Reading #89

Satan’s Match. (D.L. Moody)

If you will allow me an expression, Satan got a match when he got Paul. He tried to get him away from God, but he never switched off. Look how they tortured him. Look how they stripped and beat him. Not only did the Romans do this, but the Jews also. How the Jews tried to drag him from his high calling. How they stripped him and laid upon the back of the apostle blow after blow. And you know that the scourge in those days was no light thing. Sometimes men died under that punishment. If one of us got one of the stripes that Paul got, how the papers would talk about it. But it was nothing to Paul. He just looked at it as if it were a trivial thing–as if it were a light affliction. When he was stripped and scourged by his persecutors you might have gone and asked him: “Well, Paul, what are you going to do now?” “Why, press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus;” Take your stand before Him and ask him as they bring the rod down upon his head, “What are you going to do now, Paul?” “Do? I am going to press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” He had one idea, and that was it. Look at him as they stoned him. The Jews took up great stones to throw upon the great apostle. They left him for dead, and I suppose he was dead, but God raised him up. Come up and look at him all bruised and bleeding as he lies. “Well, Paul, you’ve had a narrow escape this time. Don’t you think you had better give up? Go off into Arabia and rest for six weeks. What will you do if you remain here? They mean to kill you.” “Do!” he cries as he raises himself like a mighty giant, “I am going to press toward the mark of the high calling of God.” And he goes forth and preaches the gospel. I am ashamed of Christianity in the nineteenth century when I think of those early Christians. Why, it would take all the Christians in the Northwest to make one Paul. Look at his heroism everywhere he went. Talk about your Alexanders; why, the mighty power of God rested upon Paul. “Why,” said he, “thrice was I shipwrecked while going off to preach the gospel.” What did he care about that? Cold churches wouldn’t trouble him, although they trouble us. What would lying elders and false deacons be to him? That wouldn’t stop him. He had but one idea, and over all obstacles he triumphed for that one idea. Look at him as he comes back from his punishment. He goes up some side street and gets lodgings. He works during the day and preaches at night on the street. He had no building like this, no committee to wait on him, no carriage to carry him from the meeting, no one to be waiting to pay his board bills. There he was toiling and preaching, and, after preaching for eighteen months, they say, “We’ll have to pay you for all this preaching, Paul,” and they take him to the corner of the street and pay him with thirty-nine stripes! That is the way they paid him. Oh, my friends, when you look at the lives of such men don’t it make you feel ashamed of yourselves. I confess I feel like hanging my head. Go to him in the Philippian jail and ask him what he is going to do now. “Do? press forward for the mark of my high calling.” And so he went on looking toward one point, and no man could stand before him.

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