Aug 02, 2015 |Perpendicularity

Do Not Hesitate

08.02.15 | Perpendicularity

Do Not Hesitate

Joe Swords

Joe Swords teaches on how when Apostle Paul faces opposition in spreading the Gospel, the grace of God carries him through it all.

Acts 20

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Opposition to your ministry may alter the details of your ministry but does not derail your call to ministry.

You are called and gifted for ministry

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)

Your call to ministry is carried out in real space and time.

Your ministry will find opposition both from your own mind and from the world around you.

For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. (2 Corinthians 1:8)

The unexpectedness of Acts 20, wolves, and the uncertainty of your plans.

Pauls Journey Acts 20WEB

There he spent three months, and when a plot was made against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. (Acts 20:3)

I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. (Acts 20:29-30)

Receiving ministry, paying attention, and the constance of your call.

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24)

“Paul was ready to surrender his liberty and, if need be, his life itself for the sake of Christ and his service. Self-preservation was not a motive which he esteemed highly: his main concern was to fulfill the course which Christ had marked for him to run, preaching in the Spirit’s power the news of God’s free grace in Christ. Life or death was not the issue that mattered: what mattered most was, as he told another church, that Christ should be magnified in his body, “whether by life or by death” (Phil 1:2).”

– Bruce, The Book of Acts in NICNT, 390

Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. (Acts 20:28)

Hard work, perseverance, and the power of God’s grace in you.

And when they came to him, he said to them: “You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. (Acts 20:18-21, 26-27)

You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. (Acts 20:34)

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:35)

And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. (Acts 20:32)

“The phrase ‘the grace of God’ becomes in Acts a way of referring to the merciful action of God in Christ by which people become believers … The phrase is also used to refer to the loving favor of God. It is a kind of salvific action of God in redeeming and strengthening people. Grace motivates the gifts of God, which believers are admonished to use to serve each other.”

– Casurella, “Grace” in DLNTD, 434

We are tempted to lose heart, but we persevere because the word of God’s grace is in our lives.