“One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, “Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent! For I am with you, and no one will attack and harm you, for many people in this city belong to me.” So Paul stayed there for the next year and a half, teaching the word of God.” (Acts 18:9-11)
The above scriptures refer to when the Apostle Paul and his team were ministering in Corinth. It seems as though Paul had considered leaving the city. Up until the night of the Lord’s visitation, things had been pretty rough for the ministry team. Sure, they’d had witnessed people become believers, but ministry had been difficult.
In fact, Paul even had to work a secular job for awhile.
Just think of the type of people Paul was preaching to: “Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people – none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”(1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NLT)
People involved in sexual sins, idolatry, adulterers, prostitution, homosexuality, stealing, greed, etc.; these are people he ministered to.
Sounds an awful lot like today’s society, eh?
Your “average” church goer has no clue the difficulties a minister has to face. “What difficulties? Good night, Irene, the preacher only works one day a week! And that’s only for a few hours. Difficulties, right. What’s so difficult about speaking?”
If it’s so easy, why doesn’t everyone do it?
Just talking to individuals or a congregation isn’t difficult. Giving a generic speech won’t draw the threat of attacks. Lofty, high-minded words won’t challenge the powers of darkness!
But when a man or woman of God determines to set aside the “stage show”, the theatrics, and the “motivational homilies” for a reliance upon Heaven’s Word with the anointing of the Holy Spirit…
…all hell can break loose.
And though the battle blazes around this kind of preacher, this kind of message, this is the way people are set free. This is what delivers them from the power of darkness, from the kingdom of hatred and death.
“Some of you were once like that…”
Most everyone knows some preacher who got involved in some kind of sin, thus disqualifying them, at least for a season, from “ministry.” Boy, howdy; do I know about that! And everyone is quick to point out the character flaws leading to the “fall”.
I’m not making excuses for anyone. I’m simply trying to make 2 points.
1. Preachers, ministers, leaders, need extra prayer covering. They need support, not idolized for their speaking or sermonizing ability.
2. Preachers, etc,,must rely upon the Spirit of God, the protection of God, and the unadulterated Word of God. They must not put their faith in people’s response, or lack of response, tithes and offerings…anything other than what will give them the spiritual strength to deal with a spiritual enemy.
Ministry is difficult, but eternally necessary. And it isn’t just a preacher’s responsibility to bring people into the Kingdom; it’s every believer’s call.
There’s no other way to reach the “many people in this city” belonging to Jesus!
“When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness – timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5 NLT)