The Power Of The Gospel
James E. Farley
Have you known people who you thought might never obey the gospel? Maybe they are family members, neighbors, or co-workers. Their lifestyles–and sometimes their open distain for the Truth–often cause us to say, “That person will never become a Christian!”
Acts 6:7 gives us the “key” to church growth – at any place and at any time. The key is that the Word of God must increase. The result is the number of disciples will multiply. Notice the latter part of that verse: “…and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” Think of the power of the gospel! Many religious leaders were converted to the way of the meek and lowly Jesus. If it happened then, it can happen today. The “key,” again, is an increase in “the seed” so that more “crop” will result. (Luke 8:11).
Think of the power of the gospel when the church of Christ was established in the city of Corinth. (Acts 18). Paul was there for eighteen months preaching and teaching that Jesus is the Christ. Many of the Jews rejected the message, but “…Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.” (vs. 8). After a time, another ruler of the synagogue there opposed Paul, and the Jews rose up against the apostle. They “…brought him before the judgment-seat.” (vs. 12). That is, they took Paul to court, albeit on trumped up and obviously meaningless charges. It seems that a man named “Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue” was ring-leader of all this, for when the proconsul, Gallio, made them leave the court house, some took Sosthenes and “beat him before the judgment seat.” (vss. 12-17). Here was a man that many might have said, “He will never become a Christian; he is just too much against the Truth. Look what he did to Paul.” However, as we read 1 Corinthians 1:1, we are amazed: “Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother …” The gospel is powerful; it can turn enemies of the cross into brethren!
Paul was arrested and, eventually, taken to Rome as a prisoner. Many were evidently distressed over these matters, but Paul wrote about it with these words: “But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places …” (Philippians 1:12-13). He mentioned this point again at the end of the book. “Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you. All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household.” (Philippians 4:21-22). Think of it! The power of the gospel to convert precious souls!
The great power that is in God’s Word is seen clearly in the conversion of Paul himself. Saul of Tarsus was a self-proclaimed enemy of the cross. He was “exceedingly mad against” the church of our Lord. (Acts 26:11). He pursued them, arrested them, bound them, had them beaten, caused them to blaspheme, and killed them. All the while, he thought he was right. (Acts 7:58-60; 8:1, 3; 9:1-2; 22:3-5; 26:9-11; Galatians 1:13-14; etc.).
Yet, we read from Acts chapters 9, 22, and 26 that this enemy of the Lord and of the Lord’s people was converted through the power of the gospel of Christ. It is no wonder he wrote as he did in Romans 1:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 1:18, 21.
Do not give up on your friends and family members who have not yet submitted to Jesus’ way as right. Teach them and encourage them at every opportunity that you have. They may yet obey the gospel. –1179 Mark Wayne Dr., Louisa, Kentucky 41230. email@example.com
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