1 Corinthians 16:8-9(NIV) “But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.”
Paul the apostle penned these words from Ephesus as he eagerly desired to visit the church he birthed in Corinth. He says he cannot go to Corinth right away. He must continue in Ephesus where he has been ministering for 3 years. Why?….because Paul had a ‘great door’ open in Ephesus.
Ephesus was a cross-road of culture, religion and trade. It was also the occult center for worshipping the goddess Diana. It was here that Alexander the metal worker railed against Paul because so many people were moving from idol worship (Alexander’s business) to Jesus worship. Yet, as demonically infested as the city was, there was a great open door for ministry. Paul, even after 3 years, chose to stay longer to continue the work of ministry. Even his father’s heart for the Corinthian church birthed through his ministry could not draw him away until his purpose was fulfilled in Ephesus.
The work was ‘effective’. Effective is the word eneges meaning active, operative, effectual, powerful, having an effect. Ephesus was becoming an apostolic center where prophets and apostles passed through teaching and ministering and building up the church. The five-fold ministry was in evidence and fruit was abundant. But great works face great opposition! There are two Greek words used, ‘polos antikeimai’, that mean abundant adversity pulling in the opposite direction. There were adversaries! The demonic realm was stirred up. There was a demonic principality, Diana, who ruled the demonic realm over Ephesus. That principality was directing ground level demons to stir up any whose hearts were open to such demonic activity, like Alexander. The message of Jesus was effectively removing Diana from power and putting those who profited from her idolatry out of business.
Diana was defending her territory. She would not bow easily or quietly. Paul, through the Spirit and Truth, was invading her territory, pulling down strongholds and claiming territory for the Kingdom of God. Paul contended for the city. He was neither passive, nor ignorant of the enemy’s activity. Very often apostolic ministries are positioned within enemy territory to assertively contend for the Kingdom of God. Effective kingdom work requires a ‘contending’. Times were changing in this city! Opposition was a sign of effectiveness of the work!
You may have a ministry that is small in number or large in number, well known or known by few. You may not be in full time ministry as a church leader, but you are positioned in the workplace, in your family, in a social circle where you are influencing people for the Kingdom. Your effectiveness is not measured in numbers, but in having an effect. You are in enemy territory, positioned to put him out of business! You are positioned to contend for the Kingdom of God from your position of influence! Opposition seldom lies down quietly or exits quickly. Keep on! Contend! Take the enemy’s territory for the Kingdom of God!
Need more encouragement to contend against your enemy? Click here to view the first video in a series on contending on our Youtube Channel!