“They (Paul and Barnabas) preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.” Acts 14:21-22
God’s people have the privilege to preach and tell others the gospel of salvation, that they might be saved. If we do not speak the gospel as laid out for us in the Scriptures, human souls cannot be saved. Unless we hear, repent and believe, we can never find eternal life. When we are faithful in this message, there will be faith and salvation. In this Scripture, a large number were saved.
When Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, they encouraged the Christians there to be strong in the Lord and to remain true in the message of the gospel and God’s eternal truth. Paul did not hide the truth, that all those who walk worthy of Christ, will suffer persecution.
When we reach out with the gospel, we will also suffer the same offence of the cross, for the sake of Christ. We must put on our bravery and throw off the coward spirit, and obey the Lord.
This hymn by Isaac Watts, brings home to us our calling..
“Must I be carried to the skies
On flow’ry beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize,
And sailed through raging seas?”
Isaac Watts 1721
We save ourselves, and unbelievers are not saved. We keep silent and the lost people around us, slip into a deadly grave. We are saved by God’s grace alone, but somehow our Christian service is bound up in our salvation. No fruit, no faith. No works, no faith.
Being a Christian is not a comfortable lifestyle choice, but the most challenging way to live in this life. Our consolation is that we walk with God and have the power of God living within our souls. We have ultimate power and comfort and we will be over comers.
The kingdom is coming and also has already come. Whatever hardships we face as we live for God, we will enter into our inheritance with great joy..