Wednesday, April 1, 2015
“But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost. For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries” (1 Corinthians 16:8,9 KJV).
With ministry opportunities come ministry oppositions!
Recently, I spoke with a Christian sister whose pastor-husband (a brother and ministry friend) just held a grace Bible conference at their local church. She explained to me how they had encountered opposition: a local denominational preacher had learned of their grace meetings and he held “competing” meetings at his church, so that his people could not check out the grace conference nearby! While speaking with her long-distance, I encouraged her with today’s Scripture.
The Holy Spirit had been working mightily in and through the Apostle Paul for the last 20 or 25 years. Pagans who had never before heard of the one true God were suddenly turning to Him and abandoning their idols. In Ephesus, recorded in Acts chapter 19, Paul’s preaching was beginning to threaten the income of the local idol-makers (verses 22-41). Now that people were becoming Christians by trusting Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour, they no longer needed the religious trinkets of heathenism.
“ Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia [Turkey], this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands:  So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.” In the next several verses, the silversmiths who made silver shrines for Diana the pagan goddess, started a riot and the mob nearly overwhelmed and killed the Apostle Paul!
Even today, we encounter lost people—and even fellow Christians—who refuse to give up their traditional teachings, lest the funding for their religion be eliminated. They see the Bible verses that delineate the message of grace and God’s Word rightly divided, but lest their denominational system fall apart, they fervently cling to their water baptism, tithing, supernatural experiences, confessions, prayers, et cetera. Dear friends, let us lose our tradition, but let us not lose heart! 🙂
Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why was Saul of Tarsus’ name changed to Paul?”