beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.
Insights: All one has to do is watch the news or read the newspaper and one would quickly recognize that we are living in a fallen world. It is a world that is quickly becoming more perverse, violent and hostile. I believe if revival and great awakening does not come to America we will see great days of persecution in our future. The question we have to ask ourselves is, “Are we ready for such sacrifice?” Paul’s testimony gives us great encouragement as to how to endure such tragedy. I fear, however, the churches problem regarding future persecution is this second area of sacrifice mentioned in today’s verses. Yesterday, we mentioned that Paul was thought to be a member of the Sanhedrin. In this position, he had great comfort and ease. He sacrificed all of that and endured everything mentioned in verses twenty-six and twenty-seven. The American church is very comfortable. We live in such great wealth in our personal lives as well in our church lives. If you will allow me, we have become very spiritually soft. My fear is that when true persecution comes many in the church will fall away because their faith was not real. I think the only way we can prepare for such a future is to consistently step outside of our comfort zones. We need to take mission trips and see how the rest of the world lives and how other Christians serve Jesus. Beloved, Paul endured pain and gave up his comfort for Jesus. Can we really do anything less for our Savior and Lord?
- Have you begun to discipline your body so that you may endure possible persecution in the future?
- Are you willing to give up any of your creature comforts for the gospel?
Prayer: Lord, Scripture is clear that one day there is going to be great persecution in regards to the church. It is my prayer Lord, that You send revival first and allow a great awakening to occur. If, however, it is Your will to allow persecution to begin, then Lord, I pray You give me the boldness and courage to remain steadfast for You and bring Your name glory. Amen.