Paul's Confidence in Churches
Having worked in ministry for many years, there is something very refreshing about leaving a place and then coming back years later and seeing the biblical principles taught then still being used today. This has less to do with how I preached or taught, but more about how God took His Word and applied it to their hearts through the power of the Spirit.
This reminds us of Paul’s words written from prison to Philippi; “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence” (Philippians 2:12). Timothy had brought Paul a report of how these believers were “work[ing] out [their] own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (2:13). Both aspects are essential for full obedience.
Notice how Paul reminds them that their obedience was because God was working in them. For anyone seeking fruit in missions or ministry, your goal is to see God taking the gospel and truth you proclaim from Scripture and making it effective in the souls of those we minister to.
This kind of fruitfulness is a constant reminder that we are only instruments in the hand of the Lord and we are only as effective as we submit to Him and the Holy Spirit. Circumstances (prisons) will never limit God’s work if we are fully submitted.
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