Obstacles that Hinder the Work of the Lord

We all know what sins are, but let me focus for a moment on hindrances. Hindrances are those things that may not be sins, but still keep you from living a life totally surrendered to God. Imagine you are at a track meet, and they’re lining up for the 100 meter dash. Everyth … More

Hindrances

Not wanting to cause further trouble for Jason or the Christians, Paul and Silas left Thessalonica (v. 10) at night and traveled southwest to Berea, about 45 miles away. It is thought that Timothy had stayed back in Philippi and caught up with them later. An all-too-familiar problem of missionary work occurs when organized religion joins forces with civil authority to hinder the work of the Lord. An  example of this is what happened in Russia with the Orthodox church after communism fell. However God is not intimidated by local magistrates, or confounded by entrenched religious leaders.

One would have thought that Paul would have been fed up with synagogues, but as usual, when they arrived in Berea, they went to the synagogue. Paul was born a Jew, and he realized that no matter how bitterly he might be persecuted by the unbelieving Jews, there was always the believing remnant. They found a group of people who were keenly interested in studying the Old Testament; as it says they “searched the Scriptures daily” (v. 11).

Once again the unbelieving Jews from Thessalonica heard that Paul and Silas were ministering in Berea, and they came to stir up the people (v. 13). As before, Paul had to leave town quietly to avoid more trouble for the Christians. This time the believers in Berea out-smarted the enemy by taking Paul to the sea, and putting him on a ship headed for Athens (v. 14). Timothy and Silas stayed behind to strengthen the new converts. Paul left “the brethren” who loved him. Being a Christian puts us in a worldwide family that we can fellowship with no matter where we go.

Application

A strong church grew in Thessalonica under adversity, while none was born in Berea. I just need to remember that God may allow hard times to come my way so I can grow.

Acts 17:10-15 (English Standard Version)

The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men. But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was proclaimed by Paul at Berea also, they came there too, agitating and stirring up the crowds. Then the brothers immediately sent Paul off on his way to the sea, but Silas and Timothy remained there. Those who conducted Paul brought him as far as Athens, and after receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they departed.

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