Paul was passionate about advancing the gospel of Jesus Christ. He wanted to go to Rome and preach the gospel in Rome. Paul had talked about going to Rome to advance the gospel in Romans chapter 1 and 15. But as soon as he had returned from his third missionary journey, he was imprisoned in Caesarea for two years (Acts 24-27). Thereafter, he was taken to Rome and Paul was kept under house arrest for the next two years (Acts 28). This was his first Roman imprisonment. He was chained between two soldiers while he waited for his trial before Nero.
As we read Philippians 1:12, Paul affirms that this imprisonment had turned out to the advancement of the gospel. The prison guards, members of Caesar’s household heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. And many of the believers were strengthened through Paul’s determination and faith. They became much bolder in speaking the gospel. Adversities in Paul’s life advanced the gospel.
A few years ago, a friend of mine was preparing to go to the mission field in the far east. Their youngest daughter, then three years of age, developed an emergency health condition that was very rare. Her heart rate went off the charts. She was rushed to the children’s hospital that would become home to her for the next couple of months. Vivy and I went to visit them at the hospital. What we witnessed at the hospital encouraged us and made us stronger in our faith. My friend and his wife were sharing the gospel with the hospital staff. Their little daughter was holding a tract in her hand that her dad had asked to give the medical worker who came to attend to her. Every opportunity they had was a gospel opportunity. It was then I got a glimpse of how God could use difficult circumstances in our lives for His glory.
Let us look at adversities through the eyes of the gospel. They are never accidental but opportunities that God brings into our lives to further His plan and to advance the gospel.
~ Pastor Sam