Thursday, December 29, 2016

God Has People in Your City!

Acts 18
One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.

Paul left Macedonia to go to Corinth, and immediately he met Priscilla and Aquilla. He became a "tentmaker", as he worked to support his preaching of the gospel. As usual Paul went into the synagogue and got little response from the Jews. In fact they became abusive, so Paul wiped his hands of them and said, "May your blood be on your head from now on, I am going to the Gentiles." So he went next door, where a "God-fearer" named a man named "Titius Justus" was receptive to his message. Then, the synagogue leader Crispus believed, and he and his whole house were baptized.

It is in this context Paul received a vision from the Lord. The Lord spoke and told Paul to not be afraid, keep on speaking and he would not be harmed because God had many people in the city. Perhaps Paul was wondering if he should stay in Corinth, or he was fearful of the opposition there. He was assured by God was with him he would not be harmed" Why? The Lord said, "Because I have many people in this city."

One could infer from this verse that God had prepared people in Corinth to hear the gospel and respond. Today, we would say these people were "receptive to the gospel." The Lord was telling Paul in effect, "Be patient, even though my people the Jews are not receptive, there are others in the city who will be open to hear and respond." In the parable of the "Seed and the Sower", there are four different soils, but only one is receptive to the seed. When the seed is planted in this soil, it bears fruit 30, 60, 90 times over. The other soils had grown hard, thorny or weed-infested and the seed could not take root. The Jews who rejected Jesus were the stony, thorny ground, and these new converts were the fertile and receptive soil.

What can we learn from this? We don't know who is receptive to the gospel and who isn't. We can pray for people's hearts to be softened, but at the end of the day only God knows who his people in the "city" are. But it is interesting to note that God is always preparing His people to hear the message. But how will they believe, if no one preaches to them? How will they hear if no one announces the "Good News' to them. It is easy to get discouraged and/or be afraid to share the Good News that Jesus is the Son of God. Like Paul, some will be receptive, and some may be hostile. But there are some of "God's people" in our city waiting for someone to share the Gospel with them. Maybe, like Paul, God will use you to reach some of the people in your city. Can you think of anything more exciting then being part of God's plan of salvation in someone else's life?

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