Choose a Side and Go
by John Cobb
The gospel divides. There are those that hear the gospel of God and are for it and those that do not hear and are against it. Paul was keenly aware of this fact during his imprisonment in Rome (Acts 28:16–31), and it is made plain elsewhere in Scripture (Deut. 29:4; Zech. 7:11–12; Mark 4:11–12; Rom. 11:9–11).
Are you for God’s gospel? If you are a believer in Christ, you must answer, “By all means, yes!” Are you for God’s gospel like the apostle Paul? May we all strive to be so. Paul’s example in Acts 28:17–31 gives us both simple and practical examples on how to share the gospel.
Paul preached wherever he was (Acts 28:31), no matter the condition — whether in chains (v. 20) or while a prisoner in his own house (v. 30). He preached lovingly (vv. 17–20), biblically (v. 23), and doctrinally (vv. 23, 31). He preached with immediacy (v. 17), with endurance (vv. 23, 30–31), and with boldness (v. 31). He preached to everyone, to both Jews (v. 17) and Gentiles (v. 28). And he preached Christ (v. 23) and wanted people to know everything about Him (v. 31).
Are you encouraged by Paul’s ministry? If not, are you discouraged that some will not hear? You would think that after preaching day and night (v. 23), talking about a Messiah that the Jews had been longing for, that all would have heard. But all did not hear (vv. 24–27). If the apostle Paul could not convince this group of the gospel, where does your hope come from?
Your hope could come from Isaiah, who said, “Here am I! Send me” (Isa. 6:8), and then heard the Lord say to go and tell the people not to hear, and to do so until the cities lay in waste (vv. 9–13). Isaiah still went out and proclaimed the kingdom of God.
Or, you could draw your hope from Christ. Jesus not only taught God’s gospel knowing that some would not hear, but He also came as a sacrifice knowing that hard truth.
Choose a side, trust in God’s grace, call upon the Holy Spirit, pray for those who refuse to hear, celebrate with those who do hear, look to Christ for your hope, go tell people about Jesus, and leave the results to God.