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GROWING IN CHRIST

"Bold and Persevering"

Date published: 09/03/2012
 
Acts 14:19-20 “Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.” (NIV)
 
Chapter 14 is filled with examples of Paul’s ministry, boldness, perils, salvations, and change.  Yet Paul continued to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ and represent Jesus to others.  The threat of danger or opposition did not sidetrack Paul; he endured while accomplishing what God had called him to do.  Verse 19 seems like any other day for Paul.  He was beat to a pulp until the Jews believed he was dead.  Now certainly that would cause a change of plans for most people, but what does Paul do?  “He got up and went back into the city.”  That’s like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego asking to be put back into the fiery furnace!  What caused Paul to not just have faith, but to also have endurance in following Jesus?              2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 gives us a glimpse of Paul’s thinking: “With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of His calling, and that by His power He may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.”  Paul’s endurance was driven by three things: 1) He wanted to be counted worthy of God’s calling. 2) He wanted to fulfill every good purpose God had given him – he was on mission. 3) His faith was actualized by his actions. Paul believed in the power and mission of Christ, and he acted upon it. Paul proclaims in Philippians 2:16, “That I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.”  God wants you to live boldly for Him; He also wants you to complete the race He has given you by enduring to the end.  Paul’s endurance enabled him to say in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  Do not live your life in Christ through a series of random actions done out of duty or peer pressure; instead know God’s purposes for you.  Passionately embrace God’s purposes and carry them out by faith through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Hebrews 12:1 – “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”  There is no purpose or endeavor more worthy than living in the center of God’s will! 

Philippians 3:13-14 “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  (NIV)