They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples (students).
Paul and Barnabas continue on their missionary journey with great success. They are engaged in exactly the mission Jesus gave to His followers before He ascended to heaven – Go and make students of all nations…
What do they tell these new students to expect as they begin to follow Jesus? They tell them it will not be easy - “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God," they said.
That’s strange...something is wrong here! Why don't they tell them all their problems are over now? Why didn’t Paul instruct them to give money for his mission work and then God would resolve whatever troubles them?
Someone should tell Paul he just doesn’t understand how following Jesus really works! Obviously, Paul didn’t share the message of modern-day preachers, who in their churches and via radio and television, preach a message of prosperity!
Instead of hardship, many today teach that when you become a follower of Jesus your problems are over. Your debts will be paid, your children won’t get into trouble anymore, and your wayward spouses will come home.
Of course, Jesus has the power to bless us in many of these ways. And in the course of time, with the changes Jesus makes in our hearts, good things can and will happen through our improved example and by persistent prayer.
But there is a problem with this Bed or Roses theory of Christianity. The difficulty is this: God does not force others to do what we would have them to do simply because we wish it.
God gives everyone in the world freedom to choose their own course in life. And unfortunately some will not choose the good way.
Even Jesus says that some in our own household may become our enemies because we choose to follow Him. Following Jesus isn’t always a Bed of Roses! Sometimes we must endure hardship and be true to the faith…