I Have Many People

Sound Words graphicAs Paul left the city of Athens and traveled west toward Corinth, he headed into a city renowned for its vice and corruption. If ever a city needed the gospel, Corinth was it. Upon arriving, Paul began to preach in the Jewish synagogue, as he normally did (Acts 18:4), and the Jews rejected his message that Jesus was their Messiah, as they normally did (Acts 18:5).

Paul turned from the religious Jews to the pagan Corinthians and began again to preach the gospel (Acts 18:6). God’s power was displayed as He opened the eyes of Crispus, his family, and many others, and they turned in repentance and saving faith to Jesus Christ (Acts 18:8).

It was during this time that God spoke to Paul one night in a vision: “Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city” (Acts 18:9–10). The Lord’s words to Paul give three reasons why we too should not be afraid to proclaim God’s Word.

We are assured of God’s presence.
As God was with Paul, so he is with us. There is no place in the universe where we are hidden from God’s presence (Ps 139:7–12). Furthermore, God has promised never to abandon us— he is with us (Heb 13:5–6).

We are assured of God’s protection.
God promised Paul that no one would attack or harm him. Since God is in sovereign control of our lives, nothing happens outside of his perfectly ordained plan (Rom 8:28–29).

We are assured about God’s people.
God told Paul to continue proclaiming the gospel because He had many people in the city of Corinth. We too can be confident as we give the gospel that God has those who will be saved (John 10:16; 6:37). Our responsibility is to faithfully give the message; God is the One who will save souls.

God assured Paul that He was with him, that He would protect him, and that He had people who would be saved in that city. What do these truths do for us?

They inform our method of giving the gospel.
The power of the gospel is not based on gimmickry (2 Cor 2:17), clever presentation (1 Cor 1:17–2:5), or personal winsomeness (1 Thess 2:3–5). Rather, the power of the gospel through simple proclamation is the means God has chosen to save souls and change lives(1 Thess 1:4–5).

They prevent discouragement as we proclaim the gospel.
We are not responsible to produce results; we are responsible to proclaim the message faithfully and accurately. We do not need to become discouraged when people reject the gospel; instead, we can remain confident that the Lord still has people he is drawing to himself.

February 2007

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