TODAY'S WORD FOR Tuesday, September 22, 2020:
The man transformed by God from a persecutor of Christians to a preacher for Christ.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also to the Greek.
KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE:
Many of us get headed in the wrong direction in life without being aware of it. Paul was heading down the wrong road, in his life, thinking that he was on the right one until Jesus stopped him “dead in his tracks.” Being confronted by Jesus completely changed the direction of Paul’s life.
The apostle Paul then became a tireless worker for His Lord, a fervent preacher of the gospel, a great apostle, if not the greatest, and a fervent spiritual warrior.
Paul wrote 13 of the New Testament books of the Bible. He won the first European convert to Christianity (Lydia in Macedonia). He was a great missionary founder of churches and suffered much for his belief in our Lord.
There are five important guiding principles that we can learn from the life of Paul.
First, he said that he was a debtor to the Greeks and the barbarians, the wise and the unwise (Acts 1:14). What Paul is saying is that he had an obligation to share the good news of the gospel because of the great sacrifice that Christ had made for him. We have the same obligation because Jesus made that same sacrifice for us.
Secondly, he not only had an obligation but he was eager to preach the gospel to all who would listen. Paul did not know how much time that he might have to preach, so he felt an urgency to preach so that he could take all that Christ had given him and pour it out to all the people who would listen.
We as believers need to be prepared because we do not know how much time we have left to share our faith, so we should feel an urgency to share with as many others as possible the message of salvation while we still have time.
This is why we feel compelled to write these daily “TODAYS WORD” devotionals.
Thirdly, Paul was not ashamed of the gospel. He lived in a day of moral degeneracy just as we do today. Paul took the gospel to pagan and immoral Greeks and Romans. Rome had become a moral sewer under Nero. The depravity of their lives was the exact opposite to the moral righteousness of the gospel that Paul preached. Needless to say Paul’s message was not well received. In addition Paul was a Jew, a race that was thought by many in his day to be a despicable sub-human race, worth only to be cursed, ill-used and enslaved. Doesn’t this sound the same as what believers are facing today in our world?
But even in this kind of surroundings and culture Paul was not ashamed not only of the gospel but to be able to preach the gospel. Paul was often rejected, not only by a few people, but by whole communities but he continued to be unashamed of the gospel of Christ.
Fourthly, Paul was appointed to defend the gospel (Philippians 1:16). Some of the preachers of the gospel in Rome were very jealous of Paul and envious of the results he was having. They also reacted to the attention he was getting from the social circles and society of the community. They were envious of the support and loyalty that fellow believers were giving Paul. And probably what bothered them most was that they felt threatened because he was gaining daily as the leader of the Christian community in Rome.
Paul was not affected by these feelings. Many preached with the wrong motive. Paul had only one motive and that was to preach the gospel and to defend it from false teachings. By preaching as he did he was defending the gospel and God honored what Paul did.
Look at what is happening today. Much of the same jealousy and envy is seen among believers and even among pastors in our churches. We, as believers must be like Paul and just continue to preach the gospel with the pure motive of bringing the lost to a saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus’ saving grace.
More and more we are seeing Christians both here in America and across the world coming under attack because of their faith. We must always be willing to defend our faith and stand up for Jesus just as Paul did.
Finally, Paul labored more abundantly then all others as we read in I Corinthians 15:10. God wants us to be the hardest workers in our church, at our workplace, in our communities and most important in our homes. We have a message to preach and a God who is holy and righteous to serve. Let us not let Him down.
Our memory verse for this week is found in Mark 11:25.
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you and your sins.
May our family be ready to preach the good news of the gospel and not be ashamed of what we believe. Help us to equip ourselves to be ready to defend our faith when we see and hear Christians under attack because of their faith in Jesus.
These Family Devotional thoughts are written by Dr. Ken Phillips, Executive Director of America's Hunger
Solution, and his wife Dottie. Ken has had ministry positions
with The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, World Vision, Youth For Christ, World Opportunities International,
and World Bible Society. He also has consulted for more than 30 Christian ministries in management and stewardship
development. They have published a book called No Problems Only Situations that discusses the journey of their family.
Ken and Dottie have been married for 60 years, and have 6 children, 20 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren. Their
second book, TODAY'S WORD, includes 365 daily
devotionals and is now available for only $10.
Ken & Dottie Phillips
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