After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes … And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
What and Why
God is raising up student movements around the world, which are embracing a great vision. We may speak different languages, have different fields of study, but we have a common heart and passion.
We believe God has placed us at our universities not only to study, but to be the light of Christ. We believe that by God’s grace, the Name of Jesus will be lifted up in our schools and universities. This is why we gather to pray. This is why we ask God to do above and beyond all that we could ask or imagine. This is the cry of our heart. This passion unites us.
“A small vision does not inflame the hearts of men.” But the images we see in the book of Revelations do! We know the end of the story. A throne will be surrounded by the nations worshipping the Lord. We long for our friends and fellow students to be with us at that throne. We long for God to touch their lives. We know that his goodness can transform our communities, and restore shattered relationships. We know that God desires to bring hope to the hopeless. By his grace, he will use us, his children to accomplish this work.
This vision inflames the heart, grabbing hold of students everywhere.
God is mobilizing students to fulfill his will. He is putting on their hearts the Great Commission, which says that we are to make disciples of all nations. (Matthew 28:19) If you are reading this, God is probably working in your heart. You’ve discovered this vision. You know it is compelling. You want to be part of the great things God is doing in this generation. There are other students like you and God will call us together, to form a team that he will use to pursue this vision.
Learning from the Word
The book of Acts describes another group of people who pursued a vision. They were men and women full of faith, ready to study the Word and do what it said.
Read Acts 19:1, 7-10
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In your own words, describe what was happening in the city of Ephesus.
What impresses you about this brief description of God’s work in the city of Ephesus?
The text briefly mentions what Paul was teaching. What was it? What do you know about it?
It is important to note that those who contributed to this impact were the ones who “withdrew with Paul,” joining in his time of training and instruction in the school of Tyrannus.
The world started to change:
This story gives evidence that society began to shift because of God’s work through this small group of people.
Please read Acts 19:24-27.
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Based on this passage, what evidence do you find that significant parts of society began to change?
Given that after two years, “all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord,” how would you describe the impact of this group of disciples?
Though the salesman Demetrius was upset by the changes in Ephesus, we consider his reaction to be a sign of great success. Why? In what way does the hardship Demetrius experienced express a transformation that we long to see?
To appreciate this story we need to consider that the religious perspective of the people of Ephesus was quite different. Given that Demetrius had become prosperous in his work, what do we learn about the values of the people?
What sort of changes might we expect to see in our society when God is at work?
Acts 19 informs us that God can use a few people to CHANGE the WORLD. Jesus once said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father” (John 14:12). The story of Acts 19 gives us a glimpse of God doing great works through his followers. Those men and women, filled with the Spirit, trusting in the Lord, walking by faith…were used by the Father to accomplish his will in Ephesus.
Searching the heart:
How much do we want to be part of this type of spiritual work?
Is it our passion? Do we want it to be our passion?
Reflect on your passions and write down your thoughts and evaluation
about your motivation to be involved in God’s work.
Connecting to the Truth
The words of Acts 19 help us understand what we might expect to see in our day and age as we follow the Lord. We find both highs and lows. Lives are changed but challenges arise.
What was challenging in this passage?
Verse 9 conveys a sobering message. Not everyone who initially expressed interest and curiosity to know Jesus continued to pursue God. What happened in Ephesus is still seen today. While some might start to pursue God, not everyone stays the course. Some turn aside and even “speak evil” of the message that once fascinated them.
When this happens, each person determines whether they will also turn away with the one who is “hardened,” or continue to follow Jesus. What type of convictions are needed to stay the course and continue to pursue serving God today?
What was amazing in this passage?
Verses 10 paints a picture of a group of people who committed themselves to study and learn. The school of Tyrannus became a place of transformation for God’s people. God instructed them and then worked through them. As a result, people in their city and country heard the gospel! Just imagine what is implied in the affirmation “all who lived in Asia heard the Word of the Lord.” It wasn’t a few people who heard about Jesus. It wasn’t just immediate family members. Everyone was affected. This is envisioning!
If there was a school like “Tyrannus” today, would you want to be part of it? Why or why not?
Why would you desire to be part of taking the gospel to everyone in your university and city?
We hope that the VOLT training program will help you grow in Christ and become a movement builder.
One day we will have the privilege of listening to the stories of the 12 men that Paul mentioned in Acts 19:7. They will tell us how God brought the gospel to their city and transformed it one person at a time. They will tell us how they stepped out in faith and confronted their fears. With a genuine smile, they will share how God surprised them by working through them to bless others.
Today many believers are having a similar experience. They are surprised to see how God works through them. Some of them are students in your country. They are discovering at their university that God is asking them to follow and giving them the power to be his ambassadors.
These students have discovered that living for God is the greatest experience in life. They have exchanged some of their previous dreams for greater desires that God has given them. They have a new vision for life, which gives them satisfaction.
Reflect for a moment on Jesus and his great sacrifice for you, and consider what you saw in the small group of disciples in Ephesus. In light of this, consider your current vision. What might God be asking you to do?
In the space below, take a few moments to write out that vision.
Passing it on
We need to work together as a team in order to achieve all that God intends for us.
Is there someone who you could invite to join you in studying this material? Share your vision with that person as a way to invite them to join you.
Remember God is at work…and is preparing others to join you in the vision He is giving.
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