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Biblical Edification

Gospel power amidst persecution

by Theodore Wright.


Through the blood of Jesus, the power of Christ empowers us to salvation and service to Him.
This service comes to the point of sharing the gospel of Christ for the salvation of others.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” – Romans 1:16-17 (NKJV)

 

We may be put down by people for preaching the gospel but we receive the power from the Lord to salvation by none other than trusting faith solely in God through His Son Jesus Christ. The power for Christian living and service we are exhorted to continually receive because He gives this power.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
– Ephesians 6:10 (NKJV)

 

What is being said in God’s Word through the Apostle Paul? To get power from the Lord in the power of His power? What is meant here?
Let us observe these words in the original greek language…
 

ἐνδυναμος (strong)

“Endunamos” speaks on being “empowered” with the “dynamite” power of God.

 

κράτος (power)

“Kratos” talks about “vigor” or “dominion”.
In Greek mythology, the pagan god Kratos was the personification of strength and power.

 

ἰσχύς (might)

“Iskus” tells about “forcefulness” or “ability”.

 

We are to be empowered by the Lord in the vigorous dominion of His forcefulness.
Yes! Through the dynamite power of God, we are invigored by God in the inner man with God’s own ability.
 

and what is the exceeding greatness of His power (δυναμος) toward us who believe,
according to the working of His mighty (κράτος) power (ἰσχύς) – Ephesians 1:19 (NKJV)

 

The dynamite power to the believers is according to God’s vigorous dominion forcefulness.
 

If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability (ἰσχύς) which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion (κράτος) forever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 4:11 (NKJV)

 

The Book of Ephesians continues from Ephesians 6:10 by telling us…

11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;

18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. – Ephesians 6:11-20 (NKJV)

 

We see, therefore, that the empowerment we receive from the Lord is not a means to its own ends. We are bestowed this empowerment under the rule of God with His own force empowering us to serve Him. Upon this we are to be clad with the complete armor of God for the protection of our faith in Christ verses the persecution brought against us. Our service, however, is also mentioned with us having our feet clad with the preparation of the gospel of peace. This is not only to “Preach the word!” But to be prepared by being “ready in season and out of season” to “Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” (c.f.: 2 Timothy 4:2 NKJV)
 

With the armor of God and the heart of being prepared to share the gospel, the Apostle Paul did so…
 

But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. – 2 Timothy 3:10-12 (NKJV)

 

 

Have you read about what Paul went through as he mentioned
at the end of his earthly life in the book of 2 Timothy?

Read about this in detail…

 

Acts chapter 14 (NKJV)

1 Now it happened in Iconium that they went together to the synagogue of the Jews, and so spoke that a great multitude both of the Jews and of the Greeks believed. 2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren. 3 Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.

4 But the multitude of the city was divided: part sided with the Jews, and part with the apostles. 5 And when a violent attempt was made by both the Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to abuse and stone them, 6 they became aware of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding region. 7 And they were preaching the gospel there.

8 And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. 9 This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, 10 said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” And he leaped and walked. 11 Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” 12 And Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes.

14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out 15 and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, 16 who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” 18 And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them.

19 Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. 20 However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.

21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” 23 So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed. 24 And after they had passed through Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. 25 Now when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia. 26 From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed.

27 Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 So they stayed there a long time with the disciples.

 

The Apostle Paul further decribes what he went though which the Lord brought him through all of it…
 

2 Corinthians 11:22-33 (NKJV)

22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation? 30 If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity. 31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. 32 In Damascus the governor, under Aretas the king, was guarding the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desiring to arrest me; 33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped from his hands.

 

Peter and other apostles before this also experienced persecution when sharing the gospel which the Lord Himself empowered…
 

And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.” And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. – Acts 5:38-42 (NKJV)

 

Have you gone “from faith to faith” as Romans 1:17 mentions? Have you started with initial trusting faith solely in God’s Son Jesus to save you? Have you moved forward from there trusting in Him to protect you with His full armor so that you may boldly share with others that same good news that saves you?
 

For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power (δυναμος), and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake. And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit,
– 1 Thessalonians 1:5-6 (NKJV)

 

The more they shared the gospel, the more persecution they received. Through this, they continually received more gospel testifying power as they trusted Jesus Christ for the empowerment which comes from God. This is true for us also who place our believing trust in Jesus Christ.
 

Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God. For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me. – Philippians 1:27-30 (NKJV)

 

 

 

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