In many ways 2015 has been a tough one for Bible believing, evangelical Christians! Believer’s have been persecuted worldwide, some have given their lives for the sake of the gospel, others have experienced cultural antipathy for Biblical values and teaching, religious bodies have capitulated to teachings that are completely antithetical to apostolic truth, and legislative bodies have enacted laws that limit religious freedom. It’s been a difficult and trying year!
And yet, in spite of the difficulties, it has been an exciting and fruitful year of opportunity for world evangelism!
In my Bible reading this morning that mixture of difficult circumstances of incredible opportunity impressed itself on me as drew to the end of Acts (Acts 27-28). Apostle Paul has been unjustly accused, he has appealed to Caesar for justice, he has been sent to Rome for trial, on the way there, Paul has experienced a terrible storm at sea, has been shipwrecked, finally Paul and all the passengers on the ship barely escape death and end up on Malta, an island in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily. Paul’s situation was unjust, his circumstances were terrible, his advice had been ignored, yet he emerges as a leader, contributing constructively and redemptively in terrible circumstances!
For example, after arriving on the little Island of Malta after the shipwreck, Paul is bitten by a poisonous viper while building a fire, shakes it off, and to the amazement of the natives supernaturally no harm comes to him. In fact, the natives, who thought fate had come to evil man, changed their mind and thought he was a god. Paul ministers to the chief man of the island who was terribly ill, prayed for him, and God heals him. This resulted in others coming, hearing the gospel, and being healed. The account ends with these words… “They honored us greatly, and when we about to sail, they put us on board with whatever we needed.” (Acts 28:10)
So what’s the point? Here it is, it seems to me… “Whenever an authentic, Spirit-filled, believer, experiences unfair or difficult circumstances, they should simply seek to be a blessing, walk in the Spirit, and live out their faith in Christ for the glory of God! That’s what Apostle Paul did… Let me tell you, I want to live that way!B