Let’s remember the first time we truly gave our lives to Christ.
As a new or newly recommitted believer, you were probably brimming over with excitement. The joy of the Lord was leaking out of your pores. Every friend, family, and foe just HAD to know about your experience hearing the word of God, and that you had decided to serve Christ. You may have been…
- Telling them that they were going to hell if they didn’t do X,Y,Z
- Slipping bible verses into your Facebook/Myspace statuses
- Praying all the time for the most outrageous things (I prayed for Gabriel to bring me messages, as if he didn’t have other things to do with his time)
- Reading your bible religiously
Whatever you did, it was with the utmost innocence, sincerity, and longing for others to know about the Gospel. If, like me, you’ve become discouraged or afraid in the process, turn your attention to Acts 18.
Paul the apostle was in Corinth, and had “…devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah” (Acts 18:5). Those people became angry with him to the point where they became abusive, and Paul decided to turn his attention to the gentiles (i.e. anyone not a Jew. Them heathens.) Paul preached to a gentile man and his household, and they all believed. The Lord spoke to Paul in a vision one night after, saying:
“Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city” (verse 9).
1.DO NOT FEAR. KEEP SPEAKING. DO NOT BE SILENT.
We may face “smart” or “learned” individuals with doctorates in religion, and feel inadequate when all we know are the simple details of the resurrection and what God has done in our lives. Like Apollos who “taught about Jesus accurately, though he only knew the baptism of John” ( verse 24-26), we have to start somewhere. And just like in Apollos’ case, God will teach us and send people to give us further wisdom and understanding. But it doesn’t happen overnight, and you must not give up.
Acts 18:27 “When [Apollos] arrived, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed.” He eventually rose to such prominence in the early church, that people were quoting him! (1 Corinthians 1:12) Apollos is dead and gone but I’m proud of him!
2.I HAVE MANY PEOPLE IN THIS CITY:
Paul, like all followers of Christ and carriers of the Holy Spirit,had to spread the gospel to all- to those who the Father knows will not answer the call, and to the predestined: those he knows WILL answer the call and must hear to first believe. God ALREADY KNOWS who will answer the call. Do not take on the burden of “saving” people. Only the Father can save. We are merely vessels of mercy, carrying His good news to all that will hear, and so none will be without the opportunity for repentance.
Now, this all isn’t to say that you should just stand on the corner of the busiest street in your city without having done some homework. You tried it!
Paul and Apollos both had knowledge of the Old Testament, but needed the Holy Spirit to reveal to them how Jesus was involved and what He had accomplished as Messiah. We have a responsibility as believers to know our history and our Gospel. We are also admonished in 2nd Timothy 2:15 to “study to show yourself approved, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of Truth.”
I pray the the Holy Spirit will equip you with understanding, wisdom, and courage to enter the New Year proclaiming the Gospel to all far and wide! Just Speak!
To better promises,