Paul realized that he would never be able to please everyone by his ministry. No matter how he approached people, he found some would listen…some would scoff…and some would take offense. When we’re a people-pleaser, our focus is to deliberately and intentionally mollify our message…to water it down in order to be palatable for all, but in the process every ounce of Holy Spirit power is leached out. God isn’t calling us to be wishy-washy, lukewarm Christians who try to be “politically correct” with every person we meet. Paul understood that his allegiance was to Jesus Christ and not to the crowds…his total dependence was then on the Master of the universe not man.
The Ethiopian eunuch had been reading Isaiah 53:7-8 when Phillip came up to his chariot and started telling him about Jesus. Phillip started with the verses the eunuch was reading but then added related verses…threading them together into the Gospel Message. This “stringing pearls of heaven” is an excellent way of telling others about Jesus, and one I have used for a long time. In the front of my Bible I have written the starting point of this 10 point Road to Salvation – Revelation 3:20. Next to each verse is written then the subsequent verse to go to – Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Romans:5:8, John 3:16-18, John 3:36, Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 10:9-10, John 1:12, II Corinthians 6:2. The result is a beautifully told story of need, salvation, and redemption and one you can easily use to share the Good News with others.
Praying shouldn’t be a publicity stunt for the cameras while seeking 15 minutes of fame. For it’s our personal, intimate conversation with God…and He takes prayer very seriously…and so should we. As a Believer, I’ve seen the power of prayer and witnessed how intercessory prayer can literally change the atmosphere. But we tend to think of prayer as some sweet little poem we recite at the dinner table before meals and not the authoritative commands we can speak under the power of Jesus’ blood. To paraphrase I John 4:4, Greater is He who is in me, than he who is in the world. And if we could but grasp a glimpse of just how powerful our prayers are…this world would be shaken, and all the evil in it. May I then be so bold as to encourage you to prayer walk around your town…around your schools…around the area you live in. For we are all asking ourselves the same question, “What can I do in the face of all this evil in the world?” The answer is prayer…bold, impassioned prayer.
No matter how many animal sacrifices were made in the Temple…they never fully removed the people’s sin. It wasn’t until Jesus Christ gave Himself up as the unblemished Lamb of God that humankind was finally delivered from the guilt and punishment of sin. Hebrews 9:12 says, “He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.” God offered His only son, Jesus, to take our place on that Cross. He died as an atonement for our sins…His blood being shed once for all. Which means He only had to died one time, not over and over again like the Temple sacrifices. For it was Jesus that took upon Himself the sins of the entire world that you and I might be redeemed and set free.
You were on the Lord’s mind long before you had ever heard of Him. He saw you saved and made whole when you were at the very lowest point in your life. He saw you doing great things for Him way before you had the confidence to step out in the abilities He had given you. For the Lord not only knew your name… He saw the person you would become through Him.
The Apostle Paul readily admits here that he’s not yet arrived at perfection in his spiritual life. So how come we think as soon as we become a Christian we’re a mature Believer that can’t fail? I Timothy 6:12 tells us to, “Fight the good fight of faith.” The journey of our Christian walk is going to be a struggle…it’s going to be a battle between good and evil, with us sometimes coming out of the skirmish bruised and battered. But we need to get back up and not allow failures to define who we are in God. Failures simply mean we’re still trying…and still fighting the good fight of faith.
I may be very old fashion, but I still like to talk to people on the phone…or better yet, face to face! Texting is ok, but I like to hear a person’s voice and interact in a more personal way. At the beginning of time God could have been silent, but He chose to speak through prophetic disclosure. But then Jesus Christ was born into the world, making a way for all of us to have an intimate relationship with our Savior. No longer did we have to hear about God…we could experience Him for ourselves.