“But Festus, wanting to do the Jews a favor, answered Paul and said, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and there be judged before me concerning these things?” So Paul said, “I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged. To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you very well know. For if I am an offender, or have committed anything deserving of death, I do not object to dying; but if there is nothing in these things of which these men accuse me, no one can deliver me to them. I appeal to Caesar.” Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, “You have appealed to Caesar? To Caesar you shall go!””
Acts 25:9-12 NKJV
Serving the Lord can be costly. Very often it means laying aside the comforts and focusing on a future that seems nebulous, when placed against the fleshly reality in the here and now. From the moment we say yes to Jesus, we enter an obstacle course that will wind here and there, but ultimately, will be completed.
Those who serve the Lord, encounter people who pose as obstacles along the way. Frequently situations arise that serve to distract. Paul faced many who hoped to stop the message of the Gospel were stymied, as God worked all things for the good of the ministry, and put fulfilled Jesus’ holy purpose.
From the foundation of the world, Paul had been dedicated to the ministry God had ordained for him. Every experience, from his first reading of the law, to the witnessing of Stephen’s martyrdom, to this moment in Acts chapter 25, he was on mission.
Paul had much to hang his hat on, and could have fallen back on his own accomplishments. But all those things he counted as loss.
“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”
Philippians 3:7-11 NKJV
Along the way, Paul had lost many things: health, reputation, prestige, but he willingly let go of those things, having acquired something much greater in Jesus. He was willing to overcome the obstacles, to get to the prize.
“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:13-14 NKJV
The account reminds me once again that God is sovereign. There have been so many times when I have run into a roadblock, and found myself wondering if I would ever be able to do the things that I desire to do for God.
Looking at the end of the Bible, and considering the present time, it is hard to imagine who the great victory and the massive revival to come could possibly happen. It seems as if the darkness is getting darker and the time for doing the work of the spreading the Gospel growing short.
But God will accomplish all that He has ordained. We do not know how, but He will do it, and do it completely.
Brothers and sisters, do not be afraid of things that are happening in the world, and do not doubt God’s faithfulness. Even the bad things that happen work out for those who are His.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
Romans 8:28 NKJV
Let us be bold in going forth and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as that is our mission. Like Paul, we each have a divine mission, a final calling, that the Lord has been guiding us to from the foundation of the world. Let us not hold on to our past accomplishments, as they only add weight and slow us down. We must jettison those things, that we do not have a drag on our efforts to glorify the Lord.
Let us run headlong, without pause or regret.
“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
II Timothy 4:6-8 NKJV
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