September 24, 2019
Acts 18:12-17 (NIV)
While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews of Corinth made a united attack on Paul and brought him to the place of judgment. “This man,” they charged, “is persuading the people to worship God in ways contrary to the law.”
Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to them, “If you Jews were making a complaint about some misdemeanor or serious crime, it would be reasonable for me to listen to you. But since it involves questions about words and names and your own law—settle the matter yourselves. I will not be a judge of such things.” So he drove them off. Then the crowd there turned on Sosthenes the synagogue leader and beat him in front of the proconsul; and Gallio showed no concern whatever.
In a city of around 100,000 people, Paul had maybe 50 or so converts. This sounds more like a fledgling AA community than it does an impending threat of a religious coup d’etat.
50 in 100,000 strikes me as statistically insignificant, yet it warranted a united and strategic attack from the “Jews of Corinth.” In present day terms, we could understand the attention were this an ISIS terror cell of 50 jihadists.
Come on “Jews of Corinth!” This is a church for crying out loud. And it’s a pretty small one at that. Where’s the threat?
But what if a church of 50 in a city of 100,000 was all it took to plant the unstoppable Kingdom of God? What if a single family in a neighborhood of 30 families was all it took to plant the unquenchable movement of the Spirit of God? What if all it took were two or three gathered in the name of Jesus to upend the powers of darkness?
Maybe the greatest myth that needs busting for the people of God today is the myth of “strength in numbers.” The Bible tells a diametrically opposite story. Remember Jericho? How about Gideon? Elijah? Daniel? Hannah? Mary? Jesus? The Twelve?
Maybe the Jews of Corinth remembered.
What if we remembered?
Perhaps the greatest lesson the twenty first century church can learn from the first century church is the power of the micro-church.
COME HOLY SPIRIT!
What is it about the size of a church or a group that so seduces us into assuming it is a strong church? Why do we tend to negate the potential of micro?
For the Awakening,
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Perhaps it’s not strength the modrn church is looking for, at least not “spiritual” strength. Perhaps it’s power? We’re like the patient whose mental health requires medication, as soon as that person feels better, they stop taking their meds. We discovered when we are weak we are strong and took that as inspiration to go out on our own and use “our” power to attempt God’s work….and it didn’t!
We live with this crazy idea today that ‘bigger is better’, that there is strength in numbers. The power resides in God- He is our strength. Until the church learns that lesson we will remain self-absorbed and weak. As the old saying goes, ‘God and one person is a majority.’ The church desperately needs to get back to its foundation. Thanks for a good post!
I know that I have no doubt that a small group can have huge impact. However, I also know that if the Spirit is alive in a group, it will attract others and grow.
What do I mean? I recently moved into a small city/rural area. There are 12 UMC (and one SMC) church within 10 miles of my new house. We pass multiple Methodist churches to go to one of the largest in the area. Why? Because a in a well churched area, a consistently large congregation is a sign that something is happening. Yes, it still needs to be tested to ensure it is the Spirit and not something else. But a 50 year old church with less than 50 regular attendees is a sign that things are not happening. God’s love will attract others.