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Words of Faith 6-29-16
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2016
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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Acts 19
[8] Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. [9] But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. [10] This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.

That was SOME sermon! Paul spoke boldly for three months! A THREE month long sermon! Wow! Okay. Just had to say it. It made me feel better about running a sermon past noon. Obviously, Paul took a few breaks as he argued persuasively about the kingdom of God.
Ephesus was a different sort of town from Corinth. Ephesus had once been a thriving trade center but environmental neglect had ruined the natural seaport. Stripping the land of trees had caused terrible erosion and silt clogged the seaport so badly that ships could not get in and out. As a result, the main economy was tourism related to the Temple of Diana.
This once great city was limping along economically. Now Paul came in and approached the ministry of the Gospel with great vigor in Ephesus. When the people in the synagogue became obstinate, Paul went to the public lecture hall of Tyrannus. In the face of opposition, he argued the faith for two years in this setting, longer than in any other place.
As I read this I wondered, how do we balance the sovereignty of God with the efforts of man? Sovereignty is the quality of God being in charge and in control of everything. Paul talked a lot about sovereignty, yet, there appears to be no one in the ancient world who argued the Gospel more forcefully than Paul. This guy never quit!
Beat him, stone him, attack his character, Paul took a licking and he kept on ticking. What happened to shaking the dust off your feet? Was Paul's belief in sovereignty just talk? Did he approach ministry proclaiming complete trust in God but really carried on trusting in his own strength? Did he somehow believe that he and he alone could save the world? Do we follow his written advice, or his example?
From his writing, no one believed more strongly than Paul in the sovereignty God. A careful examination of the record reveals that no one trusted more that God would do the work in every situation and through every circumstance. At the same time, no one worked his body harder to get the job done. The key seems to be that Paul was intimately connected with this sovereign creator.
Though we see Paul scrapping with every opponent and fighting in every situation, there is never a sense that he has somehow departed from God. To the contrary, we have every evidence that Paul was highly tuned to the directives of the Lord and operating in His power.
Apparently, trusting in God does not mean we just sit back and watch, but it also doesn't mean we strike out on our own. We do not take on the world for God, but as we surrender there is the likelihood that the Lord will take on the world, or some part of it, through us.
Our biggest mistake in following God is when we stop listening. Sometimes we do this in the name of sovereignty, assuming God will do fine on His own. Sometimes we do this by striking out on our own. Either way, we miss the call and the power, and the joy.
Are you listening? Not to the many voices urging you to give and do. To God. He is in charge of this operation. He will deploy you in His time. He will supply your every need. He will get the job done.

Lord, I want nothing more than to serve You. Show me where. I don't even need to know how. In Jesus' name.

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2001, 2016
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.