A well-known Christian named Barnabas vouched for Paul when he stood before the disciples. None of the disciples could believe that Saul was now a Christian. Barnabas told Paul’s story. Eventually the disciples allowed Paul into the Christian fellowship and Paul joined them in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Free from persecution, the early church experienced its first time of peace. During that time the writer of Acts records that the church flourished and that the Christians feared the Lord and were comforted by the Holy Spirit. That’s not a bad way to live.
We sometimes forget the meaning of the word “Lord.” A synonym is “master” or even “boss.” To live in fear of the Lord is to live in the understanding that we are on this earth in order to serve our Lord. We do God’s bidding and use our talents and abilities to meet the needs of those around us. Our relationship with God is not just a “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” “Holy, Holy, Holy” is another facet of our relationship.
As we live to serve the Lord, the Holy Spirit moves in our lives to comfort us. The Spirit assures us of God’s presence in our lives. The Spirit empowers us to serve and enables us to accomplish the tasks to which our Lord calls us. The Spirit moves within us changing us so that we take on more of God’s image; God’s characteristics. Living in fear of the Lord and comfort of the Spirit we flourish just like the early Christians did.
After some time had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night so that they might kill him; but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket. When he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples; and they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, brought him to the apostles, and described for them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus. So he went in and out among them in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. He spoke and argued with the Hellenists; but they were attempting to kill him. When the believers learned of it, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus. Meanwhile the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was built up. Living in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.