Monday, June 17, 2013

THE WINDS WERE AGAINST US by Gary Wilkerson

By the time he sailed for Rome (Acts 27), the apostle Paul had already led a full life of ministry. This man had accomplished incredible things, yet he still had a burning passion to pour out his life for the gospel.

Paul had been called by God as an apostle and had overseen churches throughout Asia and some parts of Europe. Yet he was also an evangelist and apologist who made the case for Christ before courts and kings. Paul had sacrificed all to serve in his Spirit-directed missions. Now he determined, “I want to take the gospel of Christ to the very epicenter of the world. I have set my vision on Rome, to preach to Caesar himself!”

Paul was so intent on this that he gambled with his own life to see it fulfilled. He was in prison at the time and had an opportunity to be released but he bypassed his release in exchange for the chance to appear before Caesar, to whom he appealed his case. If Paul lost, he could lose his life. It was a choice he made solely for the gospel’s sake (see Acts 25:1-12).

In his journey to Rome, Paul was taken aboard a ship that soon ran into resistance: “The winds were against us” (Acts 27:4). This was an obstacle of nature, but Paul might easily have seen it as a spiritual roadblock. The fact is, if you have set your face like a flint with a gospel vision, all hell will break loose against you.

That phrase could be used to describe Paul’s life to that point. He had endured many tribulations, from shipwrecks to beatings to assassination plots. Paul was able to endure it all because his mind was always set on his mission: living, preaching and serving Christ. You can endure a lot of suffering when your heart is set on a purpose, but if your heart is set on comfort, you cannot endure any suffering at all.

The Bible makes clear that we are called to proclaim the grace of God to a fallen, sinful world. We are called to love one another and worship together in true gospel community. We are called to minister to the poor, and by doing all these things we bring the light of Christ to a world in darkness. In short, we are called to deliver God’s love to others through our words and actions, that the world might be changed.