Monday, October 16, 2006
My Study Notes: Chapter 14 TO LIVE IS CHRIST
My Study Notes: Chapter 14, TO LIVE IS CHRIST
They retuned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them ot remain true to the faith, ‘We must go through many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God” , they said.
Acts 14 21b-22
Acts 14: 21-28
In just a few verses in Acts 14 we see Pual and Barnabas backtrack through a number of cities on their way to Syrian Antioch where they had been commissioned.
Acts 22 tells us why they backtracked into to perilous places. They faced the risks to tell the new believers “We must go through many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God”
The key here was the word ‘MUST’ . Hardship is inevitable in the nature of things.
In II Corinthians we read “ our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
I John 4-4 reminds us “You dear children are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
Hardships are inevitable for us because:
God wants to give us eternal victory by working His glory in and through them
Satan wants to bring us defeat by causing us to struggle and fail
The glorious nature of God and the heinous nature of Satan
Their message of encouragement through the warning of hardship may seem to be a paradox to us.
We might not find a message about unavoidable troubles very strengthening. Lets see if we can discover some strength or encouragement from their message.
If we recognize the inevitable nature of hardships , we can redirect our energies. Fear of trials sometimes depletes more energy than the trial itself.
Once we accept our hardship, we often sense a heavenly strength filling our souls. If you fear having your heart broken, ask God to redirect your energies toward faithfulness instead.
Realizations also encourage us in the faith.
First Peter 1:7 tells us one more reason. It says of trials “ these have come so that your faith, a greater worth than gold which perishes even though refined by fire, may prove genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
Be encouraged to know that difficulty is not a sign of immaturity or faithlessness. The Holy Spirit will do His job and let you know if you are suffering because of sin. Otherwise, remember we must go through many hardships to enter the Kingdom.
After encouraging the new believers the time came for Paul and Barnabas to leave, but they did something to ensure an ongoing strengthening and encouraging of these new disciples.
Acts 14:23 tells us they appointed elders in each church. These men were probably spiritually mature as well as old. Oder men were not the only ones charged with responsibility.
In Titus 2:3-6 Paul also charged older women, younger women and younger men to faithful service He choose people of every age whose hearts are turned to Him.
Life is difficult. We don’t have Paul and Barnabas to encourage us, but we do have lots of older people who are willing to share the faithfulness of God, if we just stop and ask them.
I know that many times my faithful love of God is looked down upon as being over zealous and maybe even silly in some of my expectations, but I can only say that when it comes to my faith in God, I’ll never back down in my beliefs. He is my reason for being.
We can never know, nor are we supposed to know just how great our God is, we can only stand in AWE of our wonderful Lord and Savior.
‘On Ya’ - ma