren would tell the family that Roy was a bad boy and tried to turn us against him.”
But his sister said, “I’m proud of Roy for the courage he has shown in being the first of my siblings to leave the Jeffs’ community.” She posted a picture and my wife looked at that and she said, “You know, that’s the kid that when we as a church started taking trips down to Colorado City, I sat with him for a couple of hours and just talked to him.” I think about what God calls our church to in this valley. Some of the stories are painful. Some of the stories I wish were written differently, right? I wish his story was different. But I’m thankful for a church that cares enough to be there in the pain. A church that gives. A church that loves.
Not knowing how the story would end, ABC can say every year since ministry started in that community, we’ve gone down and we loved on the people. The brokenness of souls, God wants you to love. And God wants you to be there. You can’t be there for everybody. But look, God has you in a neighborhood. There are people around you that God cares about. And you do spiritual battle for those lives.
God works in hospitality. In fact, 1 Timothy 5:10, when you talk about the widow, they’re talking about how to care for the widow in 1 Timothy 5. And one of the things they say is, was she hospitable? How did she demonstrate godliness and is hospitality one of those things? How well did she care for the souls of people around her? When the Bible talks about godliness in leadership, one of the marks in leadership in both 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 is hospitality. Meaning, if you call yourself a follower of Jesus and you’re not intentionally being hospitable, is it really following Jesus? If you think you’re a leader for Jesus, but you haven’t been hospitable for Jesus, look, you can call it leadership, but that’s not leadership for Jesus.
When you read the Gospels, Jesus got out with people. He met them where they were and he loved them where they were. Jesus shared the truth with them, but he did it in love. When churches make a difference, the idea of hospitality leads the way. That’s why we as a church, we continue to say when we meet together, we train people for ministry, every soul that comes through our door matters. I’ve got to move faster than this.
Third is this, I would Priscilla and Aquila took ownership in ministry. Oh, by the way, Bertie and Liz Olsen, if you want to pray for them, they’re doing ministry in Colorado City. That’s the family we often go down and work with.
But in ministry, third is this, take ownership of ministry. Look what Priscilla and Aquila do here. “Paul, having remained many days longer, took leave of the brethren and put out to sea for Assyria. And he went with Priscilla and Aquila,” oh, I’m going to get this wrong, it’s Cenchreae. That’s it. “He had his hair cut, for he was keeping a vow.” So Paul took Priscilla and Aquila on this journey and they came to Ephesus and he left them there.
So, “Paul then himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews when they had him to stay for a longer time, he did not consent, but took leave of them and saying, ‘I will return to you again if God wills.'” He set sail for Ephesus. So, Paul takes Priscilla and Aquila, who are now nomads, they’ve gone on to Corinth and now Paul comes in and he shares with them this mission for Ephesus. Priscilla and Aquila take ownership of ministry, they go with Paul to Ephesus. Paul leave them in Ephesus and they continue on doing the ministry in Ephesus.
Ephesus is actually a cool city, if you ever study it historically. It’s one of the seven churches in Revelation. It’s actually where history records Jesus’ mother went on to live. It’s where John the Apostle went on to live. And as you go into the first century, the next generation after the first apostles, Polycarp was there. Polycarp was martyred for his faith. Ignatius, Ignatius was also martyred for his faith. Ignatius actually traveled to Ephesus on his way to Rome, that would lead to his martyrdom. And while in Ephesus, he wrote some letters to churches. He wrote four of his seven letters there. So if you like church history, I geek out on that stuff. You can go to church history and see the disciples making disciples and that second generation of disciples continuing to lead the church. I mean, the church history is written, recorded that way. And Ignatius is one of those people that was at Ephesus.
So Ephesus became a powerful church. And so you see them taking ownership of ministry, and not only that, when you go a little further, it says, “Now a Jew named Apollos an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus and he was mighty in the scriptures. And this man had been instructed in the way of the Lord and being fervent in Spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with baptism of John. And he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.”
So, Apollos was aware of Jesus and the mission that was going to carry in this world. But he was only familiar with the message of John the Baptist. He hadn’t caught the whole message yet. “Oh, Jesus has actually come and he’s died, man. You need to know the rest of the story.” Right? But rather than just say nothing to Apollos, who was a very charismatic leader, Priscilla and Aquila bring him in and are like, “I’m glad you learned under John the Baptist, but there’s more to the story now and here’s what happened with Jesus.”
And they discipled Apollos. And Apollos became a leader, or continued to be a leader for the cause of Christ. But the reason this happened is because they took ownership for ministry. Ministry is not done by professionals, God wants us all to be a part of his plan. One of the things I love about Utah, it’s this love struggle with it, is that Utah, the state of the church in Utah, it’s a new thing. And when you have something new, it’s also not the wealthiest thing, right? Anywhere else you go in America, you can afford to pay ministers more and it sort of becomes this professional thing where you’ve got more paid staff and people to carry the work in the church.
But the thing I love about Utah is, there is stress that comes with that, a little bit as a pastor, but the thing I love about it is it forces us to think about how to care for each other. And I think that’s by far a more God honoring thing. Taking ownership of ministry. Thinking about where God has placed you in the neighborhoods, the people around you. Ministry doesn’t have to be a formal thing. Informally just thinking about how you can be effective for Jesus, having that genuine walk with Jesus.
And the last is this, faithfully follow God’s leading. When you look at Priscilla and Aquila’s life, if you can even read that small of a font, you pass your eye test, but when you think about Priscilla and Aquila’s life, when they were faithful to follow God’s leading, it started off in Rome. And they sacrificed to follow Jesus, and they have to go to Corinth. And from Corinth, they go to Ephesus. And in Ephesus, they take ownership and they minister. In fact, when they’re in Ephesus, Paul writes a letter on his third missionary journey, he’s writing to Corinth and he’s telling them about Priscilla and Aquila.
And then it tells us while Paul is in Ephesus, he’s there for a number of years, and he actually ends up writing a letter to Rome. And when he writes that letter to Rome, he tells them to greet Priscilla and Aquila because Priscilla and Aquila, apparently Claudius has died and Priscilla and Aquila went back to Rome.
And then when you get to the end of Paul’s life, the very end of Paul’s life, Paul writes his last letter in 2 Timothy and he’s writing as a prisoner in Rome. And he’s writing back to Ephesus, talking about Priscilla and Aquila again. I mean, they are faithfully following God’s leading in their lives. When you read, though, at the end of 2 Timothy, Paul’s last words he ever wrote, interesting contrast here, these last few verses. Paul’s saying, “In prison at my first offense, no one supported me, but all deserted me.” He doesn’t hold it against them though, he says, “May it not be counted against them.”
But then he contrasts the idea of people that aren’t faithful in following Jesus to the idea of Priscilla, which the shortened version of her name is Prisca. “Greet Prisca and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus.” Paul is showing the way this couple made such an impact. Their faithful pursuit of God. Making a decision to move as God moved in a godly way. And it wasn’t always easy for them.
You know, I think in pursuing God in our lives, God can lead us in different ways. And when you look at the story of Priscilla and Aquila, I think this is sort of unique in that God calls them to move. But that’s not the norm, I think when you read scripture, you see some people moving for the sake of the Gospel. But most people are called where they are to just be the Gospel in the lives of individuals. Like even the Apostle Paul, before he went on his first missionary journey, spent over a decade in Antioch. But they moved when God led them to move. And they were faithful where God called them to be.
When you think about the way God leads our lives, I think God rewards longevity toward the mission that he calls us in community. In fact, Galatians 6:9 says this, “Let us not become weary in doing good. For at the proper time, we will reap harvest if we do not give up.” When Paul and Priscilla and Aquila moved, their moving was based on this, they moved to further God’s mission, of which they had already been living for. It wasn’t a move to run away from something. Rather, it was a move to move toward something in which God had called them to.
And when they made these moves, they did under the hand and blessing of the church. Meaning, God’s people affirmed this in them. Right? Priscilla and Aquila weren’t just like, “Let’s just go wherever we feel like going.” They worked with Paul on what would be beneficial for the kingdom. When Paul went on his missionary journeys, he didn’t just leave Antioch. The church together collectively got behind them and affirmed a gift to send them out as missionaries.
We follow God’s leading in our lives. God doesn’t call us to abandon. Look, if we leave when things are hard, I think sometimes as Christians we stunt our growth. Now, there are reasons to move on, like when things get to a degree of unhealth. But God is looking for the longevity of his people to be faithful to where he calls them.
As I say all of this to say make your moment matter. You live in a place to make a tremendous difference for the Gospel. A place to stand out. A place where a church community even has a loving in Utah class to learn how to better do that. Be willing to sacrifice. Practice intentional hospitality. Take ownership of ministry. Faithfully follow God’s leading in your life. And when a church does that, it can’t be stopped.