Maximizing Our Down Times
The same God, who used Moses' rod, Gideon's pitchers, and David's sling, used Paul's chains. Little did the Romans realize that the chains they affixed to his wrists would release Paul instead of bind him!
Even as he wrote during a later imprisonment, "I suffer trouble, as an evildoer, even unto bonds; but the Word of God is not bound" (2 Tim. 2:9). He did not complain about his chains; instead he consecrated them to God and asked God to use them for the pioneer advance of the Gospel. And God answered his prayers and once again we see the hand of God prevailing in the affairs of men.
To begin with, these chains gave Paul contact with the lost. He was chained to a Roman soldier twenty-four hours a day! The shifts changed every six hours, which meant Paul could witness to at least four men each day!
Imagine yourself as one of those soldiers, chained to a man who prayed "without ceasing," who was constantly interviewing people about their spiritual condition, and who was repeatedly writing letters to Christians and churches throughout the Empire! It was not long before some of these soldiers put their faith in Christ and experience the forgiveness of our Lord.
Paul's chains not only gave contact with the lost, but they also gave courage to the saved. Many of the believers in Rome took fresh courage when they saw Paul's faith and determination (Phil. 1:14).
They were "much bolder to speak the word without fear." That word speak does not mean "preach." Rather, it means "everyday conversation." No doubt many of the Romans were discussing Paul's case, because such legal matters were of primary concern to this nation of lawmakers.
And the Christians in Rome who were sympathetic to Paul took advantage of this conversation to say a good word for Jesus Christ. Discouragement has a way of spreading, but so does encouragement! Because of Paul's joyful attitude, the believers
Paul wanted to prea ...
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