Paul as churchplanter 3
“preaching boldly in the name of the Lord”, Acts 9:28.
When Paul came to the Lord, overnight he changed from a persecutor to being persecuted. So he couldn’t stay in Damascus for his own safety. He went to Jerusalem, where he had trouble being accepted as a brother in the Lord.
In the mean time he didn’t forget about his calling. Immediately he started preaching Jesus to the Greek speaking Jews. They were his old friends. It was the group responsible for Stephanus’ death, and Paul had played an enthusiastic part in that. Now he wanted to tell them about the Lord Jesus. Because he grew up in a Greek speaking city, he had a more natural connection to them than the apostles who had Aramaic as their mother tongue.
There is a lot in Acts about how Paul ministered. But it is great to see the core of his ministry so clearly stated right at the beginning: preaching in the name of the Lord. That is what mission is all about.
In the next verse we read that Paul was ‘disputing against’ the Hellenists. The atmosphere probably wasn’t all that great, because it ended in them wanting to kill Paul. But it does show an important principle of missionary work: Paul did not just preach, he also talked with people. He accepted unbelievers as equals in disputation. He listened to their arguments and answered them.
When in missions we speak about Jesus, we should do so like Paul: boldly; even if it is dangerous; and in such a way that people know we take them seriously, so that they want to discuss spiritual issues with us.
Are you boldly preaching Jesus? If not, start doing it timidly and you’ll see it gets better over time!