After preaching the Good News in Derbe and making many disciples, Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch of Pisidia, where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom Of God (Act 14:21-22).
BAYTOWN, TX – Just because you become a disciple of Christ, a Christian, it doesn’t mean you will never have troubles in this life. In fact, it may mean just the opposite, especially in these last days. Discipleship is going to cost you something. Salvation is free to us and our lives are safely tucked away in Christ. However, in this world, we face the challenges of other religious beliefs. Some of these are willing to kill to further the spread of their beliefs. Islam is one of those. We also face the opposition of those who don’t believe in God or any god at all. They just want to be able to continue in their sins without restriction. Many of them are also willing to kill for their cause as well. When we as Christians begin to raise our voices and speak out for the living God we will suffer because of it. But there is no reason to be afraid for Jesus says…
“And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! (Luke 12:4-5)
It is time to stand up and be heard for God. We have spent years reading and studying the bible. We are constantly learning. Now it is time to step up to the plate. YOU personally know someone who is head for hell because they don’t know the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave His life for them. For some reason, too many of us have remained silent around our friends, family, and people we meet, about the salvation of Jesus Christ. We are worried what people might think about us. We are worried we may lose our jobs. We are worried people might not like us. We worry that people may react violently toward us. We must stop being afraid and begin to tell people about Jesus.
The book of John begins… “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)
It is widely understood that this verse is talking about Jesus. If Jesus is the Word of God who was with God, in the beginning, the only way anyone is going to know about Him is if someone speaks about him.
When God created the heaven and the earth and everything in them did he not speak?
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that [it was] good; and God divided the light from the darkness. (Genesis 1:1-2)
When God became a man did it not come by a Word to Mary? Didn’t her faith in the word that was spoken enable her to become the vessel the Lord would use to bring the Messiah into the world?
Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. (Luke 1:30-31)
-a few verses down-
Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:38)
And when people received healing from Jesus or one of the apostles, was it not because of the recipient’s faith in their word?
And they were preaching the gospel there. And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. [This] man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” And he leaped and walked (Acts 14: 7-10).
And when you first believed in the Lord Jesus as your Lord and Savior, was it not the result of having heard the word of God and responding to that word? Jesus was the Word of God that became flesh. While he was here on earth He spoke the Word of God. The Jews expected the Messiah to come and eradicate their enemies and set up a kingdom in which the Jews would rule the World. Instead, Jesus had something else in mind, a spiritual kingdom which would include all who would believe.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. (Romans 8:14)
We must also speak the Word. We as believers must speak about Jesus who came into the world to save the souls of men. How else will your family members, friends, and co-workers be saved unless someone tells them what the Lord has done for them? How will they ever believe God for their salvation unless someone gives them the good news?
It does not matter if they don’t listen to you the first time. It doesn’t matter if they blow you off the second, third or fourth time, keep praying and keep telling them. Your prayer and spreading the Word of God’s reconciliation are your most important assets.
How many times have you seen an advertisement on TV, or on the internet, or radio that you ignored the first, second, or hundredth time you heard it? You may have even reasoned that the product advertised was something you did not need. In fact, you know you didn’t need it. Then after seeing the advertisement a hundred times you give in and buy it. How many times have you done that, and after receiving the product, realize you were right? You didn’t need it. What I am telling you is to keep telling your friends, family, and co-workers about the good news of Jesus Christ. Keep praying for their salvation. Unlike useless products on TV, people really do need Jesus Christ so keep telling them. I’m not saying you need to nag them, but let them know where you stand, and if the opportunity presents itself do not fail to let them know God loves them and wants to give them eternal life through Jesus.
And in case you are thinking to yourself, this isn’t what I am called to do have a look at what Paul says…
Therefore, if anyone [is] in Christ, [he is] a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things [are] of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Th verses I opened this article with comes from the 14th chapter of the book of Acts. In this chapter, some of the Jews from Antioch and Iconium turned the people in the town where they were against Paul and Barnabas. As a result, Paul ends up getting stoned and being left for dead. It is after he leaves the town and comes back that gives his exhortation to the believers.
In these last days if you are a Christian there is a good chance you will face persecution and even death, especially if you are spread the Living Word, Jesus. So just as Paul says, “We must through many tribulations (hardships) enter the kingdom of God.” Don’t be afraid to spread the Word of Christ. Your soul is secure and your life is safely tucked away in Christ.
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. (Col 3:1-4)
I encourage you to read the letter to the Colossians.