God’s Power for God’s Purpose
Truth and Consequences
Dr. Jim Denison
Billy Graham’s bestseller Angels tells the story of John G. Paton’s missionary work in the New Hebrides Islands. One night, hostile natives surrounded the mission headquarters, intent on burning the Patons out and killing them. The Patons prayed all night long that God would deliver them. When morning came, they were shocked to see that their attackers had left.
A year later, the tribal chief came to Christ. Mr. Paton asked him what had kept his men from burning down their house a year earlier. Surprised, the chief replied, “Who were all those men you had with you there?” He told the missionary that he had seen hundreds of big men in shining garments with drawn swords in their hands. They surrounded the house, so that the natives were afraid to attack.
Jesus warned us: “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33a). Then he added, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” So long as we live in his purpose, we can count on his protection and power. The apostle John, survivor of the persecutions we will study today, would later conclude: “The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). And he is just as powerful today in Dallas as he was on that day in Jerusalem 20 centuries ago.