Rejoicing in Birth (Acts 21:17-20a)

And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry. And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord.” (Acts 21:19–20a, AV)

I remember the birth of our children, our daughter born in a military hospital while I was on field maneuvers and our son born in a civilian hospital after I left the service. While I was not there for the birth of my daughter, I was for the birth of my son. However, in both cases my wife and I, along with our parents and friends, rejoiced greatly with this miracle of new life.

Here, Paul returned to Jerusalem and visited James and all the elders of the church. He gave a report of what happened in his ministry to the Gentiles. When they hear this report, “they glorified the Lord.” Just as my family and friends rejoiced at the birth of our children, Paul’s report of the new spiritual birth of the Gentiles caused the hearers to respond with rejoicing and awe.

This response of those that heard Paul’s report is the norm for any true believer. Any person, who has experienced spiritual birth, will naturally rejoice at the conversion of others. They also will be in awe, realizing that spiritual birth is a miraculous work of God. Through this response, true believers worship God as they realize that only God can take spiritually dead people and bring them to life (Ephesians 2:4). It is abnormal for true believers not to rejoice in hearing a report of someone’s conversion.

We have two parts in the application of this thought. First, we rejoice and experience awe as we hear testimonies from those who experience new birth. This moves us to worship God. Since worship is our principal occupation, we ought to seek to hear the testimonies of other believers. We ought to seek to hear from those who have reports like Paul. For these types of reports bring us to worship, glorifying God. These types of reports also feed our soul, for we rejoice in new birth.

Second, we should be willing to share our story with others. For in doing so, we also glorify God, giving Him the praise and glory for what great things He has done. The telling of our story brings other believers into the place of worship as well. In this, our response is not limited to our personal story alone. We should also report those experiences of witness and ministry that we have had with others, especially those that have seen the spiritual transformation in the lives of others.

So, when we get with other believers, about what do we talk? It is not wrong to speak about the weather, sports, children’s activities, etc. However, do not neglect to speak of the great things that God has done. In particular speak about that great work of God’s grace in causing new spiritual birth, bringing spiritually dead people to life in Christ. Share your story with others and seek to hear the testimonies of other believers. You will be encouraged and most importantly, you will glorify God.

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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