To the casual observer, the events in Philippi would discourage and derail this second missions trip. Not for Paul and Silas. They learned from those before them that they must “rejoice that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name [Jesus]” (Acts 5:41). No wonder the jail at Philippi was turned into a cathedral of praise. This place of suffering became the first of four more churches that Paul and Silas planted in just over a year.
· Philippi – October 50 to January 51 AD
· Thessalonica – January 51 to April 51 AD
· Berea – May 51 to September 51 AD
· Corinth – November 51 to May 53 AD (They spent eighteen months in this city).
Opposition and moral conditions actually created fertile ground for the gospel. Often we look for conditions that match our missionary temperament, rather than being led by the Spirit into fields that need the gospel most, even if it requires suffering. Where we fix our spiritual eyes is where we will either gain strength to endure or reasons to quit.
Look how quickly the first three churches were planted. The average is about four months. I have no doubt in my mind that if Paul was here doing mission trips in the last two centuries, every people group would be reached and the Lord would have come. Looking at the principles that Paul employed is what should motivate us, not bog us down by failure.
Dates taken from Gene Edwards, Revolutionary Bible Study, SeedSowers Publishing, 2009, page 191.
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