This chapter documents the end of Paul’s 2nd missionary journey (v 1-22) and the beginning of his 3rd missionary journey (v 23 – 28). Luke has chosen to emphasize different aspects of these two journeys in ch 18. For journey 2, Luke emphasizes Paul’s evangelism, but in journey 3, he emphasizes the one-on-one discipleship that resulted from Paul’s labors. I am sure that both of these things were going on during both journeys, but Luke has chosen to draw this distinction in ch 18. During journey 2, Paul forms a relationship with Priscilla and Aquila. Then, during journey 3, we see Priscilla and Aquila making an investment in the life of Apollos. Later in the chapter, Apollos goes to Achaia and makes an investment in the lives of the believers there. I wondered why Luke chose to point out this aspect of Paul’s ministry so specifically. The conclusion I reached is that it is important. God does not want us to mistakenly believe that our total emphasis should be on evangelism. God wants to emphasize that we should spend energy and industry on building up our brothers and sisters in Christ, and in this way, equip other believers to become disciple makers.
It was essential for Paul to equip other believers to become equipers… or Christ’s Church would not have grown the way it did. The same is true today. If we don’t equip others to equip others, Christ’s Church cannot grow today. I need to be involved in growth. I need to be getting one-on-one input into my life in the form of a small group, shepherding group and/or one-on-one discipleship so that I am cultivating relationships that build me up. Also, I need to be cultivating relationships in my life where I can speak into others’ lives… where I have responsibility to be involved in other people’s growth. This is the way of Christ. I am not to be a consumer only, but God wants to turn me into a “people builder”. And, this takes decision, planning and perseverance. Christ wants to make me into a people builder, and I want to cooperate with Him.
Lord, open my eyes to opportunities to let others equip me, and give me the perseverance to stay with the effort. Open my eyes to opportunities to build into a few people around me so that You can manifest yourself in them through my labors. Amen.
Posted on Fri, February 27, 2015
by Rick Olson