For two whole years, Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance! (Acts 28:30-31)
Paul, who was an important member of the Early Church, preached with boldness and confidence. Though they started out as a small, unorganized group, the Church was unstoppable because they believed in a big God. They saw God’s divine orchestration and fully submitted to the Holy Spirit. At the time, the Early Church was persecuted by the greatest empire in the world. But as Christians, we must know that we belong to a greater empire.
Paul was known for the presence of Holy Spirit that shone through him. As individuals and as the community of God, our ministry must also be marked by His presence in everything we do. If we do not demonstrate God’s presence in our daily lives, then we need to seriously ask ourselves why, stop making excuses, and identify the crux of the matter. We blame everything else instead of tapping into the power of the Holy Spirit. Materialism is one of the biggest obstacles to our spirituality. We must learn to serve the Lord Jesus, imitating His own servanthood. The early believers were supernatural, but not mystical. We need to pray that nothing hinders people from coming to church, and we need to be witnesses. The Kingdom of God must be our preoccupation; only then will we become unstoppable like the Early Church.
The apostle Paul was a contagious and not a contained Christian.
… because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. (1 Thessalonians 1:5-10)
Contagious means prone to spread, as opposed to contained which means controlled. The question is, is your Christian life contagious or contained? Our faith in God must be contagious. Jesus’ ministry was contagious; that is why word of His audacious love spread like a wildfire. The Word of God has life in itself, and when it is spoken, it is like a double-edged sword. It searches the hearts of men and never comes back void. The gospel of God is the power of salvation, and it does not depend on anything. Paul was in chains, but the Word of God could not be bound, and it spread rampantly during the days recording in the Book of Acts.
If we are containing the Spirit, how can He become contagious through us?
- We must rediscover the Holy Spirit.
As 1 Thessalonians 1:5 tells us, the gospel came not only in word, but with the power of the Holy Spirit. We need a breakthrough, to read and understand God’s Word in a way that it speaks both to our minds and our hearts.
- We need the confirmation of a changed lifestyle.
The lifestyle must reflect the life change because of the power of the Word of God. When you live by the Word, your lifestyle will attract people to you. Happiness depends on happenings; your face will reflect the goodness or sadness in your life. When we learn to serve God and not ourselves or our other idols, we will supernaturally reflect His goodness, and His joy will be our strength.
- We need to live in hope or wait in hope.
Even though he was afflicted, Paul lived a life of hope and power. What is your perspective in life? Is it heavenly or earthly? Your perspective will determine your lifestyle. People in the Early Church lived with contagious faith. We need to be examples of God’s love to the world and witnesses of His faithfulness. By your faith, they will know whether or not you are a true believer. Share your blessing with others. We in ourselves are not charged with persuading others to believe, but with testifying the Word in truth as the Holy Spirit leads.