SCRIPTURE FROM: Acts 18:5-6 (NLT)
TEXT: 5 …Paul spent all his time preaching the word. He testified to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. 6 But when they opposed and insulted him, Paul shook the dust from his clothes and said, “Your blood is upon your own heads—I am innocent. From now on I will go preach to the Gentiles.”
OBSERVATION: Paul was a very patient evangelist of the Gospel of Christ. He had a passion for reaching the lost, and also those who allowed other teachings to hide them from the truth of the Gospel. However, he was a very smart man, and one who was closely in tuned with the work of the Holy Spirit. Therefore Paul realized that he could not force anyone to believe on the name of Jesus, so he allowed God to direct him when to move on, so that the people would feel the absence of the Savior. This is still very prevalent today, so let’s dig deeper into this.
APPLICATION: One of the most joyous occasions in a church is to help welcome a new pastor to serve at your church. For those who dig in and work along with the pastor to accomplish the work of the Lord in His local church, one of the saddest events in a church is when a pastor feels compelled to leave your church. Way too often, it’s for reasons very similar to the scenario faced by Paul, for the people are steeped in tradition and refuses to accept the love and preaching from men who, they feel, don’t fit the mold of their personal ideals for a ‘perfect’ pastor. Unfortunately, this could mean that in spite of their gentle heart for the Lord and His work here on earth, yet the man presenting the gospel is a mortal man, and this is often reflected through his casual talk; the friends (church members) that he hangs out with during his downtime; the jokes that he uses to help demonstrate or illustrate the story being preached that day; and the casual dress throughout the week is even being brought into the pulpit. However, he has a passion for the lost; he is a student of the Word of God and faithfully communicates with God about His perfect will for your church. Friends, these same pastors leave our church because of silly things that hurt them and their family, and they go on to another church where God is at liberty to work through them to reach the people of that community. Often these pastors brush the dust off their feet when they leave your church – the dirt of distrust; lack of communication; lack of acceptance and cooperation; excessive gossip about them and/or their family; refusal to allow God in and use you as part of the ministry at your church. Oh that we might remember that we are all equal at the foot of the cross. While here on earth we should be preparing ourselves, with the help of God, to see our old selves changed into the likeness of God as we prepare for that day when we will see Him face to face. Our time here should now be spent getting rid of old habits and the tricks we played on people that hurt them so badly. Our time should be spent in developing an attitude like that of Christ, and getting along with all men and women, even those that the world might look at and wonder why do we bother. Friends, I wonder if the blood of others may not sometimes be upon our shoulders it we had a part in steering them away from the gospel of Jesus Christ.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, it is so challenging to live here on earth and imitate You in every way. Often we find many excuses and reasons why we can’t, but Lord I humbly plead that You would melt our hardened hearts so that we might see our old selves with its flawed character, step aside as we assume the life that You have given to us and demonstrated for us. People need the Lord. They need to see You. They need to hear from You. If that’s not happening through us, then please teach us to step aside and not be a stumbling block to those You are trying to reach. I pray that You might be able to use me Lord, but I would rather Your will, not mine. To God be the glory, for all that You will accomplish! AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely to subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Sebring, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!