Acts Devotionals

Gospel Ammunition

Maybe I have it wrong, but I cannot understand why Churches close down and get sold when their members becomes reduced through natural attrition, demographical changes or safety and security reasons. The Church I pastored for 29 years in downtown Pretoria started off as a Church in an affluent suburb that steadily declined into a lower class area … and from totally “white” to virtually ninety-five percent “black”. After being at the Church for about 5 years there was discussions about relocating and praise the Lord this never happened. Many Churches have closed and sold the building which are now either a mosque or a business premises. This is what baffles me … Why did God plant that Church there in the first place? Surely if the suburb changes to a downtown area there are people to be reached. Surely if the area changes ethnicity there are people to be reached. Surely if the area changes to … say … Muslim, there are Muslims to be reached.

Maybe I have not convinced you. Well, let’s take a few words from the passage we shall open up today … I have many people in this city. This tells me God has people everywhere who needs to be saved. He plants a Church in an area for a long term reason … to reach the people He has in that area through the evangelistic ministry of that Church He planted there! Please read:

Ac 18:9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.”  11 So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God. 12 While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him into court. 13 “This man,” they charged, “is persuading the people to worship God in ways contrary to the law.” 14 Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to the Jews, “If you Jews were making a complaint about some misdemeanor or serious crime, it would be reasonable for me to listen to you. 15 But since it involves questions about words and names and your own law—settle the matter yourselves. I will not be a judge of such things.” 16 So he had them ejected from the court. 17 Then they all turned on Sosthenes the synagogue ruler and beat him in front of the court. But Gallio showed no concern whatever.

1) Encouragement from the Lord. Paul must have had many occasions when he needed special encouragement from the Lord. We know of at least three …


Ac 23:11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”


Ac 27:23 Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me 24 and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’

(iii) The passage we are considering:

Ac 18:9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you.

You will recall that in Thessalonica and Berea he had severe opposition. Paul is aware that Jesus is God and sovereignly so. He knows the Lord is able to do far more than any man could ever imagine. Here the Lord Jesus appears to him in a vision saying five words of encouragement …

(a) Do not be afraid. The original language means Paul must not be seized with alarm or immobilized with fear by what he sees or experiences by men. The Gospel preacher must remember that the Lord Jesus is ever with him as he fulfils his duty. He dispatches you and He goes with you into battle. Preachers will be wise to listen to the words of Scripture:

2Ch 20:15 He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.

The battle is always the Lord’s. We are at best His foot soldiers!

(b) Keep on speaking. The concept here is that Paul has something on his mind … the Gospel … and he needs to speak it … make it known. There are many things a preacher can speak about but there is only one thing he must speak about and it is Jesus. As part of the Lord’s military attack upon the enemy of souls, he may only use one ammunition … which is the Gospel!

(c) Do not be silent. That is, don’t be like a dumb person, soundless! Let the Gospel noise proceed from your tongue. It is so sad that so many preachers have a ready audience for the Gospel every Sunday and that part of them is dumb … deathly silent!

(d) I am with you. This is one of the greatest encouragements a preacher can enjoy. With God on our side, even the greatest army is insignificant! Did God not say:

Ro 8:31 If God is for us, who can be against us?

And did God not promise:

Heb 13:5 Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you

When a preacher fears he is not trusting the Lord Jesus to be present with him when he is doing battle for Jesus!

(e) No one is going to attack or harm you. The writer to the Hebrews got it right:

Heb 13:6 So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

2) The reason the Lord encouraged … or ought we to ask … “Why did the Lord encourage him like this? The answer follows:

Ac 18:10 “because I have many people in this city.”

In a war, a general wants to win and therefore motivates his soldiers to fight to win. Jesus motivates Paul to evangelize because He has “many people in this city” … the City of Corinth. This is interesting … “many people in this city” means Jesus has many people “marked out” for Him in the city! This can only mean that within a city, there are people God chose before the creation of the world to be His own and at this specific point in history He needed Paul to proclaim the Gospel for the Holy Spirit to use to convince them of the true Messiah (Jesus), convict them of their sin, grant their the gift of faith to believe, repent and be saved. Allow me to use two of my favorite verses here …


Eph 1:4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.


Rom 8:29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.

Those chosen need to shape up to the likeness of the Lord Jesus but how can they know they are chosen and progress towards conforming to Jesus’ likeness? They need to hear the Gospel! And how do they hear the Gospel? In the Corinthians case is was through Paul … and those God has marked out in every city (suburb, township, rural and difficult to reach isolated rejoins) throughout the world in every time zone. They need to hear that same Gospel … and He uses His Christian pastors, preachers and evangelists … as well as His “ordinary Christians in the pew” to evangelize these people. You, beloved are part of the Lord’s army. Go serve Him and collect those lost souls for your King.

Father, thank You for the Gospel ammunition Your provide to successfully win Your elect for Your Kingdom. Encourage us to be faithful. Amen.

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