Sharing a Partial Gospel
Father, there’s much I still need to learn about You and Your gracious Good News of Jesus. Help me to keep learning.
Read Acts 14:21-28
 They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch,  strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.  Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.  After going through Pisidia, they came into Pamphylia,  and when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia.  From Attalia they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been committed to the grace of God for the work they had now completed.  On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.  And they stayed there a long time with the disciples. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectUpon completing their work, what did Paul and Barnabas do?
Did the word “suffering” or “hardship” come into your mind as you read this passage? Throughout the book of Acts we read of the suffering and persecution that the early believers experienced. The incredible salvation that we receive is available because Christ endured the agony of the cross. Yet we sanitize our faith, often describing the glories of eternity while avoiding the realities of what Christ called us to. “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Paul and Barnabas knew what this meant. Their lives demonstrate the adventure of faith as well as its cost. As they return to Antioch, their report is not about the pain but about what God has done. It may seem strange to talk about suffering and hardship as part of the Good News, yet we trust in a God who does the opposite of what we expect and brings true hope through suffering (Rom. 5:1-5).
Read Romans 5:1-5. If you’re in a painful time, ask God to reveal his hope so that you know his love poured into you.
Loving Lord, I pray that You’ll encourage me whenever I need it and enable me to do the same for others, too.
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