For Paul, it seemed that there were so many times when his life was in the balance. His public testimony in Jerusalem caused the crowd to become so “violent, the tribune, afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him away from among them by force and bring him into the barracks” (Acts 23:10). If this intense hatred for the gospel prevailed, what would the next step for Paul be? Was this the end of his public, and perhaps, private ministry? Where would he go from here if he was released? Was there anywhere safe to go that would receive the gospel?
These questions and more run through our minds and hearts when we face difficulties in the Lord’s work. The Holy Spirit has given us a very specific calling to equip the church for renewal and church planting among the unreached on a biblical foundation, and yet the number of those who respond is so small. Tradition, money and hard hearts seem to throw up obstacles everywhere.
I take great courage from how the Lord stood by Paul and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified in the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome” (23:11). Trails and occasions of standing before kings and rulers to plead his case and testify of the gospel still lie between him and Rome. For him, it did not matter what he must endure, God’s word and plan was spoken and Paul must press on.
Have you been discouraged by setbacks in ministry or life? Be sure to remember the promises of God that will never be broken. Let them confirm the will of God for going forth in His name and power with the gospel to the nation at your doorstep and around the world.
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