Newsletter from Senior Pastor Paul Dale
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).
These famous words were spoken by the Apostle Paul, a great man of courageous faith. He was willing to speak and act in a way that presented the gospel of Jesus Christ to anyone and everyone, no matter what the consequences – hatred & hostility, persecution & prison. There’s much we can learn from Paul in terms of being courageous in our faith. Here are just a few:
Paul had a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus. Three times in the book at Acts, Paul recounts how God had graciously saved him. He explains what he was like before Jesus, how he met Jesus and how his life was changed by Jesus. Paul’s conversion was miraculous, spectacular, transformative – but so is every conversion! It may not have involved blinding lights and voices from heaven, but when Jesus has found us and opened our eyes, we are changed people with a glorious gospel to proclaim. In 1 Timothy 1:13 Paul says “I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man……The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus”. Paul was a miracle of grace and so are we!
“I have appeared to appoint you as a servant and as a witness…to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me” (Acts 26:16, 18)
That is a wonderful commission – to go into the world and witness to the forgiveness that Jesus brings, to have the privilege of turning people from darkness to light. That is what Paul spent the rest of his days doing. And if we have met Jesus, we too have been entrusted with the privilege of bringing that gospel of forgiveness to others – by whatever means possible.
The message of the gospel may offend people, but the manner of the messenger should not! Paul was a perfect model of respectful, gracious, but firm gospelling! He was never rude or arrogant, but always clear and compassionate. Whether he was before a King or a fellow prisoner, he just clearly spoke of Jesus
“Make the most of every opportunity”. These famous words from Paul remind us that there are always connection points in every conversation to talk about Jesus. Whether it is work, study, leisure, family or friends, we look for the most natural point of connectivity. Sometimes that’s around themes, such as peace, hope, justice, forgiveness; and sometimes it’s just sharing a verse from Jesus.
Paul was convinced that Jesus really was the son of God, He really died to save us from our sins, He really rose again to defeat death, He really ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father, and He really will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. He was also convinced that God’s heart was for “all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4). Those essential convictions meant he cared for lost souls, he longed for all people to know the love of God in Christ Jesus, and he was confident when the gospel was preached God would powerfully work.
My prayer as we enter this year of ‘Courageous Faith’ is that we too would make the most of every opportunity to share our faith and be on mission for the Lord and His glory.
With love in Christ