Friday, January 23, 2009

Paul's Eagerness to Share the Gospel is Inspiring!

In Romans 1:15, Paul wrote, "So, as much as is in me, I am ready [the NASB says “eager”] to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also." Paul’s readiness and eagerness to preach the gospel amazes me! He had at this point in his life already been...

1. Stoned in Galatia (Acts 14:19)
2. Imprisoned in Philippi (Acts 16:23-24)
3. Smuggled out of Berea (Acts 17:4)
4. Chased out of Thessalonica (Acts 17:10)
5. Laughed at in Athens (Acts 17:32)
6. Regarded as a fool in Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:18, 23)

But nevertheless, Paul remained eager to go and preach the gospel in Rome, a dangerous place, the center of political power and pagan religion. This guy was unstoppable. How can this be? How can a person possess this kind of perseverance? How can a person have this kind of boldness and courage, where neither ridicule, criticism, nor physical persecution stop him? Well, of course, this is the result of the Holy Spirit’s work (Acts 1:8). But there is something else about Paul that I think we must note in Acts 20:22-24. Paul said,

"And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God."

That’s the key. Paul knew his life was in the Lord’s hands. He didn’t count his life dear to himself. He was willing to lose his life for the Lord, because he had already died to himself. It was no longer him who lived (Galatians 2:20). That is the mindset of a person who is unstoppable.

God, I pray that You would make us unstoppable! Work into us the perseverance, love, boldness and courage we need to reach out to lost and the dying. You helped Paul overcome stonings, imprisonments, shipwrecks; surely You can help us through our setbacks and discouragements. We place ourselves at your feet Lord. Use us. Empower us. Even this week! Amen.