“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that in town after town the Holy Spirit assures me that imprisonment and suffering are waiting for me. But I don’t place any value on my life, if only I can finish my race and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace” – Acts 20:22-24, ISV
Sharing the Gospel is no easy task. It is with beset with hostility, resentment, persecution, opposition and in some cases leads to imprisonment or even death. This is how it was in the apostle Paul’s time. He testified, “I served the Lord with all humility, with tears, and with trials that came to me through the plots of the Jews. I never shrank from telling you anything that would help you nor from teaching you publicly and from house to house. I testified to both Jews and Greeks about repentance to God and faith in our Lord Jesus” (Acts 20:19-21, ISV). He was beaten, imprisoned, in danger of his life at the hands of those who wanted to stop him from doing the work Jesus had called him to do.
Yet, Paul persevered. He didn’t allow the actions of others or fear to impede him. He was in a race and he was determined to finish it even if it cost him his life. He was true soldier. He was in a war that will continue to rage until Jesus returns. It is a spiritual war and as he pointed out we are not fighting against flesh and blood, “but against rulers, authorities, cosmic powers in the darkness around us, and evil spiritual forces in the heavenly realm” (Ephesians 6:12, ISV). These were the forces which were working against him at every turn of his ministry but through it all, he had the assurance that the Lord was with him.
When he was in Corinth, the Lord spoke to him in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.” Paul was encouraged and he remained in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching the Word of God (Acts 18:9, 10, NKJV).
We have the same assurances as Paul did. We are not alone in our ministry to share the Gospel. The Lord is with us every step of the way. We cannot be afraid to do the Lord’s work. Instead, like the psalmist, we can boldly say, The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? (Psalm 118:6, NKJV). So, no matter what the enemy throws at us, we are to speak and not keep silent. The salvation of so many is at stake. We, like Paul, must finish the race.