PREACH THE GOSPEL WHEREVER AND WHENEVER
Paul preached the gospel whenever and wherever he had opportunity. We know this from all of the missionary journeys recorded in the book of Acts, but Paul did the same thing when he was in prison.
Prison - now there's a mission field!
Paul winds up under house arrest - and not in his own house, but government subsidized housing...in other words - prison. While it was a more comfortable type prison than what he would wind up in later on, make no mistake, there is no GOOD prison.
So here is Paul, under house arrest, with a guard by his side at all times, and yet he sought people to come to him - not so he could have visitors, and he could catch up on the latest sports statistics. Not so he could find out what was the latest celebrity gossip from wonderwall or TMZ...no, he sought people to visit him for the sake of the gospel!
We have such difficulty preaching the gospel to people even when our lives are going well, and here Paul is in prison, and he calls for people to come to him so he can explain his situation and the gospel to them...in fact it is because of the gospel that he is in prison.
In Acts 28:20 we read, “For this reason I’ve asked to see you and speak to you. In fact, it is for the hope of Israel that I’m wearing this chain.”
And in verse 23 it continues: “After arranging a day with him, many came to him at his lodging. From dawn to dusk he expounded and witnessed about the kingdom of God. He tried to persuade them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets.”
This was no wimpy presentation of the gospel. Paul was not ashamed to be in prison for the sake of the gospel. He was ready to share his faith no matter where he was an no matter what the circumstances. Prison was not punishment to Paul, it was just another mission field. Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty sure that Paul would have rather been free and sharing the gospel instead of in prison and sharing the gospel, but that was not the issue - the issue for Paul was the gospel.
Our lives are so cluttered, so fractured, that we normally only think of the gospel at certain times and in certain places..not so for Paul, for him, his life was all about the gospel, and the gospel is all about Jesus.
He was not a gospel sprinter either, he was a gospel marathon runner. He was in this for the long haul. This was not a one shot deal. Take a look at verse 30: “Then he stayed two whole years in his own rented house. And he welcomed all who visited him,”
For two years while under arrest he welcomed people to tell them about Jesus.
If Paul was so gospel focused while in prison, surely we can be gospel focused while we are free...if not, what will we do if we have to go to prison for the gospel?
The mission of the church has not changed and it did not stop at the end of Acts 28...an Acts 29 church still takes the gospel to the streets and yes, to the prisons. We must unleash the gospel to the world...wherever and whenever we go, let us go with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Trembling and pierced by the Word,