“God uses the suffering of his missionaries to awaken others out of their slumbers of indifference and make them bold. When Paul was imprisoned in Rome, he wrote of this to the church in Philippi, “Most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear” (Philippians 1:14). If He must, God will use the sufferings of His devoted emissaries to make a sleeping church wake up and take risks for God.”
Piper, John, Let the Nations be Glad! The Supremacy of God in Missions, Baker Academic, 2003, page 90.
The effective expansion of the gospel requires those who encourage the messenger. This is vital because there may be doubts in the minds of church leaders who have not known how God worked in the life of the new messenger. So it was with Saul. It takes a Barnabas who knows God’s inner working to explain what has taken place. One of the most convincing facts about Saul that caused the church leaders to accept him was “how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus” (Acts 9:27). As in chapter 4, boldness was one of the marks of the rapid expansion of the gospel, and now we see it again with Saul.
Notice that this effective boldness was clearly the work of being filled with the Holy Spirit which Saul received at conversion (9:17). There was no education requirement for this to take place. How much have we hindered this spontaneous work of God by placing formal education requirements on persons after they are saved? Should we rather be a Barnabas to them and encourage, strengthen and promote the active missionary Spirit given by faith in Christ?
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