God is bringing us back to the biblical pattern for the Church. He is preparing a new wineskin for a new move of His Spirit which will bring many into the Kingdom. Some say, we are being prepared for the end-times harvest of souls for the Kingdom.
The Church has tried following man’s ideas, but man’s ways have not produced results and has resulted in a lot being done in the flesh. We have been faithful but somewhat fruitless. God is bring us into a new season when there was will be a return on His investment and much fruit will be seen. Following God’s plan the Early Church moved in a continuous time of harvest that reached the known world in one generation. We can learn from their example.
A key element in the success of the Early Church, as we have seen, was the establishment of apostolic regional centers. They were placed strategically by the Holy Spirit so they could have the greatest impact in spreading the Gospel of the Kingdom and in training, equipping, and releasing the saints to expand the Kingdom to the end of the then known world. Apostolic centers were not randomly placed. God planted them where they would have the greatest impact to penetrate the world for His Kingdom.
The first apostolic center was founded in JERUSALEM. None of the original apostles were from Jerusalem. They were all Galileans. It would have been easier for them to start the church in Capernaum. But Jerusalem was a strategic location. If the church was going to reach Jews, it had to start in Jerusalem.
The next apostolic regional church (center) was in ANTIOCH. Antioch was also strategic. Multicultural Antioch was the ideal place for the church to welcome people from all nations and cultures into one family, the family of God.
We then looked at the center in EPHESUS. Ephesus was a hub for occult activity in the Roman Empire. If the gospel was to confront the occult structures over the Roman world, Ephesus was the place to do it. In Ephesus the powers of darkness were overcome and the whole territory changed.
Then we saw the apostolic center (church) in CORINTH. Corinth was a hub of sin and depravity. It was a strategic place to reveal God’s power to transfer the hard core unsaved.
In each region, apostolic centers were established where they could have the greatest impact and influence on the territory. This is why Paul’s next goal was to visit ROME. No place in the Empire was more strategic than the city of Rome. It was the governmental hub of the Empire and the centre of the civilized world. In order to reach the world, the gospel had to reach and impact Rome.
Rome was the most important city in the ancient world. It was more than just the capital of the Roman Empire. It was the capital of the civilized world.
As the Roman Empire expanded into new territories, the Romans didn’t bring oppression; they brought civilization. Most people who were conquered by Rome saw their standard of living dramatically improve.
One example of this was the Roman system of aqueducts. Aqueducts brought the world running water, indoor plumbing, and a sewer system that was not surpassed until modern times. Two hundred and sixty miles of aqueducts supplied fresh water to the city of Rome.
But the Romans did not just build aqueducts for themselves; they built them everywhere the Empire spread. Aqueduct systems were built in more than three hundred cities around the Empire. Some of them are still in use today.
There were also Roman roads. The Romans built a system of paved roads extending into every part of the Empire. For the first time in history, you could travel to any part of the known world with relative ease. And because of the internal peace within the Empire, it was safe to travel.
The city of Rome itself was the greatest city the world had ever known. It is estimated that the population of Rome in Paul’s day was over a million people. Considering that the total world population at that time was only about 200 million, we see that one out of every 200 people on the planet lived in the city of Rome.
How did the Gospel of the Kingdom penetrate this huge, cosmopolitan city? … next time