The Gospel Unchained

 

Acts 28:17-31

For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!

Acts 28:30-31

Luke ends his narrative with these words, which wrap up the theme of the book that was stated by Jesus Himself back in 1:8:

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

If you think about it, it really is an amazing story of God overcoming everything this world could throw in his way. There is Paul, having been taken to Rome as a prisoner of the State, kept in chains under house arrest for two years, during which he taught, preached and wrote, right in the very heart of the Roman world.

In this text, Luke also records some of the conversation Paul had with the Jews of Rome, a conversation that changed some minds, and yet left others entrenched against the Way. Yet even in that, the Gospel had gone forth, and Paul had shown them exactly what was going on from the Scriptures, as Luke’s mention of Isaiah 6 shows so well (28:26-27).  Thus, when you come right down to it, we can see that while the world of the first century was different in so many ways; its essence is very much like our own. We, like the disciples of old, are charged with proclaiming the Gospel. Many will listen and receive it, more will not. There will be obstacles to be overcome, there will be persecution and opposition, hardships and struggles, yet the Gospel will be proclaimed, and God will build His kingdom.

In the final analysis, it will be up to each person to decide for him or her self whether or not to receive God’s offer of grace. Yet in this, it is not for us to judge or attempt to force anyone in making their decision, for that is not the way of love. However, it is for us to share, to encourage, to serve and to boldly proclaim the salvation that Jesus shed His blood to make possible.

The rest is up to God.

 

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