Paul is such a warrior, his journey to Salvation is so special, but so is every journey. It’s pretty cool that he got to change his life completely. It turned from trying to destroy the life and works of Jesus to committing his life to work for Jesus.
Paul’s chains advanced the Gospel?
Yep. Chains, prison, persecution – all advanced the Gospel. It’s awesome how Genesis 50:20 rings true from the beginning of time to now. The Bible is timeless. Praise God.
I hate persecution, and I love it. I hate being uncomfortable, but I love my dependency on Jesus. I think that’s a normal feeling, isn’t it? Do you feel the same way?
Paul’s Prayer: your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern (to perceive, recognize or distinguish) what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.
Let’s go back to Genesis 50:20 – God takes what the enemy meant for evil. Stop.
He takes it. If God takes something – it now belongs to Him. He has all authority. He is perfect. He is without sin.
So, if He takes it, it now belongs to Him and His great wisdom. The enemy has no control, no power, nothing.
Finding Joy in Persecution:
Paul was in chains. He was in prison. He was arrested for preaching the Gospel. The chains were advancing the Gospel though? How is that possible? He was cut off from his ministry? Or was he?
Was it worth it?
My Husband, in his great wisdom, was explaining a class he took on gun safety. California is bonkers when it comes to the 2nd Amendment. They know they can’t take it away, so they just make it impossible to practice it’s philosophy of protection. They criminalize it’s mission. He explained if you practice the philosophy of protection, let’s say a criminal is attacking you with a screwdriver, and you defend yourself, and the criminal says that he didn’t want to kill you, just harm you, then you can get charged with attempted manslaughter and go to prison for 15 years. HUH?
Is it worth it?
My husband said without hesitating, “yes.” That’s why I love that man. He is John 15:13 all day long. Praise the Lord for him. He would willingly sacrifice his own life to make sure the kids and I were safe and protected. I love him. God you are so good, thank you for that man.
So, let’s dissect that. What is “worth it” in our lives? What is action + consequence equal to for you? You have to evaluate your level of love.
Let’s go back to Paul. He was rejoicing because while he was in chains, he was able to witness to the whole Prison, he did not deny his faith when faced with conviction of his crime. He remained in faith, and not ashamed. He remained committed.
Paul’s action + consequence = his level of commitment to his Savior. He loved his Lord.
Because of Paul’s chains, because of means introducing reasons, presenting reasons for your actions. So, because of his chains, the Christians he was nurturing and teaching, grew in confidence.
Confidence means a feeling or belief that one can rely on something or someone; a firm trust.
So why would confidence grow because of chains? How would you dare to proclaim the Gospel without fear? Isn’t it normal and natural to fear chains?
Again, what is action + consequence equal to for you? You have to evaluate your level of love.
Now let’s discuss preaching the Gospel.
What 3 reasons did Paul give for people to preach the Gospel?
People preached in goodwill because they were in love with Jesus. Just like Paul’s example, they were not giving in or denying. Paul chose to defend the Good News. He chose to stand firm. Paul Held the Line. He was in defense of the Gospel.
Envy and Rivalry – well maybe the people were seeing the results of Christ’s work in people. They saw the miracle of transformation from the old self to Salvation and rebirth! The actual miracle you see in people that are committed to Jesus is shocking. I love it. The Jews hated that the law was no longer powerful, that they lost their control. Salvation – believing that Jesus was the Son of God – was all that mattered? It was simply not enough for them. The were envious, and wanted to fight the new fact. Jesus was not enough, so people that preached that truth had to be punished = Prison.
Paul’s reaction to all three reasons for preaching hit me hard. I love reading the Bible. He said this: WHAT DOES IT MATTER. Ephesians 1:18
I love that it wasn’t a question either. It was a statement.
haha. I love it so much I am going to say it again. WHAT DOES IT MATTER? Ephesians 1:18
Bahaha. Genesis 50:20, right?!
What is important? In EVERY WAY. NO MATTER what the motive – evil or good. Christ is preached. WOW. The statement, YOU CHRISTIANS, you speak the name of God. There is power in the name of Jesus, there is freedom, forgiveness, mercy, grace, and just like the Bible tells us, and the greatest of these is LOVE.
I think this – because I know fact. The Bible is alive. It is timeless. It speaks to all nations. I know this to be true today. I do because it happened to me!
Personal testimony TIME! We attended a lukewarm church for about 4 years, it was what we could handle as new Christians, the baby food of Christian life. We were cozy cause we didn’t feel any pressure, just love Jesus and you’re good. There was no persuasion to dig deeper, just know Jesus and live your life. No change necessary, no commitment. But man would they dig deeper into how to run your business, how to have a great marriage, how to stay dedicated to one church, and how not to be legalistic. Focus on not being involved in government, to let sin completely surround you and not hold the line. Willingly close their doors to the congregation and the children, not let us in. Hold on to fear for as long as you can. All those things. The sting still hurts, I am remaining in prayer for them. It’s in God’s hands. I needed that church though. I needed baby food.
Reality hit. Life hit. Sin’s cannonball. Quarantine hit and that baby-food-like-faith didn’t sustain us, folks. Just loving Jesus with no rock to stand on drove us to succumbing to the popular terror of the day. We had baby food and we needed abiding truth. We were adults trying to survive on applesauce in one of the most insane-daily-adrenaline-rush-fear-consumed times of American History.
Dang. We were falling into the abyss of fear and we started falling back into death. We were drifting away from the Lord because we had absolutely no anchor. That is, until, my mom, who is amazing, threw us the life-line. She recommended the church we now call home, and will remain in until Jesus guides us forward again. Pastor John Randall was our salvation. He gave us Jesus – but not applesauce Jesus – He had a rock. He had meat and potatoes. He provided truth, conviction, wisdom, tools, sustaining and nurturing answers. And guess what – He only gave us the WORD. The Bible. He teaches the Bible. Not like a theatrical performance, not like he wants it to be read, not with his own personal stories, just The Word.
Talk about a shocker to the system. We were in LOVE. We found faith. We found an anchor in the storm. We found THE WAY. John 14:6
Thank you Jesus.
We rejoice in our journey. Christ was preached, we heard it, we took the applesauce, but when the pressure was on, God gave us the meat and potatoes we needed to take us to the next level of our love for Him. We rejoice in the preaching. We rejoice for the lukewarm church that introduced us to Jesus, and now we rejoice in the conviction. We can continue to grow and that is honestly the best part of being a Christian. It’s not boring. It’s really impossible for life with Jesus to be boring. God is too good. This life is way better and the only WAY for me now. I get Paul. I get rejoicing in the chains.
Rejoice? Rejoice in chains? Are you rejoicing?
Through prayers, through the action and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, now matter what happens to us, we will end up in deliverance.
Why? Why not is the better question. What can happen? Death?
I think the only thing we should be praying for is courage. Courage is the strength we need in time of pain or grief. Is Christ exalted? Is he held in high regard by either your life or your death?
We find a very famous, popular and loved verse here: Ephesians 1:21. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
To life like Jesus and suffer, this would be a blessing. Death? Well, that’s our reward! Heaven is our promise, our seal, our guarantee – eternal joy! Wow. You witness and share the Gospel – the Good News about Jesus – and you win! No matter the consequences. Remember this? Action + consequence = your level of commitment to your Savior.
We must be committed to the mission of the Gospel. If we are still here on earth, our mission is not yet complete. We must remain faithful and ready to speak and preach the Gospel. If it worked for me, it will work for you. Promise. God’s great love story is found in the whole book of John – For while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. For God so loved the WORLD, that He gave us His only Son, that whoever believes in Him, will not perish, but have EVERLASTING life. He defeated death, so you can too. I love it.
In the spirit of Paul, let’s all continue to encourage one another and enjoy the journey because we live within the wisdom of God!
Am I sharing the light of Christ’s love? It’s not just for the unsaved. It’s for the saved as well. Am I encouraging my brothers and sisters in Christ? When I am faced with persecution, am I being courageous? Is Christ exalted in my ministry?
Dear Lord, please help me to be stronger in my faith. Please help me always exalt Jesus. Please allow me to abound in love and grace. Please help me speak lovingly when I am persecuted and find many reasons to rejoice in YOU. Please help me live opposite of sin and sinful expectations. Help me always remain focused on you and look at the world with my Jesus Glasses on. I love you so much. Thank you for this time of revival. I pray you would raise up strong Christian leaders in our Government. Help America to be the Light, if that is your will. Help America to remember that our roots are firm in our love for Jesus. Please let revival sweep our land and heal the sickness of sin. And if we are faced with more persecution and chains, please give us the courage we will need to REJOICE in the suffering. Help us remain focused on Heaven and our eternity with you in Joy, Love and Peace everlasting. Thank you for Jesus, thank you for His Great Sacrifice that bought us, gave us over to you and redeemed our sin for eternity. We love you so much, In Jesus’ Name, Amen.