Acts 18:1-17 The Encouragement of God

Let us dwell on that a little while. “Be not afraid, but speak and hold not your peace, for I am with you.” There is the first encouragement—God’s Presence—“I am with you.” When a man speaks for God, God speaks in Him. We never go to war for God at our own charges—He is sure to be with the man who is with Him. If you seek yourself, you will run without God. If you desire honor among men, you shall have no honor from God. But if your heart is set upon the blessing of your fellow men and the extension of your Redeemer’s kingdom, God is with you. He never was away from any man who sought holiness, virtue and eternal life. What cause, then, can there be for fear? If God is with you, who can be against you?

The next consolation is God’s protection. “No man shall set on you to hurt you.” The Jews dragged Paul before the judgment seat of Gallio and Paul must have been amazed when he saw the persecutors, themselves, beaten. The great King knows how to protect His own ambassador! When men meddle with one of God’s burning and shining lights, they will, sooner or later, burn their fingers. There is a disposition about some ungodly men to fly at Christian ministers just as gnats do at candles and they generally meet with the gnats’ fate. “Touch not My anointed and do My Prophets no harm,” is still the shelter of God’s ministers. “No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper and every tongue that rises in judgment
against you, you shall condemn,” is a promise which abides the same.

“Still,” says one, “I am half afraid.” But then the Lord is your protection and who is he that shall harm you if you follow that which is good? How feeble all your enemies are! Who are you that you should be afraid of a man that shall die and of the son of man that is but as dust. “Fear not them which can kill the body, but afterwards have no more that they can do; but fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into Hell. Yes, I say unto you, Fear Him.” The protection of God should be a constant fountain of comfort to God’s people.

The last comfort is God’s predestination. Predestination is an ugly word to some people, but I cannot help that. Here is the doctrine in the text—“I am with you and no man shall set on you to hurt you, for I have much people in this city.” That is to say, many who belonged to Christ, though they were as yet heathens. The Lord does not speak of those who were converted! Paul did not need a Revelation in the night to tell Him that God had much people in that city, if by that was meant the persons who professed faith in Christ, for he knew all about them. Night and day he had watched over them. But God knew that He had an elect people in Corinth whom He must save—a redeemed people that Christ specially bought from among men to be His own people, of whom the Lord had said, “Other sheep have I that are not yet of this flock.”

Paul was cheered by the good news that God had many chosen and redeemed ones in Corinth whom He must save! I learn from this that the doctrine of God’s predestination is no check to labor. “If there are so many that will be saved,” says one, “then why do you preach?” That is why we do preach! If there are so many fish to be taken in the net, I will go and catch some of them! Because many are ordained to be caught, I spread my nets with eager expectation. I never could see why that should repress our zealous efforts! It seems to me to be the very thing that should awaken us to energy—that God has a people and that these people shall be brought in! Why, it nerves me to labor when I remember that His Word shall not return void—it shall prosper in the thing where He has sent it!

Charles Spurgeon

Heart Preparation
Read Acts 18:1-17. Take note of the kindness of God to remind Paul of the source of his encouragement when 1 Corinthians 2 states that he came to Corinth with much fear and trembling. How can you apply this lesson to areas where you need encouragement?

Posted on: January 30, 2014 - 10:00PM

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