trusted online casino malaysia
Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The Scriptorium

Word of Comfort

He speaks to us, too. Acts 18.9-11

Paul in Corinth (3)

Pray Psalm 119.25-27.
My soul clings to the dust;
Revive me according to Your word.
I have declared my ways, and You answered me;
Teach me Your statutes.
Make me understand the way of Your precepts;
So shall I meditate on Your wonderful works.

Sing Psalm 119.25-27.
(Festal Song: Rise Up, O Men of God)
My soul clings to the dust; revive me by Your Word!
My ways I have declared to You; teach me Your statutes, LORD!

Make me to understand Your precepts and Your ways,
as on Your works I meditate with wonder and with praise!

Read Acts 18.1-11; meditate on verses 9-11.

1. What do you suppose Paul’s state of mind was at this time?

2. How did Jesus encourage him?

I can imagine that Paul was experiencing some mixed emotions. Perhaps he thought that he should move on from Corinth, away from the blaspheming opponents of the Gospel. But then, could all these “many” Corinthians expect to make a good start in the faith apart from someone to shepherd them?

Jesus came to Paul in a vision to encourage him in his work. There were still many souls to save and bring into the Savior’s fold. Paul would stay on in Corinth for year a half, bringing in the sheaves he himself would sow.

Don’t we all wish Jesus would do that with us? Show up in a vision by night to speak a Word of encouragement and direction?

But wait. That’s exactly what Jesus does as we look to His Word! The words Jesus speaks to us from Scripture are Spirit and life (Jn. 6.63). And while we may not have the privilege Paul had, of seeing the Lord in a vision, we can certainly see Him everywhere in His Word (Jn. 5.39) and be encouraged by His Spirit to continue in the calling He has appointed for us.

Jesus has, from time to time, appeared to saints in visions. I’m sure He continues to do so today. But as He Himself implied, visions and other wondrous things will be of no value to those who will not seek Him in His Word (Lk. 16.27-31). And Jesus does nothing superfluous. He says His Word is sufficient to sanctify and equip us for every good work (Jn. 17.17; 2 Tim. 3.15-17). Paul did not have the advantage of the full and complete Word of God. We do. Make the most of it.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me” (Jon. 1.2). After Jonah’s escapade to another town by way of being swallowed by a large fish, God gave him another message for Nineveh: “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you” (Jon. 3.2).

And here’s what Jonah preached:
“Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” (Jon. 3.4).
(For those of us troubled that we might not know exactly what to say, or how to say it, or that we are not eloquent, Jonah’s message should calm our concerns.)

Our job is to be available and to be obedient to our calling. As agreed, Jonah’s message was not remarkable, and yet, participating in God’s work brought about these results: “So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them” (Jon. 3.5).

However, Jonah was not happy with the outcome. He expected that his less than stimulating sermon would have zero results: he didn’t really like the Ninevites. But God’s angle differed greatly from Jonah’s. God cared about the Ninevites. As per Jonah: “for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness. One who relents from doing harm” (Jon. 4.2). Hmmm.

He knew God wanted the people to repent from their sins, and to have new life in Him. Nothing that Jonah did or didn’t do, could change the outcome of what God wanted for those people. As He asked: “should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock?” (Jonah 4.11). God cared about the people, the children, and the animals of that great city.

We can channel God’s night vision to Paul, and His words for our own, as we seek to obediently fulfill our work—with a little more enthusiasm and concern than Jonah could muster. God has His ways of getting our attention (like the big fish in Jonah’s journey). Much better to take His words to heart and live accordingly. God encouraged Paul in his work in Corinth, by saying (Acts 18.9, 10):
1. Do not be afraid.
2. Speak about Me.
3. Do not keep silent.
4. I AM with you.
5. No one will attack you to hurt you.
6. I have many people for whom I AM concerned, in this city.

God comforts all His people with all His Word all the time.
Nothing about God’s Word ever changes. It was true then; it is true now.
“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13.5, 8).
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jn. 1.1)

We have been given a Bible full of words of comfort—for us to cherish and to share with others.
And we have been given Jonah as an example of a useful servant of God: Recalcitrant spirit and uninspiring preaching notwithstanding.

“For with God nothing will be impossible” (Lk. 1.37).

For reflection
1. Do you feel at times that your work in your Personal Mission Field isn’t bearing much fruit? What should you do at such times?

2. Other Christians probably feel that way as well. Whom will you encourage today to stay the course in working their Personal Mission Field?

3. It’s not our job to bring fruit to our labors. Our job is to labor. Who brings the fruit? How should knowing this encourage us in our work?

Let us not despair concerning any place, when even in wicked Corinth Christ had much people. He will gather in his chosen flock from the places where they are scattered. Thus encouraged, the apostle continued at Corinth, and a numerous and flourishing church grew up. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Acts 18.7-11

Pray Psalm 119.28-32.
How are you feeling about your work in your Personal Mission Field? Talk with the Lord about it, about every person He sends you to each week. Listen as His Spirit encourages you to press on.

Sing Psalm 119.28-32.
(Festal Song: Rise Up, O Men of God)
My soul weighs down with woe, I need Your strength, O LORD!
Remove from me all lying ways; grant me Your holy Word!

I choose the way of truth; Your judgments I proclaim.
Your testimonies I embrace, LORD, put me not to shame!

Command my course, O LORD; Your gracious truth impart.
I cling to You and know You will enlarge my seeking heart.

T. M. and Susie Moore

The Church in Corinth was in need of revival. But there was much to be done before that would happen. The Church today is in need of revival, and the same is true for us. Our book, Revived!, can help us to discern our need for revival and lead us in getting there. Order your copy by clicking here.

Support for Scriptorium comes from our faithful and generous God, who moves our readers to share financially in our work. If this article was helpful, please give Him thanks and praise.

And please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe with your prayers and gifts. You can contribute online, via PayPal or Anedot, or by sending a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 103 Reynolds Lane, West Grove, PA 19390.

Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalteravailable free by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

Subscribe to Ailbe Newsletters

Sign up to receive our email newsletters and read columns about revival, renewal, and awakening built upon prayer, sharing, and mutual edification.