We are responsible to share the gospel. We are not responsible for how people respond. If we faithfully proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ, our hands are clean; we are innocent. May we not be afraid, and may we not keep silent. Instead, let us share the gospel courageously and confidently, even in the face of rejection. Jesus is with us, and He is sovereign.
In Expectation of Fruitfulness
Because Jesus is with us and is sovereign, we can also share the gospel courageously and confidently expecting fruitfulness. Paul may have been expelled from the synagogue in Corinth, but he moved on to minister to the gentiles, establishing his ministry next door to the synagogue (v. 7).
Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, and his entire household came to faith in Christ and were baptized, along with many Corinthians (v. 8). Paul persevered in sharing the gospel, and it resulted in fruitfulness. But, in fact, we learn that Jesus is behind Paul’s evangelistic success, for He urged Paul to not be afraid, to not keep silent (v. 9) because He had a number of His elect in Corinth.
Again, this specific promise to Paul is rooted in the promise that Jesus will build His church. And to build His church, Jesus has commissioned His followers to go into the world and proclaim the gospel, calling all peoples everywhere to repent and believe, incorporating them into the body of Christ (baptism), and teaching them to obey all Jesus has commanded (discipleship) (Matt. 28:19–20).
Now, some may object to divine election on the grounds that it sounds like only a few will be saved. But nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus Himself says that He is with Paul and will protect Paul from harm because He has “many in this city who are my people” (Acts 18:10). Revelation 7:9 confirms this reality in John’s vision of a countless, multiethnic multitude standing before the throne and the Lamb.
The doctrine of election is not a hindrance or obstacle to evangelism; it is actually an encouragement. Because Jesus has many who are His people in cities throughout the world, we can share the gospel with the expectation of fruitfulness.
Armed with these promises, Paul remained in Corinth for one and a half years sharing the gospel (Acts 18:11). Opposition came, but Paul stood on Jesus’ promise of protection (vv. 12–17). If you’ve ever been afraid to share the gospel, even to keep your mouth shut when an opportunity presented itself, you’re in good company. Be encouraged. Jesus has many people that are called by His name that have yet to believe, perhaps even in your city. Don’t be afraid. Go on speaking and do not be silent. For Jesus is with us, and He is sovereign. He will build His church, through our faithful testimony, for His own glory. Some will reject Him; others will believe. Our responsibility is simply to share the gospel.