Scripture – Acts 19:8-10
Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. 9 But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10 This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.
It is not our job to prevent anyone from refusing to believe or publicly bad-mouthing the good news about Jesus. Paul spent three months boldly preaching and debating in the synagogue and many believed in the truth. But some didn’t. Despite Paul’s knowledge of the Scriptures. Despite the miracles. Despite his boldness.
The Holy Spirit draws the hearts of people to Himself. The Holy Spirit opens eyes and reveals the mystery of the Gospel. But each men and women have the free will to decide how to respond. No-one can be forced to believe.
So what did Paul do? He went down the street and spent the next two years boldly preaching and debating in a secular building called the Lecture Hall of Tyrannus. Paul spoke to those who would listen.
The result: “all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord”
How often are we feel demoralized or defeated after taking a bold step and mentioning ‘Jesus’ or ‘church’ to a friend or colleague, just to get completely shut down?
Let us refuse to feel condemned. There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. Instead, let us follow Paul’s example, boldly speaking and living the Gospel that has changed our lives, trusting God to do the rest. Let us look for the places, the people, the environments where our testimony may be well-received. Paul stopped going to the synagogue because he was no longer welcome and so he went down the street to a lecture hall where he was welcome. Where do we need to go?
Jesus, let me be a man who is sensitive to your Spirit. Introduce me to people who are ready to hear and receive the truth about you. I trust you to draw people to you. Thank you for the privilege of knowing you. May I introduce many people to you this year. You are worth it. In your name, amen.