Sunday, September 30, 2012
“For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries” (1 Corinthians 16:9 KJV).
Hypothetically, if we are the Lord’s children, then we will have an easy life? Right? Wrong!
As one Christian brother expressed it, “God has not promised us Christians a rose petal pathway.” Contrary to the feel-good cliché “God wants you healthy and wealthy,” our membership in the Church the Body of Christ does not ensure our lives will be trouble-free.
While we Christians serve the Lord Jesus Christ, this world has never been and will never be His friend: “They hated [Jesus Christ] without a cause” (John 15:25; cf. Psalm 35:19). During His 33 years on earth, the world was very unkind to our Lord and Saviour. He was hated, belittled, and executed by His own people. The world will “love” Christ living His life in us to the same extent they “loved” Him living His life during His earthly ministry—not at all!
In the verse previous to today’s Scripture, Paul is staying at Ephesus until Pentecost. Today’s Scripture says that while Paul had opportunity to preach and teach in Ephesus, the satanic policy of evil had its men in place. Evil men, Satan’s cohorts, were eager to divide Paul’s audience and persecute Christians, including harming the Apostle himself. Today’s Scripture refers to Acts 19:21–20:1, when Paul preached against the pagan goddess Diana in Ephesus. Fearing financial ruin, the local idol makers anger the Ephesians and cause them to turn against Paul. This riot in Ephesus (present-day western Turkey) forces Paul to depart to Macedonia (present-day northern Greece).
The Philippian believers endured intense persecution, yet Paul encouraged them: “And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God” (1:28). Do not fear or be intimidated by Satan’s evil world system. (“Satan” is a Hebrew word meaning “adversary.”) The devil is our adversary because he is God’s adversary. Thankfully, Satan’s tactics do not have to destroy us: God’s grace is sufficient for us to bear them (2 Corinthians 12:9,10).
Expect the adversaries, and expect God’s grace to endure them! 🙂