Encouragement for Today

Paul’s Letters Share His Persevering Faith

By Charles F. Stanley
  • August 07, 2016

Christ transformed the apostle Paul from a persecutor of the church into His chosen messenger of the gospel. Wherever he went, he proclaimed Christ and encouraged believers. His life is an example of one who never gave up but kept trusting God and persevering despite opposition and affliction.

Consider these challenges he faced: Although Paul was stoned and left for dead in Lystra, this didn’t stop him. Amazingly, he got up and went to another town the next day to proclaim the gospel there (Acts 14:19-20). Paul was also repeatedly jailed for preaching about Jesus, yet he never felt sorry for himself. The Holy Spirit within him was his Comforter. At one point, as Paul was being transported to Rome for imprisonment, the ship was in danger of sinking because of a storm. When everyone was discouraged and losing hope, Paul encouraged them not to give up (Acts 27:21-36).

Despite these difficulties, Paul persevered in the faith and still encourages us today through the letters he wrote to the churches. Here are a few exhortations from those letters he left for us:

  • Romans. Nothing can “separate us from the love of God ... in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39).

  • Galatians. The Holy Spirit manifests through us qualities we could never produce ourselves—“love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23).

  • Corinthians. We are assured of our future resurrection (1 Cor. 15:20-58).

  • Ephesians. God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world and sealed us as His children with His Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:4, 13-14).

  • Philippians. He promises to supply all our needs “according to His riches in glory” (Phil. 4:19).

  • Colossians. We have God’s instructions regarding our relationships with each other (Col. 3:18-21).

  • Thessalonians. We are given hope for the resurrection of our loved ones and our ultimate reunion with Christ (1 Thess. 4:13-18).

Do you feel encouraged by these words? Paul had a strong faith in an even stronger God. When we remind ourselves of these great truths he shares, we too will be strengthened and able to face any challenges that come our way—and lift others up along the way. Everyone needs hope, so don’t hesitate to share the hope we have in Christ every day.

This article is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message Being an Encourager which airs this weekend on TV.

Related Topics:  Discouragement  |  Christian Fellowship  |  Intimacy with God

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19 But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead.

20 But while the disciples stood around him, he got up and entered the city. The next day he went away with Barnabas to Derbe.

21 When they had gone a long time without food, then Paul stood up in their midst and said, Men, you ought to have followed my advice and not to have set sail from Crete and incurred this damage and loss.

22 Yet now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship.

23 For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me,

24 saying, `Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.'

25 Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told.

26 But we must run aground on a certain island."

27 But when the fourteenth night came, as we were being driven about in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors began to surmise that they were approaching some land.

28 They took soundings and found it to be twenty fathoms; and a little farther on they took another sounding and found it to be fifteen fathoms.

29 Fearing that we might run aground somewhere on the rocks, they cast four anchors from the stern and wished for daybreak.

30 But as the sailors were trying to escape from the ship and had let down the ship's boat into the sea, on the pretense of intending to lay out anchors from the bow,

31 Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Unless these men remain in the ship, you yourselves cannot be saved."

32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship's boat and let it fall away.

33 Until the day was about to dawn, Paul was encouraging them all to take some food, saying, Today is the fourteenth day that you have been constantly watching and going without eating, having taken nothing.

34 Therefore I encourage you to take some food, for this is for your preservation, for not a hair from the head of any of you will perish."

35 Having said this, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of all, and he broke it and began to eat.

36 All of them were encouraged and they themselves also took food.

38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,

39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.

21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.

22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming,

24 then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.

25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.

26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death.

27 For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. But when He says, All things are put in subjection," it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him.

28 When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.

29 Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them?

30 Why are we also in danger every hour?

31 I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

32 If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, LET US EAT AND DRINK, FOR TOMORROW WE DIE.

33 Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals."

34 Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.

35 But someone will say, How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?"

36 You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies;

37 and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else.

38 But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own.

39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish.

40 There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another.

41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.

42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body;

43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;

44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

45 So also it is written, The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.

47 The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.

48 As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.

49 Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.

50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed,

52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory.

55 O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?"

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law;

57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love

13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation--having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,

14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.

19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

18 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.

20 Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord.

21 Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.

13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.

14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.

15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.

16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

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