The foundation of our faith is in the truth of God. Our convictions are Bible-based. We speak what we know to be truth.
The warning we must heed is that our convictions need to be taught with compassion. The Lord Jesus is “ full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Our convictions without compassion only serve to make people angry.
The Apostle Paul’s ministry was characterized by speaking the truth in love. As we look back to the beginning of the church in Ephesus, we uncover some amazing secrets of the New Testament church. Make note of these secrets.
The Bible records a part of Paul’s ministry when he entered the city of Ephesus and preached. In Acts 19:8 the Bible says, “And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.”
He was in Ephesus for three months in the synagogue. There were Jews in Ephesus. Ephesus was a seacoast city, a great commercial city. It was a city with one of the wonders of the world, the temple to the goddess Diana. That temple took two hundred years to build.
Ephesus was a city filled with people who were superstitious. They were very religious, but false religion and idols prevailed. It was a city filled with sorcery and demonic activity. It was a city that greatly resisted the truth of the gospel.
Ephesus was a vital, important city, a gateway to Asia Minor. The man of God went, armed with the Word of God and filled with the Spirit of God, to declare the truthful message of God. In that awful place with all its commercial activity, Paul planted a local church in the first century. The Bible says he spent three months there in the synagogue disputing and persuading. That was not easy work. There he gathered a core group of people who were earnestly seeking the truth. The truth spoken in love brought that core group of people together.
Paul’s ministry provides for us a wonderful pattern for church planting.
The Bible says in Acts 19:9-10, But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.
Paul spent three months in the synagogue, and the opposition became so intense that he took the disciples that had been made during those three months, and rented a hall, the hall of Tyrannus. He stayed there for two years. But we learn that he was not only meeting in that hall; they were launching out from there, preaching the gospel and seeing souls saved, establishing churches in regions round about.
The truth cannot stand still. The meeting place became a center for evangelizing other areas and starting churches.