Take it up a notch – Acts 19:8-10 The Apostle Paul & the Halls of Tryannus.
I LOVE GOD’s WORD!! It is forever enlightening me to God’s wondrous ways! It fascinates me how God’s word is overflowing with discoveries of treasures that I have passed right over in previous readings. Suddenly a word, thought, term, place or person will “jump off the page” and stir my curiosity, enliven my spirit, or in some other way cause me to dig deeper.
That is what happened this morning! I made an interesting observation while Bible reading in preparation for hearing the next in a series of messages taught by my church’s pastor on Sundays. God’s Holy Scripture says: “And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and 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. (Acts 19:1, 8-10 ESV)”
Here is what jumped out at me. Initially, the apostle Paul was holding true to his pattern of behavior while on mission trips (this was known as his 3rd missionary tour) he would always go to the synagogue (or closest thing to it if there wasn’t one) and preach, teach, reason and debate according to the Word of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. These visits were usually cut short by arrests, jail time and/ or beatings and being run out of town.
But here we see Paul “step it up a notch” as he entered the city he “found some disciples” and Paul took them into the synagogue WITH him where Paul spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. After three months, when some were not only stubborn in their unbelief, but also spoke evil against “the Way” (the Gospel), Paul withdrew from them because those in the synagogue had hardened their hearts against truth and were now rejecting the truth of Scripture and Paul’s Gospel message.
So Paul left… taking the disciples with him. It appears that Paul didn’t want those he was discipling to hear such evil, nor to sit under false teaching so he took them WITH him. He led by example and did not return evil for evil, nor insist on his own way. He was learning through experience how to continue despite adversity and opposition. Paul remained faithful to the mission, the Word, the Gospel AND to those he was training.
But where did they withdraw too? I noted a place unfamiliar to me; “the Halls of Tyrannus”. I have read over this phrase several times. What IS this place? From my limited Web search I discovered this place may have been like a university or place of learning that was owned by a fellow named Tyrannus. It’s not a very creative University name, but I guess it is distinctive.
Tyrannus himself may have been a scholar who lectured here and was sympathetic to Paul. Some articles on the internet suggest that Tyrannus lectured up until 11am and then again after 4 pm, daily. The culture at that time was such that work ceased daily from 11am to 4 pm because of the extreme heat. So this “leisure time” was a time when Paul could reason, speak and evangelize from within these halls of learning to great congregations. A secular place being blessed by Holy teaching. I wish we had that going on at All of our schools today.
Profound things that I’ve noted in just these three verses from Acts: (1)Paul is now actively finding and training disciples IN the place he evangelizing. He used to bring disciples with him that would typically continue on with him. Here I see Paul is actually training up native disciples that live there.
(2) Paul is not going into just the synagogue of jews any more. He is now teaching and evangelizing jews, greeks and anyone and in a secular place. As a result of Paul withdrawing and not fighting in the synagogue, by following the wisdom found in the Scriptures to live at peace with all men inasmuch as it depends upon you … shake off the dust off your feet and move on… the Word of God never fails to accomplish what God intends).
The Gospel is NOW being spread. Did you see that?! It says ALL the residents of Asia! No longer confined to just the men within the walls of a single synagogue, the Truth of God’s Word and the saving Gospel are being proclaimed everywhere! To everyone who are actually seeking and it is being received. This is a stark contrast to the close-minded, stubborn group he left back at the synagogue.
(3) I think it is especially worthy of note that Paul taught DAILY at the Halls of Tyrannus… for TWO YEARS. 700 days of such a passionate teacher of the Gospel that Paul was, can you even imagine that? What an impact that had on the Kingdom of God growing among men!! Plus, I am sure that Paul much preferred the accommodations of this great hall and the type of people interactions that he had here in contrast to the dingy, dank cells of imprisonment in which he had previously been contained.
Finally, I wish to close with the main thought that repeats throughout the book of Acts. “Regardless of the circumstances we face in life. The Message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ WILL be proclaimed. God’s Word will never fail and His gift to us of the Holy Spirit will help us to live out the Greatest Commandment to love the Lord, your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength AND to love your neighbor as yourself. Then that same Spirit will help us accomplish the Great Commission of going out into all the earth proclaiming the Good News Gospel which saves the lost and condemned thru the sacrificial blood given on behalf of all who will believe and place their trust in Jesus Christ.
We are so blessed to be given this glorious Word of God! Our Savior Jesus Christ is a treasure to us for eternity. The Holy Spirit can work through and with us to make a difference. Now!, right this moment, there are people who’ve not even heard or don’t even know how God wants to love them. I am sure you know of at least one person; someone near you right now. 2014 is a new year. Will you join me in purposefully “looking” for disciples? I am continuing to pray for revival among the people of God, not just IN the churches, but even moreso outside those walls and amongst the people. For one Day EVERY tribe, tongue and nation WILL proclaim that Jesus is Lord, but those who continue to reject Him now will been viewed as an enemy and not a beloved child.
We have a mission… every single one of us! We do not need to preach from a pulpit or lecture to a crowd to impact another for all eternity. Right now, with what the Lord provides, YOU and I can make 2014 be a year in which people enjoy true rebirth that will last forever. All we need to do is “take it up a notch”.