“for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.”
1 Corinthians 16:9 ESV
When is an organism most vulnerable?
When it’s just a baby or a sprout.
In today’s verse, Paul was in the city of Ephesus and hide a wide-open door for the Gospel. But there were also adversaries.
The Church was young—just a baby, by analogy. So the enemy was attacking it with everything he had.
But does Paul sound surprised? Not at all.
In fact, his writing is actually quite enthusiastic. There is no tone of defeat… No complaints about fighting to advance the Kingdom… No worry of getting wiped out by the evil powers of darkness…
Remember Paul’s description of them in his letter to the Ephesian church he was working with at this time?
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:12 NIV
1 Corinthians 16:9 and the Gospel TodayThere will always be opposition to the Gospel's advance. However, as Jesus said, there is also a plentiful harvest just waiting for workers to gather it (Matthew 9:35–38). Click To Tweet
We can draw three encouragements from 1 Corinthians 16:9.
- There are wide-open doors for the Gospel today.
Paul spent his life on the lookout for the doors swung wide open. For the chances to share the Gospel—and then KEEP SHARING IT! We see open doors when we look (and pray) for them. Once we find them, we can follow Paul’s lead and keep pressing through them. For example, when a new believer comes to Christ, did you know their circle of friends and family are ripe for the harvest, too? Help them become instant evangelists.
- Be a ready worker for the harvest.
Jesus said the problem isn’t opportunity—it’s people power. Imagine a starving city surrounded by grain fields of all kinds. What if you and your church family were the ones who could harvest that grain and feed your city? Would you do it? Of course! Did you know our cities are starving right now—and ready for the harvest? Are you a willing worker? If so, it’s time to embrace the discomfort of opposition, ditch your pride and fears at what people think, and bang the Jesus drum. (This is an exciting/challenging word for me, too!)
- Take spiritual opposition as a positive sign.
Often times we get discouraged when ministry is hard. When it seems like we’re attacked on all sides. Guess what? That’s a good sign! The Devil fights against the wide-open doors… The fruit-bearing trees… And the good works God has prepared for us to walk in (Ephesians 2:10). The harvest comes with a fight. So smile on the frontlines and see the opposition as a confirmation. God be glorified!
What challenge or encouragement can you take from 1 Corinthians 16:9 today?