1. Hello, listening friends.
2. We are very happy that you tuned in to this broadcast.
3. If you are a person who is often intimidated or fearful,
4. I want you to stay tuned,
5. because the Lord has a word for you today.
6. The definition of intimidation is “to inspire with fear in order to influence change;”
7. but I want to tell you something about intimidation in the spiritual realm.
8. Satan uses intimidation all the time with all believers.
9. Satan uses intimidation in order to silence believers;
10. and all of us have been a subject of Satan’s tactics of intimidation at one time or another,
11. because fear and intimidation are among Satan’s major weapons in order to discourage believers.
12. Fear and intimidation are Satan’s weapon to render believers totally ineffective for God;
13. yet, in reality, Satan’s weapons of fear and intimidation are psychological and they have no power.
14. The only power that fear has over you
15. is the power that you give Satan to have over you.
16. I want you to please listen very carefully to this illustration.
17. If you don’t listen carefully, you might miss the point;
18. so concentrate with me, please, for a minute.
19. A study was conducted some time ago.
20. This study was done on the chimpanzee and it produced some fascinating results.
21. Animal behavioral scientists decided to spend some time with the chimpanzee community;
22. and they observed that the leadership of certain chimpanzee communities could change quickly.
23. One such change resulted from the dramatic bluff by a monkey from the lowest level of the colony.
24. This is how it worked:
25. one particular chimp dominated this monkey establishment with empty kerosene cans.
26. He would yelp loudly and bang these cans together.
27. Now, according to the scientists,
28. the clamorous behavior frightened the apes;
29. and the fear created by the one monkey terrified the whole group,
30. so much so that the group leader surrendered to the one making all the noise.
31. When I read this, I thought of how true this is of Satan.
32. All he’s doing is banging on some empty cans and we become frightened;
33. but the Bible said that the spirit of fear is not of God;
34. and, if the spirit of fear is not of God, then it is of Satan.
35. I want you to listen very carefully, please, because this affects every one of us.
36. When you allow the spirit of fear to take hold of you, you are opening yourself up to Satan’s tricks.
37. If you allow Satan’s bluff to intimidate you,
38. you will surrender your rightful victory that God has given you.
39. Perhaps no one understood the spirit of fear like the Apostle Paul.
40. In fact, he writes to Timothy and he says, “God has not given us a spirit of fear...”
41. and he definitely makes it clear that the spirit of fear is an evil spirit;
42. but Acts 18 tells us that Paul was afraid, lonely, and discouraged.
43. Please turn with me, if you have a Bible, to the Book of Acts, Chapter 18.
44. How do we know that Paul was really afraid?
45. Well look at verse 9.
46. The Lord appeared to Paul and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Paul.”
47. God will not waste words telling Paul not to be afraid if he was not afraid.
48. In fact, if you look carefully at the great men of God throughout the Scripture,
49. you will find so many of them were fearful and discouraged.
50. In the Book of Numbers, we see Moses discouraged.
51. Joshua was fearful and discouraged.
52. Elijah was found in the spirit of despair.
53. Godly King Hezekiah was fearful and cried to the Lord.
54. Job cursed the day that he was born;
55. and the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself, was a Man of sorrow and acquainted with grief.
56. In Acts 18, you see the Apostle Paul arriving in Corinth.
57. He came from Athens to Corinth.
58. He left one city that was full of intellectual and philosophical pride,
59. and went to a city that was full of pride for their immorality.
60. This was a tough assignment, but God sent him there anyway.
61. I want to tell you something very important about the city of Corinth.
62. Corinth was one of the great commercial centers of the Roman Empire.
63. Corinth was also the center of wickedness and pagan worship.
64. One temple was filled with 1,000 temple prostitutes.
65. Now, you understand the fear that gripped the Apostle Paul when he landed in this city.
66. My listening friends, please listen carefully.
67. I want to share some good news with you today.
68. In the times of fear, God does not leave you alone.
69. In the times of discouragement, God does not abandon you.
70. In times of loneliness, God reveals Himself to you.
71. Look at the Book of Acts again, Chapter 18, verses 1 to 17.
72. I want to tell you about four things that God did with Paul in order to encourage His faithful servant.
73. First, He provided him with godly friends,
74. verses 2 to 4.
75. Secondly, God blessed him with fruit for his labor,
76. verses 5 to 8.
77. Thirdly, God fellowshipped with him in a special way,
78. verses 9 to 11;
79. and, then, fourthly, God caused the frustration of the enemy’s plan,
80. verses 12 to 17.
81. Look at the first point.
82. In times of fear, the faithful child of God is never alone.
83. Look at verses 2 to 3.
84. There is one thing you must never do in times of fear,
85. and that is to lock yourself up.
86. You should never isolate yourself.
87. You must never cut yourself out of Christian fellowship;
88. so God provided the Apostle Paul with a godly couple.
89. Aquila and Priscilla were God’s gift to Paul’s burden of responsibility.
90. They were a provision of love to His faithful servant;
91. and, let me tell you, my listening friend,
92. if the Apostle Paul needed someone to walk with him in times of discouragement and fear, you and I need it as well.
93. Aquila and Priscilla were not ordinary friends.
94. They were incredible friends.
95. In the Book of Romans, Chapter 16, verses 3 and 4,
96. Paul tells us that they were ready to give up their lives for him,
97. so you can understand what kind of friends they were.
98. The God of comfort met the needs of His discouraged servant,
99. not only by giving him new friends who were ready to risk their lives for him,
100. but he sent his old friends, Silas and Timothy, from Macedonia.
101. My listening friends, please listen to what I’m going to tell you.
102. When you are faithful to God,
103. He will minister to you in your times of discouragement.
104. When your desire is to honor God,
105. He will provide for your every need.
106. When your life’s goal is to serve the living God,
107. He will always send a godly friend to minister to you.
108. God not only provided the Apostle Paul with two godly friends to walk with him,
109. but, secondly, God blessed the Apostle Paul with fruit for his labor.
110. Most of us would surely get discouraged when we worked long and hard and don’t see fruit for our labor;
111. and Paul worked long and hard in Corinth.
112. He spent hours in the synagogues persuading people,
113. persuading them to understand that the Lord Jesus Christ, who appeared to him on the road to Damascus,
114. the One who was crucified and rose again,
115. is no other than the Messiah Himself;
116. and he was proving this to them from Scripture.
117. He worked long and hard, but it appeared that nothing was happening;
118. but, once the Apostle Paul recognized that he is throwing pearls before swine,
119. he got up and shook the dust off his feet.
120. This is a very dramatic form of rejection;
121. and that’s what Paul is doing with the religious leaders in the synagogue,
122. as if to say to them, “Your rejection of the Messiah is such a blasphemy that I want nothing of it to stick to me.”
123. Paul was faithful in delivering the message;
124. but they are now responsible for their rejection.
125. God wants to encourage His servant;
126. and God is so concerned with all the details of His faithful servant, the Apostle Paul.
127. God knew a fruit for his labor would encourage him,
128. so here’s what the Bible said in verse 8:
129. Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, and with all his household.
130. Paul’s effort appeared to be fruitless, but it was not so.
131. In fact, the conversion of the leader of the synagogue created such havoc that the Corinthians wanted Paul to be silenced;
132. but, for the encouragement of Paul, God gave him this man and his family to come to Christ,
133. so God not only sends faithful friends,
134. not only gives him fruit for his labor,
135. but, thirdly, God personally fellowships with him in the times of fear and discouragement.
136. God wanted to encourage Paul at the highest level,
137. so the Lord Jesus personally comes to him in a vision;
138. and He said to him, “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and don’t be silent.”
139. If Paul was struggling in his mind
140. whether he is in Corinth according to the will of God or not,
141. the Lord Jesus appears to Paul and tells him five things.
142. Number one, “Don’t be afraid.”
143. Secondly, “Go on speaking.”
144. Thirdly, “I am with you.”
145. Fourthly, “No man will attack you or harm you.”
146. Fifthly, “There are many people in this city that are to be won for Me.”
147. Have you ever stood for the Gospel and been attacked for your faithfulness?
148. Then you will understand the incredible joy that came upon the Apostle Paul’s heart.
149. In the times of fears and discouragement in my life, I have heard the precious voice of the Lord.
150. He spoke to my heart so clearly that I could never doubt it.
151. God not only provides you godly friends in times of fear and discouragement,
152. God not only gives you fruit for your labor,
153. God not only fellowships with you personally,
154. but, fourthly, God frustrates the enemy on your behalf.
155. Paul’s opponents tried to intimidate him and stop him from preaching;
156. but, when that did not work, they dragged him into court.
157. The people were hoping that the proconsul, Gallio, would rule against the preaching of the Gospel;
158. but, my listening friends, when you are faithful to God,
159. even your enemies will be on your side;
160. and so instead of having a landmark decision for the Roman Empire,
161. the proconsul said, “Case dismissed.”
162. When you are faithful to God, your enemy’s plan will be frustrated.
163. When you are faithful to God, God promised never to leave you, nor forsake you.
164. Until we meet again, I wish you God’s richest blessing.