Can you believe that
a God-called evangelist was told “No” by God when he attempted to spread the
Gospel in the early days of the church? This didn’t just happen once, either!
It happened at least twice! Even more astounding is the fact that this
God-called evangelist was none other than the great apostle Paul! We have the
record of this amazing fact in the Book of Acts, chapter 16, when God’s Word
itself records, “Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the
region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word
in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the
Spirit did not permit them. So passing by Mysia, they came down to
But, that is not the
end of the story! We who know the Lord, know that He is not out to stop His
Word from getting out but to spread it far and wide. Yet He knows who is ready
for it as well as who should be the evangelist, or the bringer of the good
news of His Son to a certain people. When we read on a little further, we see
that the same Holy Spirit who stopped Paul from
preaching the Gospel in these other places then led them to Macedonia to
preach there, and this became one of the greatest experiences for Paul in his
preaching of any of the places he preached!
But, there is also something
interesting and wonderful about this for you and me! Macedonia is a part of
Europe and no doubt, when the Gospel eventually
spread to Europe, it also began going toward America. Thank God, He knew America
needed the Gospel as much as anybody has ever
needed it! But the truth is we all need it!
Whether we are in China, Japan, Denmark, or wherever, everybody needs the
Gospel! Which brings us back to the question of why
did God stop Paul from preaching in Asia and Bithynia, among some other
places? Didn’t they need it too? Of course they did, and when we get over to
Peter’s first Epistle, we see him introducing himself: “Peter, an
apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus,
Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia…”(Emphasis
added). So, the Gospel did get to Asia and
Bithynia, God just knew that Peter needed to be the
one to get it to them, while Paul was the man for Macedonia! Isn’t that
exciting? There is much more exciting truth to be learned from the Book of
Acts, and the BBN BI is excited to offer a 2-part course on this great Book
taught by Dr. G. Campbell Morgan. These courses are numbers 32800 and 32900
respectively. We believe you will be blessed as you see God’s working in the
early church as we know He is the same God we serve today!
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