Paul was under house-arrest in Rome for two years. Chained to a prison guard, he couldn’t leave his own home.
During his home-imprisonment he asked the Church to pray for him :
“and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that in it I may speak boldly as I ought to speak” Ephesians 6:19, 20 (emphasis mine)
Paul couldn’t go to church, he couldn’t street-preach, he couldn’t go to Synagogue. Paul was physically restricted as soon as he arrived in Rome, and that’s how he stayed for two whole years. But in it, in this very situation Paul was asking for prayer to be able to speak forth the gospel boldly.
Do we think Paul’s situation caught God by surprise? Do we think He did not know that Paul’s arrival in Rome would be under hard circumstances? That His man would not be free to move about as previously? No – it was in to this very situation that God brought Paul, and thus the gospel, to Rome.
At that time Rome was becoming the centre of the world’s wealth. The art, the artists, the architects were moving there as it became recognised as the world’s most cosmopolitan city. This place was of diverse culture, containing many different beliefs and ideas. In some ways it was advanced, as in the case of women’s rights. It was to this worldly city that God chose to send His man, chained and bound to one small house.
God’s strategy to evangelise a whole city was through a man bound to his own home.
Paul may have been restricted, but never is the Gospel of Jesus Christ restricted!
Never will it be restrained.
God still used Paul, even chained to a prison-guard, unable to leave his own home. One man, in one house, but in that one house God brought revival to Rome.
“So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.” Acts 28:23
Do we think this Covid-19 pandemic has caught God by surprise? Do we think He had no idea all the churches would be shutdown and outlawed? Of course He knew. And it is into this very situation that He has called us.
The gospel of Jesus Christ cannot be stopped, no matter if our church buildings are shut. The gospel will go forth.
The gates of hell will never prevail against His Church! It’s time to recognise that this is how God has chosen to use us for this season. God’s plans are not being stymied by the enemy, God is still Sovereign and from the Throne He has decreed that right now this is how His church will go forth.
Without high-tech sound systems, church buildings and programs, once again from the simplicity of our homes! Prayer with our families, Bible studies online, prayer in the closet. Could this be God’s plan…?
We have the internet, social media, telephones. We can walk around our neighbourhoods, dropping leaflets in letterboxes. We have many ways we can answer God’s call from our homes:
““Whom shall I send,
And who will go for Us?”
Who will join me in saying “Here I am Lord, send me!”
“Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.” Acts 28:30,31