“But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict.” – 1 Thessalonians 2:2
Scripture reading: Acts 16:13-24
Paul and Silas had experienced suffering in Philippi. They had been tortured and imprisoned, but none of that could cause them to abandon their mission of evangelism. The oppression and persecution could not hinder them from preaching Christ and Him crucified.
When Paul refers to the shameful treatment he and Silas endured, he is not only thinking of their being falsely accused in Philippi, for that was only part of what the apostles had suffered. The apostles of Jesus Christ had been dragged into the marketplace before the rulers; they had been slandered, arrested, robbed of their clothing, imprisoned and had their feet locked in stocks.
Nevertheless, in spite of this shameful suffering, by virtue of their union with Christ and therefore by His grace, they had summoned the courage to continue their work. They had heard Christ say: “When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next.” (Matthew 10:23). That’s precisely what they had done. They fled Philippi and journeyed to Thessalonica and continued to preach the gospel.
Sometimes we become discouraged when living in a world filled with devils and here the Holy Spirit encourages us by showing us these disciples, desiring so eagerly and earnestly to tell the good news of the Gospel. They exerted themselves in order to do the will of God and win the Thessalonian people for Christ. Their example is given to spur us on in our attempts to evangelize.
Suggestions for prayer
Ask that God would fill you with a desire to witness and that He would give you the courage to speak His name boldly despite the opposition.
Rev. Mark Zylstra is an emeritus minister of the United Reformed Churches in North America. He and his wife Corrie, live in Smithville ON and their home church is Wellandport, ON URC. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.