September 26, 2014

Acts 24:25 As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.”

Paul was certainly not afraid to speak truth to those in power! I’m sure he was familiar with the Lord’s words to Ezekiel, and he wanted no one’s blood on his hands. (Ezekiel 3:20, 33:8) Felix’ response to the Gospel is all too typical. I’m sure Paul didn’t leave out how we can make it through the Judgment, by grace through faith, (John 3:16, Ephesians 2:8-9) but Felix didn’t really hear that, and his response was fear and avoidance. He has a lot of company! People today are just as prone to run away from the Gospel, despite the fact that it’s the best news in the world. They don’t want to be confronted with their own sinfulness, and think that ignoring it will get them out of it. That’s like ignoring cancer. As doctors keep telling us, the sooner cancer is discovered and treated, the higher the probability of full recovery. However, many people are so afraid of a cancer diagnosis that they put off going to the doctor, often until it is too late. With cancer, we might or might not have it, but with sin and judgment, everyone has it! That’s why the irony of a response like Felix’ is so acute: the fatal infection is present, but the only cure is rejected. That is heartbreaking indeed, but all we can do is pray for people and speak the truth in love.

I’ve run into Felix’ response more times than I could possibly count. However, there have been those who have heard the good news and had the humility to repent and believe, and they make it all worth it. If I were to focus on those who decline to receive I would have given up a long time ago! I am to keep sowing the seed, plowing and watering as the Lord gives opportunity, and leave the results in His hands. Each person is a fresh opportunity, and I am to expect great things of God as I walk in humble obedience.

Father, thank You for the various successes You do give me. Thank You for those who have received Your Word with joy and have put down good roots. I pray for fruitfulness in each life so that we may see exponential growth, with each believer reaching multiple people and drawing them, too, into full discipleship. I pray that You would use me to impart vision to the believers so that they would grasp that You want to use them as much as You use me. Help them understand that it’s not about the vessel but about the contents, and that You are in them as You are in me. May we together be so full of Your presence that people would be drawn continually, even as they were to the early Church in Jerusalem, (Acts 2:47) for a massive harvest in Your kingdom, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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