How did Paul describe himself? ‘I’ve got an ailment that’s why I ended up preaching to you Galatians.’ Paul’s got some kind of disease or something. He says to the Corinthians, “you count my bodily presence as really not very intimidating.” They basically said, “Ah, his presence is weak.” He claimed weakness, fear, trembling. He talks about his outer self wasting away. Speech being of no account. He said that whatever his condition was, he said his condition was a trial for the Galatians.
Here is this guy, whose bodily presence is weak. Can you see him? I mean imagine this guy walking into Thessaloniki. I want to take you there because I know that just before that, not too long before that, he was at Phillipi. They beat him, they beat him with rods. You remember them singing in the jail cell. This man has fresh wounds on his back. This man is not waltzing into Thessaloniki like a well-armed Roman centurion. He is coming in his weakness, just weak. Can you imagine, the devil himself sends his demonic hordes to withstand Paul, at the Thessaloniki, to keep those people worshiping their idols.
Do you remember how the 1 Thessalonian letter was? It says, “They turned from their idols to serve the Living God.” Here they are in array saying, “Resist! What after all this foolishness, this Jew, this carpenter, died on this cross, and look what’s happened, this man who represents him, is coming in here. Look at him! He’s pathetic, he’s weak,” and they are digging in to resist him with every ounce of energy that they have. What happens? The idols begin to fall. They cannot stand against this.
The most powerful wicked forces on the face of this earth are arrayed against Paul and they cannot withstand him. In all of his weakness, he comes in and he begins to tell people, from his mouth, from these weak vocal chords, pushing air up out of his throat. And it is so manipulated, by his brain, to put these things into sounds and syllables, to utter fourth words and sentences that communicate the truth of this Jewish carpenter, from Nazareth, dying on this cross. And such things begin to happen in these people, such re-creative forces begin to operate, new hearts, people are born again, people are made new creations, and all the forces of Hell cannot resist this.
Paul comes in to Ephesus and what happens? Magic books start going in the fire. What’s all this about? How could the powers of darkness be so broken, these people are witches, these people are warlocks, these people are involved in the occult, these people are doing magic, these people are involved with demons, and familiar spirits. And here they come in and the gospel is preached and it happen wherever he went. I’ll tell you, what nation, not the United States, not China, not Rome, no nation has withstood the power of the Gospel.
Oh, over there in China they can throw those men in prison but what’s going to happen? Then prisoners get converted. Paul was in prison, he’s talking about those of Herod’s household that are converted. Brethren, at another time he talks about those of the Imperial Guard who are converted. You can’t put Christians, no matter how weak, no matter how disdained, throw them away into the prisons and then the people in prisons start getting saved. And the people that are in all of the prisons start getting saved. Remember at Philippi, it was it was the jailer who got converted! I mean you can’t stop it.
Brethren, there’s no religious power on the face of this earth, that has been able to resist the power of the Gospel. Catholicism: in their Inquisition, they sought to wipe true Christianity off the face of the earth. And the more they killed, the more it multiplied. And you know what’s going to happen? It’s going to be exactly the same with Islam. Islam will never wipe out Christianity. Why? Because the power of God is in this brethren. Islam will be no more successful than Catholicism was. Mark my words. Mark God’s words. Power!
Brethren, I’ll tell you, Nebuchadnezzar saw something in a dream, a stone, it was not cut out by the hands of men. And this stone, he sees this thing, this thing comes flying in there, and the kingdoms of this world, that are represented through iron, and clay and bronze and silver and gold, it just smashes them. Like chaff. And the summer threshing floor, just blown to the wind. That’s the power of this gospel.