Three Applications from Paul's Faithfulness to the Gospel

April 13, 2020

 

Strength in the Desert, Part 8

Paul endured more suffering than many of us will ever experience, yet he was faithful to the gospel in every situation. He did not waste his time of suffering and waiting, he used it to further the gospel and serve the Lord. In Acts 28 we see three examples of how Paul used difficult times to be faithful to the gospel.

1. Paul’s Faithfulness to the Gospel Prevented Waiting from Being His Focus

In Acts 28:17-22, Paul is waiting for his trial, but he did not focus on his waiting. He gathered the Jewish leaders together to speak to them, taking advantage of the opportunity to witness to them. Times of suffering or waiting are not times to waste by doing nothing. There are always ways to serve the Lord and be faithful to share the gospel, especially in times of distress. The hope of the gospel shines even brighter in dark and uncertain times and Christians should follow Paul’s example of faithfully witnessing during those times.

2. Paul’s Faithfulness to the Gospel Caused Him to Be More Concerned About the Future of Others Than His Own Present Suffering

In the following verses, 23-28, we see that Paul’s gospel is future oriented as he proclaims the Kingdom with Jesus Christ as the key to being part of the Kingdom. In the midst of a suffering present, his concern was for the future of others. As we have seen many times in this series, our suffering is never just about us. There is always a bigger picture in God’s great plan, and we should always keep that in mind as we take advantage of opportunities to show concern for others.

"There is always a bigger picture in God’s great plan, and we should always keep that in mind as we take advantage of opportunities to show concern for others."

3. Paul’s Faithfulness to the Gospel Created Warmth and Welcoming in the Midst of His Suffering

In verses 29-30, Paul finds many relationship opportunities in his waiting. His concern for the lost drove him to welcome anyone to hear the gospel. He did not shut himself off from the world to suffer in silence, he used the time to love others and further the gospel.

It can be so tempting to seclude ourselves during difficult times, but Paul reminds us that our lives are not our own. Telling others of the kingdom of God and the salvation of Jesus Christ is far more important than taking the easy route of waiting idly. Turn your time of waiting into a time of service to the Lord and faithfulness to the gospel.


Steve Swartz, D.Min

Dr. Swartz is the senior teaching pastor of Grace Bible Church in Bakersfield, California and author of Shattered Shepherds and Strength in the River. You can hear him on the Steadfast in the Faith broadcast.


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