Paul has been called “The Apostle to the Nations.” He was the greatest follower of Christ in history. He took the gospel to much of the known world in the first century. Because of Paul’s ministry Christianity spread the earth and now numbers over two billion people.
The courage it took to spread the gospel was immense. He faced innumerable challenges. But nothing stopped him. He said in Acts 20:24, “I don’t care what happens to me as long as I finish the work the Lord Jesus gave me to do. And this work is to tell the good news about God’s gift of undeserved grace.”
He faced opposition everywhere he went but none more so that in Ephesus. He stayed there for three years, longer than anywhere else. Just the sheer amount of time meant more challenges. He strategically chose Ephesus. It is in modern day Turkey. It was the capital city of Asia Minor. And the third major city of the Roman empire along with Rome and Alexandria.
During his three years of ministry Paul preached the gospel, baptized many Christians, performed great miracles and developed lots of leaders. He had great success building this key church. 
Ephesus was the home of the Temple of Diana or Artemis in the Greek. This was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. People came to Ephesus to worship there. The introduction of Christianity upset the priests and the silversmiths who made idols and earned revenue from the cult of Artemis.
They accused Paul of being a troublemaker and roused the people against him. I visited the 24,000-seat arena where the people gathered to accuse Paul and seek to harm him. Fortunately, the secretary of the city intervened and Paul was released. Paul experienced this same kind of trouble in Philippi, Corinth and other places he went to preach the gospel.
Paul’s courage and boldness are an example for us to follow. He did not let anything stand his way. Even economic issues could not deter him. Today we see corporations bend to the will of certain groups. I wonder if we would continue to do God’s work if financial issues arose. I would like to think we would but it takes a lot of courage to put God first especially when money is involved.
Many times, when we face opposition we quit. Paul was committed to finishing what he started. In the future it is likely we will face increased opposition to the gospel. We need to decide today that we will exercise the courage needed to do God’s work.

About Rick McDaniel

Rick McDaniel is a noted author, international communicator and church leader. He is the founder/senior pastor of Richmond Community Church in Richmond, Virginia. The church is known for its contemporary and innovative services and has a worldwide reach through McDaniel has earned three degrees including an advanced degree from Duke University and is the author of​ six​​ books including his latest "Turn Your Setbacks Into Comebacks." He has traveled and spoken at conferences and churches worldwide spanning six continents.

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