Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.
In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power. Acts 19:8-10, 20 (NIV)
It is obvious when reading the account of the early church, as recorded in Acts, that sometimes the preaching of the word produced instant results, with people turning to Christ. It would be very easy for us today to imagine that this is the way it should always be.
However, in Acts 19 it is recorded that Paul spoke boldly for three months in the synagogue at Ephesus, yet it produced a negative response in some of those who heard him. We are told that some in Ephesus became obstinate, refused to believe and even publicly spoke against Jesus.
The opposition of some Jews at Ephesus produced an opportunity for a wider audience to hear the good news. Paul and the disciples took the opportunity to have daily discussions in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. We are told that this was over a two year period. If Paul was expecting instant results, he would have been very disappointed. Paul knew that hearing the truth didn’t always lead to belief. He knew also that sharing the good news took time and effort. He wasn’t discouraged by the time it took; he was encouraged by the message he was sharing.
Ministers and pastors can sometimes feel jaundiced by the apparent lack of converts they see in their church. Most will face discouragement when people respond negatively to the truth. However, the message from Acts is that sometimes the message about Christ will produce fruit, but at other times it will produce opposition. So be faithful in sharing the message. It is God’s Holy Spirit that will bring people to belief at the right time.
In your ministry are you encouraged by the good news and the message about Christ you are sharing? Don’t allow negativity to discourage you. Use it to spur you on in faithfully sharing the good news with others.
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