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June 17, 2015

DEVOTIONAL – JUNE 18

by Leslie John

 APOSTLE PAUL’S BOLDNESS

 Leslie M. John

Saul accepted Jesus as his Lord and after his conversion he was known as Paul. He became a great Apostle and served God. He was basically a Minister to the Gentiles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Saul’s conversion was interesting.

Saul was persecuting the followers of Lord Jesus Christ by threatening with slaughter. He obtained letters from High Priest and while he was on his way to Damascus suddenly a light shone round about him and it was light from heaven. Saul fell to the ground and heard a voice, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” Saul said, “Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks” (Acts 9:5)

Saul humbled himself and asked the Lord as to what the Lord wanted him to do. The Lord said to him to go to the city where He would show what he has to do. Men who accompanied heard the voice but did not see any one and they were surprised. Saul rose up from the ground and could not see any one. Those who accompanied him led him by the hand to Damascus. Ananias, a disciple of Jesus, went to Saul with great reluctance; yet obeying the instructions of the Lord and prayed for him, calling him Brother Saul. After that Saul received sight and was filled with Holy Spirit and immediately he started preaching that Jesus Christ was the Son of God.

Psalmist writes in Psalm Chapter 2:1 “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?” This was a prophecy about Lord Jesus Christ who is the Son of God.

Paul writes: “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

Who can stand against God and the children of God? It appears outwardly that people are persecuting the children of God but it is impossible to do so without touching the apple of the eye of God himself. When people persecute the servants of God, it is tantamount to touching the apple of the eye of God. Without God’s knowledge no one can do anything to the child of God. People who persecute the children of God will surely reap consequences of their actions. But they children of God who face persecutions will have their rewards.

Stephen knew about the heavenly rewards for him. He looked up into heaven and while giving up the spirit he cried to the Lord to forgive those who were hurting him. Jesus himself said on the cross that those who were crucifying him did not know what they were doing and, therefore, he cried to the Father to forgive them.

Saul could neither persecute any one; nor was the persecution launched against him for standing for Christ was successful. Paul faced illegal charges and was imprisoned; yet he faced and defended himself with great courage. God was with him always.

The Jews heard Saul preach in the very beginning days of his conversion that Jesus is the Son of God and Jesus is the very Christ. Unable to tolerate his preaching the Jews took counsel to kill him. This was the beginning of Paul’s own persecution and for living for Christ. It is evident from Chapters 21 to 28 of the Book of Acts that Apostle Paul was by nature a very bold man and faced persecutions and accusations with great courage.

“Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep”. 2 Corinthians 11:25

Agabus, a prophet during his days prophesied against Paul that he will be arrested by the Jews and will be given over to the Gentiles, but he never got discouraged. He was falsely alleged and was put in prison. Paul boldly defended himself. Paul faced shipwrecks but was never discouraged. He encouraged others. He wrote to Timothy, whom he considered as his son in the Lord,

“Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck”: (1 Timothy 1:19)

In 2 Corinthians 12th Chapter Paul wrote that he had weakness, which is not clearly revealed to us. He prayed to God three times to take away that weakness, but God said to him that in Paul’s weakness was God’s strength.

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me”. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

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