THE STORY chapter # 30
(My home church is participating in the study of THE STORY – The Bible As One Continuing Story Of God And His People. Foreword by Max Lucado and Randy Frazee. Each week, my Thursday post focuses on our current study chapter.)
Paul, although once a staunch persecutor of Christians, continued to preach the gospel. His personal hatred of who Jesus said He is, and what Jesus taught, was completely changed on a road to Damascus when Jesus personally appeared to him.
From that day on, Paul did not hesitate to preach that everyone must turn to God and have faith in the name of Jesus Christ. He taught both Jews and Gentiles, Acts 20:21. He spoke in private homes and in public synagogues, Acts 20:20. Though Paul never committed any crime, what he proclaimed often brought about great conflict.
Fights often broke out, resulting in Paul being beaten. Men shouted at him and threw dust into the air. Roman guards would be called in, to keep the uproar under control. Sometimes Paul was flogged.
Five times I [Paul] received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, 2 Corinthians 11:24-25
Paul continued to live his faith while held captive in prison. Acts 16:25-34 tells the story of Paul and his friend Silas; imprisoned after Paul commanded a spirit to come out of a female slave who predicted the future. While Paul and Silas prayed and sang hymns, an earthquake shook the foundations and the prison doors flew open. The jailer, believing the men escaped, was about to kill himself. But Paul shouted they were still inside. The trembling jailer asked Paul what he must do to be saved.
It was from prison in Rome that Paul writes letters to churches in Ephesus, Philippi, and Colossae. And where Paul also wrote a letter to a man named Philemon. Philemon’s slave, Onesimus, ran away to Rome, where he met Paul. Onesimus was converted, then Paul wrote the letter to Philemon asking him to take Onesimus back, not as a slave but as a brother in Christ.
No matter Paul’s circumstance, he was always ready to proclaim the meaning of Christ’s resurrection.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. Ephesians 1:7-10
THE STORY foreword by Max Lucado & Randy Frazee