Wednesday, April 6, 2011
The Opportunity to EXPLAIN the Gospel
In my last posting we saw that in every obstacle we face, in life and in our ministry, there are opportunities that God has opened for us. Paul made that clear to the Philippians when he said that he wanted them to know that the horrific circumstances that had happened to him (being arrested, beaten, shipwrecked, snake bit, jailed) had brought about opportunities that never would have happened otherwise (Philippians 1:12).
Paul goes in in verse 12 and tells us that one of these opportunities was a furtherance of the Gospel. Because of his circumstances, he was bale to explain the Gospel to people he never would have had the opportunity to do so with had these "misfortunes" not occurred. In verse 13 he shares that the cause of Christ had become known throughout the whole praetorian guard and throughout the entire household of Caesar. The praetorian guard was a special group of soldiers who protected Caesar and the palace. There were between 9,000 and 10,000 of them and Paul was chained to two of them at all times. These guards were changed every six hours. And as Paul sat chained to each of these men he had the opportunity to explain the Gospel to each of them. That opportunity never would have taken place had it not been for the hurts he had experienced in his life and ministry.
Was it worth it? In the closing chapter of the book to the Philippians, Paul says in verse 22, "All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar's household." How do you think these member's of Caesar's household became saints in Jesus? Because Paul's suffering landed him in prison in the palace where he was able to explain the Gospel to many people he otherwise would never have met. The same opportunity can be found in the midst of your suffering and hurt as well - even in ministry!