Each and every chapter of Acts has taught us something, and this is no exception. In fact, this one shows us some things that we have not seen before in Acts, so let’s get started and see what it has for us. Read Acts chapter 18 and then take a look at my thoughts.
Firstly, the first paragraph is so important. Let me spell it out just in case there is any confusion. WE ARE ALL CALLED TO FULL TIME MINISTRY, REGARDLESS OF WHAT OUR JOB IS. Get it? So often I hear people say that they are not called into full time ministry, now I know what they mean, but I think we all are. Yes, we pay some people to be a pastor or take up a ‘position’ in the church, but that is the exception to the rule. If the others didn’t work, how would we pay the pastor? I have been called to teach, heal, prophesy, lead and deliver people, and I have a full time job. In fact, I have my own business (there is a link to the right of the blog post if you want to see what I do). I see my ministry as just as important as my business (if not more so), even though I don’t get paid for it as such, God provides me with everything, so I do what He calls me to do.
Secondly, we see Paul stop teaching and leave when people oppose him and blaspheme. This is a tricky one because we often refuse to ‘give up’ on someone who does not want to hear the gospel. We keep on trying to teach people who don’t want to hear. Now I am not saying that we give up the first time they disagree with us, but what I am saying is that there are people out there who will just not believe. These people often look for a fight and blatantly come against anything you have to say. Paul just walked away and left them to it. I often have the same attitude. There are so many people out there who want to know the good news, I’d rather be teaching them than getting frustrated trying to teach someone who isn’t interested.
Now here is the next point, and I have a funny feeling that this may upset some people and I may get some comments about this, but that has never stopped me before. Look at what happens next, God appears to Paul in a dream and tells him to speak boldly and that he will not be attacked here. That is so different to the rest of Acts where Paul gets beaten almost every chapter. Why does God say this? I’m not sure, but let me give you my theory. God says, “for I have many people in this city.” . I believe this to be the reason. I have said it before, I don’t believe that being sovereign means that you always get your way (Sovereignty of God). I believe that God is sovereign, but He doesn’t always get His way. God wants everyone to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4), but we all know that not everyone is (Matthew 7:14). I believe that our free will can (and usually does) come against (and often prevent) what God is doing. Because God had many people there, the chance of His will being done was greatly increased. God did not want Paul to get hurt, but He won’t oppose free will (Paul’s Thorn). This gives us more responsibility, are you sitting around waiting for God to do something, or are you allowing God to do something by using you? We have a responsibility and we have the authority (in Christ) (Our Authority in Christ) to do it. God works through us. Now before you get all upset and start writing to me, I am not saying that we are more powerful than God, I am merely saying that Jesus gave us the authority, and now God chooses to work through us. God has intervened in the past, but I believe that we need to do our part. If the boy didn’t come forward with the loaves and fish, would Jesus have still fed the 5000? I don’t think so, in the following chapter He feeds 4000 and again calls for any food that people have. God’s power, our actions.
So I hope that this has been an interesting chapter for you too. We have got the authority to do what God has called us to do, and if we bring the little that we can, God will do the rest. No matter what your job, find what God has called you to do and step boldly into it. If God is for us, who can be against us?
Walk in the blessing.