Love is more powerful than fear; mature love banishes fear (1 Jn. 4:18). Paul came to Corinth and declared the gospel of Christ; some opposed and blasphemed while others believed and were baptized (Acts 18:1-8). “Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city” (Acts 19:9). The Lord encouraged Paul to overcome the fears of preaching there and he stayed eighteen months doing that great work (Acts 18:11). In his later correspondence with Corinth, Paul admitted he had been downhearted when he came to them, writing, “I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling” (1 Cor. 2:3). Yet, think of all the fearful opposition that Paul overcame to spread the gospel. What was his motivation? He later explained, “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:14, 15).
Love for God and the souls of men motivates Christians to spread the soul-saving message of Jesus Christ to all. Instead of deceiving men, we speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). Sometimes the more we love people and try to speak to the truth to them the less they show love to us (2 Cor. 12:15). Sometimes people regard us as enemies because we tell them the truth (Gal. 4:16). Though we do all we can to make the truth as palatable to people as possible, still several will resist it. When Jesus sent His disciples on the limited commission in Matthew 10, He reminded them that people would mistreat them just as they mistreated Him their Lord (vv. 16-25); moreover, He also reminded the disciples not to fear persecution because of their value before God (vv. 28-31). Love not only from God but for God would help them overcome. As we go out on the great commission, let us also be reminded of these truths. People need the word of God to save their souls (Jas. 1:21). The seed of the kingdom must be spread everywhere (Lk. 8:11), so that it may find lodging in good and honest hearts (Lk. 8:15).
In the first few chapters of the book of Acts, the church grew exponentially despite opposition from the political powers in and around Jerusalem. The high priest and the council had commanded Peter and the other apostles not to preach in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:18; 5:28); however, the Lord’s command to preach the gospel (Mt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15) outranked the commands of men (Acts 5:29). Thus, Acts 5:42 reports, “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” Let us pray that we may have this kind of boldness to spread the gospel instead of cowering before those who oppose it (Acts 4:29).