Let me tell you how God brings people into his house, how he speaks to them and how he saves them. The Lord builds his church through the testimonies of light shining forth from those who love him. He’s able to do this not because these servants use the right methods but because they live the right life.
“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). These are Paul’s closing word to the Philippians. He wasn’t saying, “I am in prison and these chains are a blessing. I’m so happy for this pain.” I’m convinced Paul prayed daily for his release and at times cried out for strength to endure. Even Jesus, in his hour of trial and pain, cried to the Father, “Why have you forsaken me?” That is our first impulse in our afflictions, to cry out, “Why?” And the Lord is patient with that cry.
Today’s church is full of silent saints who don’t want to make waves. After all, nobody wants trouble! But some of the disciples were big troublemakers. Paul and Silas walked in the power of the Spirit and “gave their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 15:26). On one occasion, Paul confronted a fortune-teller and cast the evil spirit out of her, sending the entire city into an uproar. The slave-owners of the delivered woman dragged Paul and Silas into the marketplace to stand trial before the city magistrates.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
The writer of Hebrews says to his readers, “By this time you ought to be teachers” (Hebrews 5:12). These are strong, bold words. Who exactly is the writer addressing here? In short, who is he rebuking? The book of Hebrews shows us he is speaking to believers who have been well-schooled in biblical truth. In other words, those reading this letter had sat under powerful preaching by many anointed ministers. Consider all that these Christians had been taught:
We are all witnesses to the truth of Christ’s work, or at least we should be; why is it difficult to talk about sometimes (or all the time)?
“If you do not turn from your sins, you will die,” shouts one boy on the street to pedestrians. “It’s that simple. You either turn, or you burn.” Jonah is one of the LaVelle family’s 10 children, and they are all part of an evangelistic movement known as the Spokane Street Preachers.
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty” (2 Timothy 3:1, ESV). Right now things are taking place we could never have imagined. Jesus predicted that men would become lovers of themselves, lovers of money, hateful, proud and arrogant. Today if someone has the nerve to mention sin, he is called a bigot and made an outcast. As God’s Word is moved to the sidelines of the culture, sin becomes more and more prevalent.
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation."
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.
We often expect God to move in one of two ways: either by sending a supernatural outpouring of his Holy Spirit to sweep multitudes into his kingdom, or by sending judgment to bring people to their knees or even destroy them. But, beloved, that is not God’s method of changing things in an evil day. His way of rebuilding ruins has always been to use ordinary men and women whom he has touched. And he does this by filling them with his Holy Spirit and sending them into the warfare with great faith and power! “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:4).