“Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus… And Paul said, ‘John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.’ On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying… He took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus. This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks. And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them…
“And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.” Acts 19:1,4-6,9-12,17-20
As Paul took the word of God into Ephesus, its power proved life-changing for those who received it. The Holy Spirit ignited new communication and spreading of the gospel. Minds were persuaded, life directions altered, bodies restored as a fantastic sign of new and vibrant faith. Worship was enhanced through a deeper reverence for Almighty God, and the word brought humbling, sobering conviction that compelled honest confession, forever foregoing of evil practices, the destruction of instruments of wickedness, the irretrievable surrender of earthly valuables. (Hebrews 4:12)
When God’s word increases and prevails, its effects are unstoppable and transformative. God’s truth penetrates our minds to rectify wrong thinking, our spirits to embolden prayer, our hearts to set them ablaze in love and holy affection. God’s word topples our shrines to self and belongings and worldliness, and breaks open the way for fresh life direction, an eternal perspective, new employment of time, refined stewardship of resources and talents. When we continue in the word, it heals our spiritual infirmities, loosens our grip on things that once satisfied and frees us to embrace what lasts forever. (2 Timothy 3:14-17)
As we are exposed to the word, what effect is it having? Are we merely gaining knowledge that puffs up, that we parade and discuss in our closed comfort circles, or are we being significantly equipped for works of love and mercy and service that profit others and glorify God? What changes have we made over the last month in expenditures of time or money, in recreation, relationships, prayer focus and investment, because of what the word has taught us? Where will we apply it to make a difference? Where will we yield anew to its power? (1 Corinthians 13:1-2)
Lord, prevail mightily in me! Cause Your word to have its way with my attention and affections, my wisdom and my worship, that Your marvelous name be extolled.