When Paul began sharing the gospel in Corinth, he focused his attention on the Jewish community. After weekly discussions with Paul, the synagogue leaders tired of his message, openly opposed him, and became abusive.
Perhaps the apostle was more disheartened by the experience than Luke describes. In Acts 18:9-11 we learn that one night the Resurrected Savior who shares his eternal victory with us (1 Corinthians 15:57) realized it was necessary to speak directly with Paul in a vision. He encouraged, “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” The result: “Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.”
Don't be afraid to share your faith
In a Lutheran Home Association blog post Pastor Joel Gartner comments on these words.
There is no denying it that there are times where sharing your faith is a challenging task. You may have to speak about Jesus to an audience who is hostile or opposed to the gospel message you are trying to share.
Jesus will give us the words to say
The very same Savior who gave us the command to speak also told us this: “On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Matthew 10:18-20).
Notice the underlined words. What a promise! God promises us that when he puts us in an opportunity to share him and his Word, he will equip us with what to say.
A personal experience
I can tell you from personal experience how true that is. I can recall being with a family who had just experienced an unbelievable tragedy and was questioning why God had allowed their loved one to be so suddenly and horribly killed. They were even “mad at God.”
My words to them did not come off too polished. Nor were they easy to say. But I’ve seen first-hand how God does give us the words to say when he puts us in the situation to speak about him.
Preparing yourself to share
One more thing to think about as you consider how to “not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.”
Like many other things in life, it is much better if you prepare yourself ahead of time because you do not necessarily know when the opportunity will present itself. Such preparation for sharing your faith comes through reading your Bible, praying for God to give you the strength, and then acting on his promise.
God bless you as you take God’s word to Paul as your own. “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.”
Source: Lutheran Home Association Blog Rev. Joel Gaertner is The Lutheran Home Association Vice President of Ministry and National Director of Jesus Cares Ministries (JCM).