One of the challenges every devoted and faithful servant of the Lord faces is that not all who hear the message of the gospel and truth of Scripture will receive it. This goes back to our point yesterday about the soils; hardness of heart.
Luke, who traveled with Paul on most of his trips, records accurately what was happening in the places he visited and preached. Here is an example at the Amphipolis and Apollonia synagogue.
“And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women” (Acts 17:2–4).
The truth was clearly presented, but not all received the message since they were not persuaded. As we saw several weeks ago, it was the Lord who opened Lydia’s “heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul” (Acts 16:14). We must believe that our sovereign God opens the hearts He wants to receive the gospel and message of truth.
What this attitude does is to make us extremely thankful for those He is working in. It should also make us very concerned that we are being guided by the Holy Spirit to work where He is already at work. Successful ministry happens when we work in cooperation with God.
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