Acts 19:8-10 — When to move on

It’s hard to see people we love and care about reject the gospel message.  But eventually there comes a time when we simply have to move on and leave them to God.  When does that point come?  I think we find the answer in this passage.

As usual, Paul was preaching about Jesus in the synagogue while in Ephesus.  He did so for about three months, but at the end of that time, the people there were “obstinate,” “refused to believe,” and worse, went out of their way to “publicly malign the Way.”  (9)

Paul’s response?  He moved on to preach to others who would listen.

Sometimes, when we preach the gospel, we get the sense they are open to hearing more.  And as long as they are, we should keep sharing with them.  But if we sense they are instead hardening their hearts,  or worse, becoming hostile to the gospel, then it’s time to leave them in the hands of God, and move on.  To keep pushing the gospel on them not only does no good, it can become counterproductive.  We cannot make people believe.  Only the Holy Spirit can.

As Paul wrote, we can plant the seed of the gospel, we can water it, but only God can make it grow.  (I Corinthians 3:6-7)

So when people are rejecting what we have to say, let us step aside so that He, who alone can change the human heart, can do his work.

About bkshiroma

I'm from Hawaii, but have been in Japan as a missionary/English teacher since 1995. I'm currently going to a church called Crossroad Nishinomiya, an international church in Nishinomiya, a city right between Kobe and Osaka. Check out their website: 私がハワイから来ましたけど1995年に宣教師と英会話の教師として日本に引っ越しました。 今西宮にあるクロスロード西宮という国際の教会に行っています。どうぞ、そのホムページを見てください:
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