(Read Acts 18:7,8)
This morning we continue our series “Grace that is Simply Amazing.” Yesterday we learned how the Apostle Paul, in the middle of his second missionary journey, finally got tired of arguing with Jews about Jesus. He tried and tried to convince Jews that the Messiah they were waiting for had already come, that His name was Jesus, and that God sent Him to save the world of sin. But town after town, city after city, and synagogue after synagogue, Paul faced tremendous opposition from the Jews. He had been accosted, attacked, beaten, left for dead, and imprisoned. Finally, in Corinth, Paul had enough and in the middle of another argument with a group of Jews Paul shook the dust from his clothes and said, “Your blood is upon your own heads—I am innocent. From now on I will go preach to the Gentiles.”
I told you yesterday that I believe the intense opposition Paul was facing came partly because he was not necessarily called to the Jews. Peter was called to the Jews and the first half of the Book of Acts documents Peter and his ministry. Paul was called to the Gentiles and the second half of the Book of Acts documents Paul’s ministry.
I believe Paul tried so hard to convince Jews about Jesus because he had a heart to see them get saved. And God is so good that once Paul fully accepted his assignment to the Gentiles, God still blessed him to reach Jews. In Paul’s very first divine assignment since his declaration to “go preach to the Gentiles,” Paul visited the home of Titius Justus. Titius was a Gentile who worshiped God and lived next door to the local synagogue. While Paul was staying with Titius he was able to minister to the leader of the synagogue next door. Guess what? The synagogue leader was actually a Jew, and not only did he come to Christ, but so did his entire household. After that many others in Corinth also heard Paul, became believers, and were baptized.
So what does this mean to you today? A few things:
1. True faith is about surrender to God’s will. Faith is not about you attempting to get God to give you what you want or to bless your plans. No, true faith is about asking God to reveal to you what He wants you to have — in accordance with the plans He made for you before the foundations of the world. When you find out what God already destined you to have, and you surrender your will to God’s will and believe God to to receive it, that is called faith. John taught us that can have confidence in God when we ask for something we know to be God’s will for us to have (1 John 5:14,15). When we know we are asking in accordance with God’s will, our confidence will be in God (not us) and it will be unshakable!
2. When you surrender your will to God’s will you are able to receive the overflow of His Grace. Once Paul accepted God’s will for his life (both initially and throughout his missionary journeys) he was able to receive a fresh endowment of God’s Grace. The same will happen for you. If you attempt to live your life on your own, without God, and pursuing your own plans, then you will have to attempt to fulfill those plans without the Grace of God. But when you surrender your plans to God’s plans, and you accept God’s assignment for your life, you will experience God’s Grace on another level and you will find yourself walking in the Blessing!
3. When you give up your will for God’s will, God will always bless you beyond measure. Paul gave up his attempt to reach the Jews and He accepted God’s assignment to reach the Gentiles. However, since God is so good, and since God knew Paul had a heart for Jews, the very first person God blessed Paul to reach after his total surrender was a Jewish man. The man and his entire household accepted Christ. Guess what? The same will happen with you. When you finally give up something you really wanted for God, and His plans for your life, you will find that God will give you want He wants you to have, and because God is so good, He will often ensure you get what you wanted as well.
Closing Confession: Father, I love You with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. You have been better to me than I deserve. You have blessed me by Your amazing Grace and I shall never cease to give You praise. From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, Your name is worthy to be praised! There have been times in my life when I have pursued my will, without seeking You at all. During those times I have had to attempt to get my will done with my own effort, my own abilities and my own strength. That was tiring. Once I was tired of trying to live my life on my own, I gave up and accepted Your will for me. Since then You have been revealing to me what You have destined me to have. The more You reveal to me, the more I exercise faith to receive all You have given me by Grace. As I surrender my will to Your will, I find that You give me what You want me to have, and You also give me much more than I wanted in the first place. You bless me beyond measure. I have come to You many times with “something” in mind that I wanted You to give me, but as I have surrendered my will to Yours, I find that You give me what You want me to have and Your “something” is always above and beyond the “something” I had in mind. Thank You Father for being so good to me! I love You, I know You love me, and I enjoy living a life of faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper.