Three years after his conversion, Paul met Peter and James and talked with them over a fortnight; then he continued his ministry to the Gentiles in (what is now) Syria, Turkey and Greece. He was confident in the gospel he was preaching but he had constant opposition from people with a Jewish background who did not believe that people could be saved unless they earned God’s favour by their good deeds including submitting to being circumcised. He did not want his preaching to be in vain and longed for a way to neutralise that religious obstruction
The Lord understood and told him to meet with Peter and the other church leaders in Jerusalem, James (the half-brother of the Lord Jesus) and John. Paul went with Barnabas, a Jewish believer from Cyprus, and Titus, a Gentile believer. Peter and the other leaders did not think that Titus needed to be circumcised, because he had already been brought into the family of God when he believed the gospel which Paul preached! That confirmed Paul’s ministry. It strengthened him to preach against ‘salvation by works’ and emboldened him in preaching ‘salvation by faith in the grace of God through the work of Christ' (Ephesians 2:6-9).
Although some are called to minister in hostile environments without much fellowship, there are times when God chooses godly people to affirm our ministry. The Lord knows your heart, your desire to be true to the gospel, and knows the opposition you have been facing. He knows how to rescue you from those who are hostile to the gospel, and to make you strong in the grace of Christ. Do not isolate yourself from Biblical fellowship; let the Lord lead you to those whose heart is saturated by the truth of His Word. 1 Corinthians 15:58 says, “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.”
© Dr Paul Adams