Dear Ones, recently as I was praying over our schools of ministry in Africa, Europe and a few other countries, I was asking the Lord to put a school of ministry in every African nation and every European nation. He said, “Why not every nation?” When you get word like that you realize “Whoa, the Lord is seeing this much bigger than I am seeing it!” Every nation! How about every state in the USA, every state in India, every province in China and the Russian Federation? If you really want to impact your community, city and nation, why not contact us about starting a school of ministry? You can review our curriculum at lightbearers-ministries.com. Love you!
AS THE WATERS COVER THE SEA
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. Hab 2:14 NKJV
The reward of a servant of God’s life is not fame or money, but something far greater – God Himself. There are five great general levels of spiritual growth, with maturity within those levels on an individual basis. At every level, and to every individual degree, God reveals more of Himself to His son or daughter. Israel saw the acts of God, while to Moses He revealed His ways. The great purpose of the Word of God and the gifts of the Spirit is to know Him, to communicate with Him, to be on His level as a son or daughter while walking with Him in a joyful life and service.
…for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. Acts 11:26 NKJV
In the book of Acts you see two great vehicles for advancing the gospel – house churches and schools of ministry.
And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them. Acts 18:11 NKJV
You can make a case that Paul conducted three schools of ministry – one in Antioch of Syria, one in Corinth, and the one we will examine in some detail, at Ephesus. The work that Paul did in Ephesus, primarily as an apostolic teacher, was so impactful that the Ephesian church was the first church honored to receive the circular letter that we call the book of Ephesians.
And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
There are perhaps four categories of doctrine – right, wrong, corrupted and ‘no’ doctrine. Right doctrine allows us to rooted and grounded in the truth that makes people free. Christians without right doctrine are like the seed that lands on a rock which may sprout but soon withers away. Born again ones with right doctrine get rooted and flourish!
So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”
The Ephesians here were in that category of ‘no doctrine,’ so for a master teacher like Paul they were a blank slate upon which he could make an indelible imprint.
And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” (Paul is checking off questions in his mind as he interviews these young believers) Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Luke, the writer of the book of Acts, is recounting what happened under the ministry of Apollos recorded in Acts 18 who led them to the Lord. After interviewing them, and gaining their trust, Paul is ready to minister the Holy Spirit to them just like Peter and John did to the believers in Samaria in Acts 8.
And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. Now the men were about twelve in all.
The laying on of hands is generally NOT NECESSARY to impart the gifts of the Spirit. There was no laying on of hands in Acts 2 or 10 for that matter. Here they not only spoke in tongues but began to prophesy as well. Once someone speaks in tongues, it seems that all of the gifts readily open up to them, especially if they have been taught right or good doctrine on the subject.
And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God. But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus.
Twelve households were the minimum number required to have a synagogue…so, very quickly, a messianic synagogue grew up in the Jewish community in the city of Ephesus. The school of Tyrannus became that hub, that messianic synagogue from which Paul taught and changed the face of the province of Asia Minor.
And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.
This is what so excites me about schools of ministry! People who are ’on fire for God’ are released into the community to spread the fire. Miracles abound as the believers go out and testify to the grace of God. Nothing awakens the heart of the hungry like miracles.
Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.
With right or good doctrine being taught and advanced, miracles always follow the teaching of the word of God. Miracles are normal…they are supposed to happen. If you ever have the preaching or teaching of the Word without miracles happening, almost spontaneously, then something is wrong. Demons leave, diseases are overcome, lives are impacted and changed, which then changes the whole community. Families are reunited, neighbors are drawn together, the love of God begins to blossom and grow, changing the city forever.
This is briefly the tremendous testimony of the effectiveness of the schools of ministry.
Now lets briefly look at house churches.
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Acts 2:42 NKJV
House churches are as revolutionary today as they were back in Acts Two. The idea of small, decentralized groups of born-again ones getting together regularly to truly walk with God together is a unique concept, even though it shouldn’t be! In a house church, when one member suffers, everyone suffers, when one rejoices, everyone rejoices. I saw that again today as we have developed an online house church ‘of sorts.’ I had been praying over one of our members who had struggled a long time without a job, only to hear her incredible testimony of getting a great job today during the fellowship. We had suffered together, so we rejoiced together!
The house churches teach and preach right or good doctrine, fully share together of their joys and tears, eat together their recognition of the Lord’s sacrifice, and pray with great love for one another, and over issues of their lives and the day.
One thing about eating together that should be recognized is the sharing of salt. People of the bible lands didn’t just eat together haphazardly like we do in the West. When you ate together, you better be family or ‘blood brothers.’ The sharing of salt indicated the making of a covenant together. The salt covenant was an unbreakable bond of loyalty and commitment. When Jesus was asked who would betray Him, He said it was one who was partaking in the dish with Him, in other words, making a salt covenant with Him. Jesus went to the cross to fulfil his salt covenant with the apostles and all whom they represented in the John 17 High Priestly prayer. Judas, because he broke his salt covenant, killed himself.
So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed. Acts 19:20 NKJV
House churches and schools of ministry – through them believers grew in right relationship with the Lord, becoming rooted and grounded in love, in loyalty, in faith and a deep passion to reach the world with the truth of the Lord that had freed them. And, they sought to do it together! We can do the same thing today. Wherever two or more are gathered in His name, He is in the midst of them. The knowledge of the glory of the Lord will cover the earth in the Millennial Kingdom, but it can also do it today just like it did in Asia Minor under Paul’s school of ministry. The vehicles of house churches and schools of ministry make that possible. All we need to do is put feet to our faith and go do it! Love you!
Remember dear ones, we must be about our Father’s business…