Friday, December 5, 2014

The Boldness of Paul

"But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict." -1 Thessalonians 2:2

     Paul was a man of great faith. He had no faith in himself, or in others, but in God alone. And while in hard times, Paul still continued to have faith in God. Paul had the boldness, the audacity to present God's word to others after having been abused and mistreated very soon before. What can we learn from this?

     First of all I would like to look at the first part of 1 Thessalonians 2:2. When it says that Paul was mistreated, it doesn't say that Paul ran into some complications, or minor discouragements, but that he was shamefully mistreated. He was hurt, abused, and suffering. Even so, he felt compelled to preach the Word among those around him. He had been through a lot in his life, he knew that there would be more to go through later on, as we see in 1 Thessalonians 3:3 that he was destined for it, but he still had faith. He had faith, not in himself, not in others, not in false gods, but in the one true God. He had no faith that he wouldn't be persecuted, as we see, again, in chapter 3:3, but that no matter what circumstance, Paul would be able to preach the Word.

     Later in 1 Thessalonians 2:2 Paul said that he had the boldness to proclaim the Word. Why? Why is it considered boldness to present the gospel? In order to understand this completely, we have to understand the context. This was written when Rome was still in high power. In ancient Rome, Christians were greatly looked down on. I don't mean to say that Christians were looked down on as they are today, where really it's all just talk and discouragements. I'm not saying that that is nothing, but in comparison to back then, it's a breath of fresh air. Back then Christians had to worship in secret, because if they were found out, they were not only killed, but were made examples for any other Christians. They were skinned alive, burned at the stake, stoned, and murdered in several different horrific deaths. When Paul said that he had the boldness to present the Gospel in the midst of all this, he truly meant boldness. Paul was a true soldier of God. He did not try making everyone happy, but as we see in 1 Thessalonians 2:3-6, he just wanted to help people get to their heavenly goal by presenting the Word in love.

     What does this mean for modern day Christians? How can we apply this to our lives today? Christians today are given the opportunity to share the gospel with little to no persecution. It is our job as Christians to take advantage of that, and preach the word. So, are we? Today I would like to encourage you to stop what you are doing right now, and go tell someone the good news. After all, that is our mission, isn't it?