sermon 11.16.2014: Spiritual Warfare

Introduction:

My first Christian college was Indiana Wesleyan University. One of the classes that I enrolled in at that school was Old Testament Survey. I loved that class. Professor Colter was a great teacher. In one class he shared a story about spiritual warfare. I don’t remember how it came up or how it related to our passage for the day but I do remember the story.

Professor Colter was an Old Testament professor, but he was also a pastor in a local church. One morning he received a call. One of his members said, “Pastor, can you come over something happened with my son last night.” Professor Colter left to her house and he invited a retired pastor to come along with him. The Retired pastor was a member of his church. They got to the house and spoke with a seventeen year old young man. Professor Colter asked the young man to explain what happened. The young man explained that the night before his mother was at work and he and some friends tried to raise a demonic spirit. Professor Colter asked what happened. The young man proceeded to explain that nothing happened at the time, but later on he woke up and there was some type of demonic presence at the end of his bed. The demonic presence told him to rape his girlfriend, kill her and cut her up. Professor Colter then asked the young man, “What did you do?” The young man said at that time he pulled the covers over his head. So, now it is the next day and there they are. Professor Colter and the retired pastor with him talked with the young man longer and then said, “We want to pray over you.” The young man said, “okay.” Then professor Colter said, “You have to get on your knees.” At that, the young man’s voice changed deeper as he said, “Why do I have to get on my knees?” Professor Colter explained that it is submission to Christ, but we’ll pray over you anyways. They started praying and when they mentioned Jesus, the young man fell on his knees. The following Sunday, after worship, the church elders prayed over him and he accepted Christ as Lord and Savior. They then went to his house and they found all kinds of stuff having to do with the occult in his room. They took all that stuff and had a huge bonfire in the young man’s backyard. He had gotten involved in the occult when he was twelve years old.

Today, we continue in the New Testament book of Acts. Paul is in Ephesus and he encounters false religions. Now, let’s look at this passage and see that spiritual warfare was real then and it is now as well. My title is Spiritual Warfare in Ephesus, Spiritual Warfare in America.

Let’s read the passage: Acts 19:11-20:

God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.

13Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” 14Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” 16Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.

17When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. 18Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. 19A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.

  1. First, let’s look at what leads up to the spiritual warfare event.
    1. Notice in verse 11 the passage talks about all that has been going on. Many people have been healed and Paul has done miraculous things.
    2. Verse 12 tells us how far things have gotten. Now, they take handkerchiefs and aprons from Paul and if they touch other people they are healed. Also, the evil spirit would leave the person. So, this verse recognizes that this had to do with physical healing as well as demonic possession.
    3. Before we move on, understand that this is not a type of witchcraft. There are two other occasions in the Scriptures where something like this occurred. One is with Peter in Acts 5:15 the people wanted his shadow to pass before them.
    4. Another occurrence of something like this is in Luke 8:44 when a woman with an issue of blood came and touched the edge of Jesus’ cloak to be healed.
    5. In Mark 16:17 Jesus talked about the signs that will accompany them.
    6. All of these incidences bring glory to God and not to man.
    7. We’ll see that as the narrative goes on.
    8. By the way, one thought that Luke must have really enjoyed writing this one. This is filled with humor in every way.
    9. So, that is what is going on to lead up to this.
    10. They are in Ephesus and Ephesus is full of witchcraft.
    11. One writes: Ephesus was reputed as a center for magic. The famous statue of Artemis, the centerpiece of her temple, was noted for the mysterious terms engraved on the crown, girdle, and feet of the image. Referred to as the “Ephesian scripts,” this magical gibberish was considered to have great power. It was not by accident that Paul’s encounter with magic took place in Ephesus, nor is it a surprise that his converts there had been involved in such practices. Magic was part of Ephesian culture. Nor should one question the integrity of these Ephesian Christians who only now openly forsook such ways. Salvation involves a process of growth, of increasing sanctification. And after all, the Ephesian spells were not that remote from the horoscopes and board games that supposedly communicate telepathic messages with which many Christians dabble in our own day.

  2. Now, in the next few verses we have imposters.

    1. Jewish people are faking and impersonate Paul.

    2. From readings it was common back then to have exorcists who went around trying to make a name and money for themselves. This case is no different. These people were fakes, they were imposters. They were not real.

    3. It is a big deal to fake who are you, right?

    4. Ny dad was a police officer before I was born. But he got to keep the uniform after quitting. My brother and I used to try to get him to put it on. My dad used to tell us that it was a big deal to impersonate a police officer and you cannot do that.

    5. Now, if it is a big deal to impersonate a police officer, what about impersonating one of Jesus’ handpicked apostles? One would thing that is a big deal.

    6. This honestly is a big deal.

    7. More than one set of men are doing this, but the Bible gives us one example.

  3. In verses 14-16 we have the case study.

    1. Seven sons of Sceva. So, Sceva is their dad and he is apparently a Jewish High Priest. There was a Jewish historian named Josephus and he listed all the High priest and this guy is not one of them. But it could be that he is a pagan high priest. It could be that he was an illegitimate high priest, It could also be that he was from the high priest family. So there are different options here.

    2. Think about this though, the High Priest is the only one to enter the holy of holies. Think about that with what happens. But to his credit he may not have known what his children were doing,

    3. With him being a high priest the people might have thought there was a special type of power within him.

    4. So, his sons impersonate Paul and try to cast out demons in his name.

    5. The demons talk through the man they possessed. Then the man becomes supernaturally strong and the demon says, Jesus I know, Paul I am familiar with. You I don’t know. The demon beats them all up and send them on the street naked.

    6. Now, the translation might have missed something. The Bible says that the demon beat them all up which is all seven sons. However, that could also be translated “two” So, there could have been two or seven.

    7. They are then thrown out on the street naked. Which could mean with torn clothes.

      1. I remember being on a mission trip to a Native American Reservation when I heard about young adults who would get beat up because of what they got into. They were not beat up by friends but demons.

      2. So, that is what is happening here.

  4. Now, people see this. The word spreads.

    1. First in verse 17, the Bible says that Jews and Greeks see this. Then it says, “The name of the Lord was magnified. That is what we are here for.

    2. So, now many people are saved.

    3. Verse 18 says of those who believed they now came out and confessed.

    4. What this really means is that they got rid of their occult stuff.

    5. See the next verse they take them out on the street and burn them. They have a big bonfire getting rid of stuff.

    6. Verse 20, the Word of God spreads.

      1. What do we do when we are saved or set free?

      2. Do you get rid of stiff? Do you put the past behind you?

  5. Notice that spiritual warfare is real.

    1. I shared the story in the beginning of the message. I have not experienced that, but I have been called to pray through houses and talk things through with people.

    2. Ephesians 6:12: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

    3. You may ask about exorcism: I have talked with people who have taken part or led exorcisms. I believe they are real and what that means is to pray over someone to remove a demon.

    4. In reality, we don’t want people to get that far do we? No, that young man I shared about, he was in the occult for five years. Don’t mess with this, you are over your head.

    5. There is a book: This Present Darkness that is fiction and about spiritual warfare as well.

    6. Now, who can exorcise a demon: I believe one must be pursuing God and not alone. There is no rite of exorcism. We must pray and seek God and grow spiritually and then you are ready to be used of God. Don’t go in alone.

    7. I read of a few other applications: One writes:Two lessons emerge from the story. For one, Christianity has nothing to do with magic. The name of Jesus is no magical incantation. The power of Jesus drives out the demonic, and his Spirit only works through those who, like Paul, confess him and are committed to him. Second, the demon did confess the power of Jesus over him, “Jesus I know.” Compare Jas 2:19, “Even the demons believe and shudder.” The people of Ephesus recognized this and extolled the powerful name of Jesus as a result (v. 17). What was true for them is still true. In the name of Jesus is all the power needed to drive out the demonic forces in every age.

Close:

I remember talking with a professor in college. He was a missionary to Nepal and I asked him about spiritual warfare. He said in Nepal they have names for the demons.

What you need to know: As a Christ follower you have Jesus within you. You are possessed by God! Also, Jesus said we are not alone. Matthew 28:20. Lastly, put on the armor of God.

Ephesians 6:10-18:

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.

Do you know Jesus?

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

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Acts 19:1-10 sermon

I have been preaching through Acts for a long time. I don’t know what that means to you, I hope you have learned a lot, but if you simply learn that really is not good enough. I really, mostly hope that the Word of God is transforming your life.

Dr. David Palmer shared with a group how he grew up in a non Christian home. At a certain age he was given a Gideon Bible and eventually became a Christian. A few years later he was in college when his room mate staggered into the dorm room. At that time he remembers reading the Bible underneath his covers by flashlight. He thought, “What is it about this book that makes me so eager to read it?” Dr. palmer continued: “Part of the new birth is a spirit born appetite for the Word of God.”

As I was writing that paragraph I started thinking about my own spiritual journey. When I was in high school I started a Discipleship class. In that class I was required to study the Bible for one hour once a week. This was an in depth Bible study. At first I thought, that is going to be too much. I was a high school student involved in extra curriculars with a part time job. But I began studying the Bible. By the end of that class I was studying a chapter a week and could not stop studying. I loved it! I was studying the book of Revelation one chapter at a time. There were times in my studies that I have been practically moved to tears studying the Bible. I love it.

Part of that discipleship class involved learning about the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts. It is that subject that I wish to talk about today. I once heard a message in which one shared about reading through the Bible when he was a non Christian. At that time the Bible did not make sense to him. Just a few weeks later he gave his life to Christ and started reading the Bible again. Now, as a Christian, the Bible made total sense.

What is the difference? The Holy Spirit is the difference.

Let’s read Acts 19:1-7 and talk about people coming to know Christ and receiving the Holy Spirit.

While Apollos  was at Corinth,  Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus.  There he found some disciples  and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit  when  you believed?”

They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”

John’s baptism,” they replied.

4Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.”  On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  When Paul placed his hands on them,  the Holy Spirit came on them,  and they spoke in tongues  and prophesied.  There were about twelve men in all.

  1. Context is everything so I would like to talk about the passage itself for a second.
    1. Verse 1 shows us that Apollos is staying in Corinth and during this time Paul travels through the inland route to Ephesus. Ephesus was a very important city. Later Paul would write the letter to the Ephesians. Actually, 1 and 2 Timothy were written to Timothy who was pastoring the church in Ephesus.
    2. Now, Paul meets some of John’s disciples. Paul asked them if they received the Holy Spirit when they believed. Now, I believe based off of John’s Gospel chapters 14-17 and Acts 2 and many other passages that we do receive the Holy Spirit when we believe in Christ.
      1. We will come back to those passages dealing with the Holy Spirit a little later. For now, let me continue to overview the context.
      2. Now, Paul was struck by something. He knew that these 12 people were not saved. He could tell by something that they were not Christians. One thought is that they did not have the Holy Spirit. Certainly, when he ask them a question their response makes it clear.
      3. The Bible does call them disciples and this is likely the word “disciples” in a broad sense as followers of someone. They were followers of John the Baptizer.
      4. They knew nothing about the Holy Spirit.
      5. How do you know if you have the Holy Spirit?
      6. When you become a Christian you are baptized with the Holy Spirit. If you have really, truly trusted in the blood of Jesus covering your sins and have committed to make Jesus Lord of your life then you are saved and you have the Holy Spirit.
      7. Have your desires changed? The Holy Spirit is God living within you. He changes your desires to match God’s. What is the pattern, do you have convictions concerning sin? There are sins of omission and commission. Sins of commission are things that you do, such as stealing. Sins of omission are things that you are not doing that you should do. Do you have convictions as to doing the right thing?
        1. Do you have convictions to read the Bible?
        2. Do you have convictions to participate in the church community? I am not only talking about Sunday morning worship, but do you have convictions to be involved in corporate, small group Bible study? Do you have convictions to participate in ministry? The Holy Spirit wants you involved in these things. How do we know? The Bible tells us so.
      8. Do you have a hunger for the Bible?
      9. We must be convicted to walk by the Spirit as Galatians 5:16 and the following verses talk about.

Galatians 5:16-22:

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.

17  For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.

18  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.

19  Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: aimmorality, impurity, sensuality,

20  idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, dfactions,

21  envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

23  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.1

    1. In this passage: These disciples tell Paul that they didn’t know that the Holy Spirit had come upon the people. Actually it says they didn’t know about the Holy Spirit. But what is more likely is they didn’t know that the Spirit had come upon the church. They knew about the Holy Spirit.
    2. Paul then tells them the Gospel of Jesus and they receive Christ. Paul prays over them and they speak in tongues and prophesy, which in this case is evidence of the Spirit.
    3. An application is that the Spiritual gifts are important, but just because you have not spoken in tongues does not mean you are not saved. That is what happened in this instance. But don’t discredit the work of the Holy Spirit.
  1. But let’s talk about who the Holy Spirit is:
    1. The third person of the Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit); One God manifested in 3 persons. The Holy Spirit is a person, not merely a force. He is intelligent (1Cor 12:11), has a will (1 Cor 12:11), teaches (John 14:26), can be grieved (Eph. 4:30), and can be insulted (Hebrews 10:29). The Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4). See also John 14:16-19, 23. Jesus says He is leaving , yet He will come to the Disciples with the Father. The Son and the Father come into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. The degree of separateness and unity in the Trinity is a mystery. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit share Divinity (One God), yet are distinct in personality.
    2. One of the Greek words for Holy Spirit is Parakletos. The New International version translates it Counselor. (NASB: Helper, KJV: Comforter. Recommended reading John
    3. Note the reference to the Holy Spirit. It literally means one called alongside to help.
  2. As applications: I am just going to mention these and you can think about them. The scriptures are in your bulletin and in your manuscript. Trace these ministries of the Holy Spirit in your life:
    1. Conviction (John 16:8-11) Verse 8 says when the Holy Spirit comes he will convict the world of its sin.
    2. Change (John 3:5-8; 2 Cor 5:17-18)

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation…

    1. Assurance (Romans 8:16; 1 John 3:23-24; Eph. 4:29)

Romans 8:16:

The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God…

    1. Indwelling (Romans 8:9)

However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.

      1. How do you know you are a Christian? The Holy Spirit is active in your life causing your desires to change.
      2. It is not overnight but the thirst for Scripture should be there. The thirst to see the lost saved should be there. You ought to be convicted of sin. There needs to be spiritual growth.
      3. Remember the Apostle Paul could tell these 12 were not Christ followers. This goes back to the Holy Spirit in our life.
      4. Think about it: You have God dwelling in you.
  1. The Bible teaches that after Conversion, the Holy Spirit is our:
    1. Teacher of spiritual truths. (John 14:26; John 16:13; 1Cor 2:14)

John 16:13:

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.

    1. Mouthpiece in witnessing to others. (Luke 12:11-12)

When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

    1. Helper in prayer. (Romans 8:26-27)

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

    1. Power for victorious living. (Acts 1:8; John 1:12)

John 1:12:

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,

    1. Purifier of our hearts. (Acts 15:8-9)

And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith.

So, we see some information about the Holy Spirit.

Think about this: Is it not amazing that God saves us?

Is it not amazing that God sets us free from our sin? If God is who He is and He has done what He has done, does anything make sense than to live our lives as living sacrifices, that is Romans 12:1. (David Palmer shared this at Fall 2014 annual gathering) God saved us from His wrath by sending His wrath upon His own Son. He slew Him and poured all of my sin upon His own Son. That is amazing.

But what is more amazing is that was not all Jesus did for us. He died in our place, yes, but then He sent us the Holy Spirit. John 14:16-18 is written about Jesus sending us the helper who is the Holy Spirit.

Are you sensitive to His presence? Maybe today is the day to rededicate your life to Him. Maybe you have realized that your passions are not being conformed to Jesus’? Where are you at in your spiritual life?

How do you answer those question about the Holy Spirit’s ministry in your life? Have a conversation with God about this.

Let’s pray

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

1 New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Ga 5:16–23). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

Acts 18:23-28 sermon

Introduction:

I have a family member who thought he was a Christian and now he realizes that he is not a Christian. How does that happen? Are you a Christian? Really, are you a follower of Jesus Christ? Are you persevering in the faith? Are you taking your belief system and your Christian worldview seriously?

My family member lived the Christian life for some fifty or sixty years. He was active in a church, really, really active. He served on a few boards, including the deacon board. He was baptized three times. Then when he was just over seventy years old my brother said that he was not a Christian. I resisted my brother in saying that. My mother resisted my brother in saying such a thing. My brother got on the phone with this family member and eventually, this family member realized, he really is not a Christian. He does not believe in the Trinity, he does not believe that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. He wrestles with much of the core teachings of Christianity. He is not a Christian.

Do you believe the whole Gospel? I am not asking if you understand the whole Gospel, do you believe the whole Gospel. Somethings we step out into faith believing.

I once read an article asking if I am preaching the whole Gospel. What does that mean? Well many times we stop our teaching and preaching at “just believe.” We never tell people they must follow Jesus. Though many people are believing but not trusting or really not even believing in Jesus.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Theologian killed by the Nazi’s in World War II. There is a great biography about him out right now. He was a brilliant man who would not cave to the Nazis. Many other German churches were going along with Hitler’s anti-Semitic comments but he would not. He was trying to organize churches that stayed true to Scripture. There was a time that he came to New York City to study. His impressions of our American church were not good. He wrote:

By this time Bonhoeffer is in his lower twenties and has almost, if not, completed his PhD.

[The Union Students] talk a blue streak without the slightest foundation and with no evidence of any criteria… they are unfamiliar with even the most basic questions. They become intoxicated with liberal and humanistic phrases, laugh at the fundamentalists, and yet basically are not even up to their level.”

On another occasion he wrote:

In New York they preach about virtually everything, only one thing is not addressed, or is addressed so rarely that I have as yet been unable to hear it, namely, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the cross, sin and forgiveness, death and life.”1

You see Bonhoeffer came to the U.S. soon after a pastor in New York City made some waves. His name was Harry Emerson Fosdick. Listen to what Eric Metaxis writes about him:

Fosdick had been the pastor at New York’s First Presbyterian Church when in 1922 he preached an infamous sermon titled, ‘Shall the Fundamentalist Win?’ In it he laid out a kind of Apostles Creed in which he expressed his serious doubts about most of the historic assertions of the Christian faith, including the virgin birth, the resurrection, the divinity of Christ, the atonement, miracles, and the Bible as the Word of God. This sermon was the opening salvo in a battle that would rage particularly hotly through the 1920s and 1930s. The local presbytery immediately conducted an investigation, but as a son of the moneyed East Coast WASP establishment, Fosdick had little to fear. His defense was conducted by another establishment scion, John Foster Dulles , who would serve as Eisenhower’s secretary of state, and whose father was a well known liberal Prebyterian minister. Fosdick resigned before they could censure him, and he was given the pastorate of the fashionably progressive Park Avenue Baptist Church, where John D. Rockefeller was a prominent member and whose foundation’s philanthropic arm was run by Fosdick’s own brother. 2

So, their Gospel was incomplete. Their teaching was incomplete and it was on purpose. They needed corrected.

I want to look at a passage where a brilliant man was teaching and speaking but he was incomplete in his understanding. So, he is corrected. Let’s look at the passage.

Read Acts 18:24-28:

Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor[a] and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.

27When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers and sisters encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. When he arrived, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. 28For he vigorously refuted his Jewish opponents in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah.

  1. First, let’s talk about the passage. Meet Apollos.
    1. Apollos was a Jew and he was by birth an Alexandrian.
    2. We know about Alexandria and we know that Alexandria was an area in Egypt that was heavily sophisticated with a very large library. The library would later have a fire which was unfortunate because we lost a lot of good literature and history. Later many noble theologians and church fathers came from Alexandria.
    3. He was an eloquent or a learned man. Apollos was a Greek Jew. Alexandria would have had the largest population of Jews outside Palestine.
    4. Apollos will be referenced much more:

1 Cor 1:12

Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.”

1 Cor. 3:5:

What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even bas the Lord gave opportunity to each one.

1 Cor. 3:6:

I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.

1 Cor. 3:22

whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you,

1 Cor. 4:6:

Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other.

1 Cor. 16:12:

But concerning Apollos our brother, I encouraged him greatly to come to you with the brethren; and it was not at all his desire to come now, but he will come when he has opportunity.

Titus 3:13

Diligently help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way so that nothing is lacking for them.

  1. Apollos is used much more in the New Testament, especially in Corinth.
  2. In verse 25 Apollos was instructed in the Lord. He was fervent in Spirit. The Bible even says that he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus. But he was only acquainted with the things concerning John. In Acts 19:3 there is another time people only knew the things concerning John. Or John’s baptism. The Bible says that he was boiling in Spirit and this means that he had fire within him. So, he was very passionate.
  3. But his message was incomplete. He only knew the things of John. Apollos only knew John’s baptism. There are different views on this and I am still unsure. Some think that he was already baptized because he is never shown being re baptized. Others think that he was only baptized by John and that he was like and Old Testament prophet believing the Messiah was still to come.
  4. I think we may not know why his message was incomplete. We may not know what he needed to know, but we do know that his teaching was incomplete.
  5. So, in the next verse Priscilla and Aquila take him aside and explain more fully the Gospel.
  6. Notice after this that verses 27 and 28 have Apollos going to Corinth and powerfully refuting the Jews in public demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ. In fact, I wonder if that is what was explained to him: that Jesus was the Christ.
  1. So, what does this mean to us?
    1. It is vitally important that we understand a complete Gospel. Jesus was crucified, died, buried and rose again. (1 Cor. 15:3)
    2. So think about this, in what way or ways is our Gospel lacking? As we look across the United States what is going on? I believe that we allow to many people just like Harry Emerson Fosdick. He was the pastor whom I told you about in the beginning of the sermon. He denied many of the core truths of historic Christianity. This allows for people just like my family member, thinking they are Christians when they really are not. Their belief is incomplete. This cannot be, we must hold true to the faith.
    3. It is important that we recognize as Jesus said that believing in Him means following Him. Many times we allow or teach people simply to believe and that belief is separate from their life. This cannot be, believing in Jesus means following Jesus. We are not fans of Christ we are followers of Christ.
    4. But what else? We must do our duty just like Priscilla and Aquila did. We must explain the Gospel more fully when people do not understand.
    5. What did Priscilla and Aquila do? They took him aside and explained to him the full Gospel.
    6. Are you willing to do that?
    7. Notice also that they did not correct him in the open, they followed the Jesus model. They took him aside and in private corrected him. That is based off of Matthew 18:15-17.
    8. Everyone here, who is a believer in Christ, must be concerned with incomplete Gospel teaching. That means that you must be prepared that Jesus may use you to correct someone.

I know of a case where God used an atheist to correct someone:

Close:

Do you understand a full Gospel. Some do not: listen to this:

Marilyn Sewell

Unitarian Universalist Minister

and Christopher Hitchens Author, God is NOT Good: How Religion Poisons Everything

Sewell: The religion you cite in your book is generally the fundamentalist faith of various kinds. I’m a liberal Christian, and I don’t take the stories from the scripture literally. I don’t believe in the doctrine of the atonement (that Jesus died for our sins, for example). Do you make and distinction between fundamentalist faith and liberal religion?

Hitchens:

Only in this respect: I would say that if you don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth

was the Christ, in other words, the Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you’re really not in any meaningful sense a Christian.

Sewell:

I disagree with that. I consider myself a Christian. I believe in the Jesus story as story, as narrative, and Jesus as a person whose life is exemplary that I want to follow. But I do not believe in all that stuff that I just outlined.


Hitchens:

I simply have to tell you that every major

Christian, including theologians, has said

that without the resurrection and without the forgiveness of sins, what I call the vicarious redemption, it’s meaningless. In fact, without that, it isn’t even a nice story – even if it’s true . . .

Sewell:

It doesn’t really matter to me if it’s true literally. It matters to me whether the story has efficacy for my life.

Hitchens:

Well, that’s what I meant to say. When

C.S. Lewis, for example, says, . . ‘if this

man was not the son of God, then his

teachings were evil’ because if you don’t

believe that the kingdom of heaven is at

hand and you can get to it by the way, the truth, and the life, offered by the gospel, then there’s no excuse for telling people to take no thought for the morrow, for example, as he did. . . It would be an evil nonsense.

So, we see in this passage that Priscilla and Aquila explained the Gospel more fully to Apollos and then God greatly uses Apollos. I ask that you believe in and trust in the complete Gospel and let God use you as He used Priscilla and Aquila in order to correct inappropriate teaching or incomplete teaching.

Do you know Jesus?

First do you know Jesus?

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

1 Eric Metaxis. Bonhoeffer Pastor, Prophet, Martyr, Spy. Thomas Nelson, Inc. Nashville, Tenn. 2010. (page 99)

2 Ibid. page 102.

Acts 18:5-11 sermon

Intro:

I have been encouraged many times and in many different ways, but many times I receive encouragement from a note given to me or something someone says. I know of pastors that have an encouragement file. If they are ever discouraged they go to that file and find encouragement. We need encouragement, I do. Many times my encouragement comes from an email, a text message or a phone call. Sometimes I do not realize how encouraging it is until later on. Sometimes someone will simply text me a Scripture verse. A few times I have been praying and the Holy Spirit reminds me of something.

Today we talk about the Holy Spirit encouraging Paul and the Holy Spirit encouraging us. As we start this subject it should encourage us, but also challenge us. Living by the Holy Spirit is not easy.

Francis Chan writes in Forgotten God:

CHRISTLIKENESS: A PAINFUL PROCESS

The truth is that the Spirit of the living God is guaranteed to ask you to go somewhere or do something you wouldn’t fit normally want or choose to do. The Spirit will lead you to the way of the cross, as He led Jesus to the cross, and that is definitely not a safe or pretty or comfortable place to be. The Holy Spirit of God will mold you into the person you were made to be. This often incredibly painful process strips you of selfishness, pride, and fear. 

For a powerful example of this, read in C. S. Lewisfs book The Voyage of the Dawn Treader about the boy, Eustace, who becomes a dragon. In order to become a little boy again, he must undergo a tremendous amount of pain as the dragon skin is peeled away and torn from him. Only after he endures this painful process is he truly transformed from a dragon back into a boy. 

Sometimes the sin we take on becomes such a part of us that it requires this same kind of ripping and tearing to free us. The Holy Spirit does not seek to hurt us, but He does seek to make us Christlike, and this can be painful.

(Francis Chan. Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit (pp. 50-51). Kindle Edition.)

In today’s passage we see that the Holy Spirit encourages Paul, BUT, notice first that Paul was stepping outside of his comfort zone following the Holy Spirit’s will. He was sharing the Gospel, despite resistance.

The great idea today is that The Holy Spirit encouraged Paul and the application is that the Holy Spirit will encourage you as well. But remember to walk following the Spirit.

Let’s read Acts 18:5-11: (I am referencing the NASB translation today)

5But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul began devoting himself completely to the word, solemnly testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. 6But when they resisted and blasphemed, he shook out his garments and said to them, gYour blood be on your own heads! I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.h 7Then he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God, whose house was next to the synagogue. 8Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord with all his household, and many of the Corinthians when they heard were believing and being baptized. 9And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, gDo not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; 10for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city.h 11And he settled there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

  1. I want to come back to the theme that Jesus encourages us as He encouraged Paul, but let’s look at the context first. Context is always critical:
    1. Remember from last week that the Apostle Paul came to Corinth without Silas and Timothy. He needed encouragement and he soon met Pricilla and Aquila. It seems that he has had a burn out phase.
    2. In verse 5 Silas and Timothy joined Paul, likely with financial support from the Macedonians. In 2 Cor. 11:9 Paul mentioned people coming from Macedonia with his needs.
    3. In verse 5, Paul was thoroughly, completely, preaching Christ. The verb translated as “completely” means “over and over again.” Paul was no longer only preaching on Sabbaths.
    4. In verse 6 people resisted and blasphemed. So the message Paul was preaching faced resistance. We do not know what kind of resistance, but we do know they blasphemed. This usually means blasphemed God, to talk negatively, disrespectfully against God. However, this could mean that they lied about Paul, questioned Paul’s integrity or something like that.
    5. In verse 6, he shook out his garments, this was like shaking the dust off of their feet as was so common. Let me share what the E.S.V. Study Bible says regarding this:

When they opposed and reviled him. Paul will spend much time with audiences where there is interest and response, even if they don’t immediately believe (see v. 4), but he will not spend time where he simply faces hostile opposition. Shaking garments was a gesture of rejection, much like shaking the dust from one’s feet (cf. 13:51). Your blood be on your own heads reflects Ezekiel’s words about God’s prophetic watchman (Ezek. 33:1–7). “Blood” means “the responsibility for your judgment by God.” Paul had faithfully discharged his responsibility, so that at the final judgment no part of these Jews ‘failure to believe could be attributed to his failure to tell them about Christ (but cf. note on Acts 18:7)

Ezekiel 33:6 says: 6‘But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.’

    1. In verse 7, Paul leaves but does not leave the city. He goes next door. The Bible says Titius Justus. This man was a worshipper of God. So, this man was not a pagan man like they would have in Corinth. Corinth had a lot of pagans practicing lewd (offensive in a secular way) idolatry.
    2. That house was actually attached to the Synagogue. The I.V.P. Bible Backgrounds Commentary gives insight: Patrons’ homes in Corinth normally seated nine in the triclinium (the best room) and as many as forty others in the adjoining atrium (the largest furnished room)
    3. Imagine the next part, the Synagogue leader is saved.

The I.V.P. Bible Backgrounds Commentary gives insight: “Crispus” is a typical Roman name. It was not uncommon for Jewish people to have Latin names (“Crispus” and “Crispina” appear several times in Jewish inscriptions), but the proportion of Latin names among Paul’s associates is so much higher than generally in inscriptions (even though inscriptions were normally made by the well-to-do) that it is likely that a number of Paul’s Jewish and Greek associates were also Roman citizens. To be “synagogue ruler” means that Crispus is a person of status and wealth, responsible for the synagogue services.

    1. That had to make in impact. Imagine if the head of I.S.I.S. comes to trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior? Imagine if the leader of a local part of I.S.I.S. trusts in Christ? Imagine if the local Jehovah’s witness leader accepts Christ? This was a leader accepting Christ, not a common attender. Now certainly, that may be a bigger deal since this was a Jewish leader and the Jewish Scriptures prophesy Christ. So, imagine if a local Jewish synagogue leader accepts Christ as Lord and Savior? Would not that make a difference?
    2. Jesus is in charge of the results of evangelism. We are to proclaim the Gospel and Jesus will take care of the results.
    3. The whole family and household of this leader is saved.
    4. Many Corinthians are saved.
    5. They were baptized.
    6. Baptism follows salvation. We are baptized in order to follow Jesus’ footsteps. We are baptized to make a public profession of our faith in Christ. We are baptized to be symbolic of dying with Christ and rising again. We are baptized as that is symbolic of washing our sins away.

The Lord speaks to Paul, let’s look at that.

  1. In verses 9-10 this is the message.
    1. Paul need not fear. Paul was told not to fear any longer which means that he did have fear. In 1 Cor. 2:3 Paul said that he came in fear and weakness. We know all the persecution he had faced. Paul had faced difficulties. He was used to declaring the Gospel in power and great boldness, but maybe he has faced a time of depression, or burn out.
    2. Paul is to go on speaking and not be silent.
    3. Jesus is with Paul.
    4. No one will attack Paul in order to harm him.
    5. God has many people in the city. This could mean many other followers, but likely means many people in the city who need the Gospel.
  2. What about us?
    1. We need encouragement and the Holy Spirit may encourage you through circumstance. You know how encouraging it is for me to be sitting in my office when Mercedes walks by and says, “Hi Daddy, that’s my daddy, that’s my daddy.” That is exactly what she said a few weeks ago. That brightens my day and I hope I never forget it. You know how encouraging it is when I walk in the door only to slammed by Mercedes with a hug. A few weeks ago Mercedes was up in the night coughing so I got her up and gave her a drink and some crackers. She was wide awake. She sits down at the table and says, “Daddy, I’ll sit here and you sit here.” She pointed next to her. I wanted to unload the dishwasher, oh but she wanted me with her. She wanted presence.
    2. It is also encouraging to see childcare and preschool children at the church or at Wal-Mart and hear their exciting greeting. Just after Christmas I was at Wal-Mart and heard a child say, “There is Jesus.” The mom looked around and so did I. We heard him say the same thing again. He pointed directly at me. He associated me with Jesus since I work at the church and read stories about Jesus to him.
    3. Are those encouraging words from God? Not directly, but God can use them. Mercedes encourages me by being my loving daughter and being proud to say, “That’s my daddy!”
    4. Now how will the Holy Spirit encourage you? I do believe Paul was communicated with by the Holy Spirit directly, what about you?
      1. Jesus may encourage through the church. Jesus may encourage you through a kind letter from a friend. Jesus may encourage you through the Scriptures. Have you ever read the right Scripture at just the right time? Jesus may encourage you through circumstance. Jesus may encourage you in prayer. You may be praying and you feel this presence. Jesus may speak to you that way.
    5. You are to not fear WHEN you are following Jesus. Are you seeking and following the Lord’s will? Then do not fear. Consider Matthew 10:19-20: But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.
    6. You are to preach Christ and not be silent. The Lord needs your words and your actions.
    7. God is with us. Immanuel. Matthew 1:23 says that Jesus’ name shall be called Immanuel which means “God with us.” Matthew 28:20 says that the Lord is with us in the great commission.
      1. I heard about a child that was eating something and his sister asked for a piece so he gave her a small piece. Then his parents said, that was very nice of you, so he gave her another piece. It is thought that he did not give her more because he wanted to but because he was encouraged by his parents.
      2. The Holy Spirit encourages Paul and that keeps him going.
      3. Let’s apply this a little bit further. The Holy Spirit will encourage us but also challenge us. Remember the beginning of the sermon the Holy Spirit will take us deeper.
      4. The Holy Spirit is with you as a Christian, but are you with Him.
      5. The Bible says “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” – Matthew 24:12-13 

        On the night of March 29, 1848, Niagara Falls completely and mysteriously stopped flowing. The estimated 500,000 gallons of water that customarily rushed over the falls stalled to a trickle. James Francis Macklem, a village justice of the peace in the Niagara area, wrote that he had witnessed the subsidence of the waters and the phenomenon of the Niagara running dry “caused great excitement in the neighborhood at the time.” 
        To some, the mystery of this sudden “turning off” of the river seemed to be an ominous portent, and nightfall found most of the churches packed with people praying or talking in frightened voices about the end of the world. Fear grew into the proportions of panic. 
        The cause of this unusual event began along the shores of Lake Erie near Buffalo. For several days, the wind had been blowing to the east over Lake Erie, driving much of its ice flow down river. Then the winds suddenly shifted to the west, driving the lake water west and causing the lakefs ice to break up and dam the river. The Niagara River ceased to flow for almost 30 hours until the ice shifted and the dam broke up. 

        When we become cold towards Christ and not let the Holy Spirit flow through our lives it can become disastrous. Has your love for Christ grown cold? Today in prayer, confess any sin to Christ and remember the love you had for Him when you first became a Christian. Walk with Him and do not let your love grow cold.

    8. God has others in the city. God has people who need Jesus in this city as well.
    9. Corinth was the first city where Paul had settled for extensive missionary activity. He stay a year and a half. Paul’s “year and six months” stay in Corinth probably dates from the fall of 50 to the spring of A.D. 52. This was evidently the entire time Paul remained in Corinth. The church Paul planted in Corinth consisted of a rich mixture of people, some of whom were greatly gifted, but most of whom came from the lower elements of society (cf. Rom. 16:23; 1 Cor. 1:4-8, 26-29; 7:18; 12:13).1
    10. His stay second only in length to his two to three years in Ephesus (19:10; 20:31).2
    11. This could mean that he stayed a year and a half longer. He had already been there a while. He might have spent two years in Corinth.

Close:

So, Paul steps out in faith, he continues to preach the Gospel and the Holy Spirit encourages him.

I read:

Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you. 

William Arthur Ward.

Remember as I began the message: The Holy Spirit will take you out of your comfort zone, but I also believe the Holy Spirit will be with you, encourage you and help you along the way.

The challenge: Follow Jesus and let the Holy Spirit encourage you.

But I believe the Spirit can and wants to use you to encourage someone else. I ask that you will send someone an encouraging note this week. At the beginning of this sermon I mentioned how I know of pastors who have an encouragement file, maybe you would benefit from an encouragement file as well. Maybe your job is real stressful and you receive a lot of discouragement. Consider noting encouraging things and saving them. I ask that you consider sending a note to that person who encourages you on the job, or as a parent or grandparent, but I also want to mention the person who built up your faith. Was there a time when your faith was shaky? Was there a time when you knew that God called you to something and you were struggling with it? Did someone encourage you to keep going? Send them a card or a letter and tell them thank you.

In my Bible I have a letter that I received as I finished my first year at this church. That letter is encouragement which I need.

Maybe within a few weeks many from this church will have encouraging letters from others and many of this church will have encouraged another in the Lord. The church can and must be used by the Holy Spirit in this way.

First do you know Jesus?

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

2 Toussaint, S. D. (1985). Acts. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 407). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Acts 18:1-4 sermon

Intro:

Does our job counter our Christian faith or go along with our faith? Is our faith part of our job? What do you think? Are you a Christian at work?

Listen to this:

Dr. Paul Brand was an orthopedic surgeon who chose his patients among the untouchable. With his wife, who was also a physician, he spent a lifetime working with the marred and useless limbs of leprosy victims. In fact, he transformed the way in which medicine approached the painful and often exiled world of the leper. Whereas the disfigurements of leprosy were once treated as irreversible consequences of the disease, Dr. Brand brought new hope to sufferers of leprosy by utilizing the body’s capacity to heal. “I have come to realize that every patient of mine, every newborn baby, in every cell of its body, has a basic knowledge of how to survive and how to heal that exceeds anything that I shall ever know,” wrote Brand. “That knowledge is the gift of God, who has made our bodies more perfectly than we could ever have devised.”

Philip Yancey was a young journalist when he first met this dignified British surgeon in an interview. He recalls the teary-eyed Brand speaking of his patients, describing their disease as if first hand—their unremitting suffering, experimental surgeries, and societal rejection. Many memorable conversations later, Yancey would recall the healing presence this physician was to his own crippled and weary belief in God. To Yancey, Brand represented faith and hope in action, in reality, amidst suffering and death; his belief in Christ caused him to live in a very particular way. Thus, Dr. Brand, who worked to restore the image of God in lives marred by disease, helped restore the face of God in the doubt-ridden world of a young author. As Yancey later would write, “You need only meet one saint to believe, to silence the noisy arguments of the world.”(1) Such lives are certain reminders that God is real and worthy to be followed.

Such lives also remind us that one of the key elements in considering the arguments of any truth claim is actually not an argument at all. Rather it is a question of pragmatics. Is this worldview livable? Can this philosophy be carried out? Stories of believers who are broken and persecuted but somehow beautifully alive with the hope of Christ suggest that Christianity is not only a livable worldview, but a worldview that gives meaning to life as it really is and not simply ideal pictures of life. Yet as Ravi Zacharias notes significantly, the Christian hope is not true because it is livable; it is livable because it is true. The message of Christ is a reality that can carry men and women through death and darkness; it is also a truth that compels being carried to the ends of the earth.

Now what do you think? That doctor was able to touch so many lives through his job as a doctor, but also through his faith. What about you?

We are going to look at a passage in which the Apostle Paul works a job. He takes up a job as a tentmaker and in so doing he still communicates the Gospel. I wish to look at Acts 18:1-4 and challenge all of us to be a witness in everything we do.

Read Acts 18:1-4:

After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.

  1. First application: I must considerate of high importance to work and work hard.
    1. As we look at this passage we notice that Paul got a job.
    2. Paul came to the booming city of Corinth and he got a job.
    3. Of course we do not need to look hard to see that Paul was a worker, we know he was.
  2. I am going to come back to the great idea that our whole lives are for service to God. Our first priority is to serve God at our job. First let’s look at the context.
    1. Notice that Paul has left Athens. I look at that and just wonder why he has left Athens. He had been in the Thessalonica before and we know he left there because of persecution. The text does not say why he left Athens. It just says that he does.
    2. It has been suggested that Paul left Athens because there was not a lot of ministry there. It seems that there were some conversions but not as many, so he moves on. (John MacArthur)
    3. Then Paul comes to Corinth. Corinth was 46 miles west of Athens and the most influential city in the province of Achaia, politically and economically. So Paul did some more traveling.
    4. Now, coming from Athens to Corinthians was like going to a Las Vegas from Washington D.C. Corinth was a major commerce city, but it had a lot of filth in it. Paul would stay there for a year and a half and there would be a lot of ministry there.
    5. To be called a Corinthian meant to be “immoral.” You did not want to be called a Corinthian women. John MacArthur writes:

In fact, the actual name Corinth became a common term. And “Corinthian” meant immoral.

If you said, “Joe over there is a Corinthian kind of guy, you meant he was immoral.” The name became synonymous with vice. To say that that woman is a Corinthian woman meant she was a prostitute, because that’s what the women did in Corinth. And the verb, to Corinthianize, meant to go a-whoring. That’s exactly what the common use of Corinthianize was.

Now, Corinth was vile to the very core. It wasn’t just the slaves or the middle class; it was the upper crust. The whole city was debased, and there were some reasons for that. It was the center of trade and travel, and sailors were going through it all the time, and caravans. And it was a fitting place for entertainment of lust.

The position of Corinth, which I just want to simply illustrate for you in a very brief way, is very interesting and put it in a position to be involved in many interesting things. This entire area in the gray or black represents the area of Greece. This is the northern part of Greece. This is the southern part of Greece.

Now, you’ll notice that the two parts are connected by a simple little strait there, and that’s only five miles wide, and it was precisely the center of that the city of Corinth existed some 50 miles from Athens. Now, Paul, all alone, finds himself in Corinth Now notice anybody at all from northern Greece to southern Greece, or vice versa, any north-south traffic, had to go through Corinth.

So the trade was constantly trafficking through city of Corinth. Another interesting thing is that it was called The Bridge of Greece, not only because of its north-south traffic, but because of its east-west traffic. Ships wanting to go, say, from the western shore of Greece to the eastern shore would not sail clear around. They would shortcut it through here.

6. So, that is where Paul is at. It seems that Paul was tired and depressed coming to Corinth. In fact, in 1 Cor. 1:2 he writes that he came to them in fear and weakness. So, it seems that he was lonely from traveling, he needed a friend. So, God gives him two good friends. Introduce Aquila and Priscilla.

  1. Verse 2 introduces this tentmaking couple and they had been banished from Rome.
    1. It appears that they were Jewish and it is likely believed that they were Christian already. Luke never tells of their conversion. It is also likely that Rome already had a church. By Romans chapter 1 tells of the world famous faith of the Roman church.
    2. By the way, Priscilla and Aquila were referenced in the rest of this chapter and in Romans 16:3; Acts 16:19 and 2 Tim. 4.
    3. So, let’s talk about this banishment from Rome. Why? How? Let me tell you what I found out, John MacArthur writes: Now, when they were in Rome, Aquilla and Pricilla and the other Jews, persecution broke out against the Jews. And Claudius shipped them all out. It’s interesting that before Claudius, Tiberius tried to do it. You know what he did? He took 4,000 Jews and sent them to a country that had the plague, hoping they’d all catch the plague and die. So they were unpopular.
    4. Following Tiberius, Claudius, in 39 A.D., banished all Jews from Rome altogether; every one of them had to go. Now we know a little about Claudius. And the reason we do is that about 70 years after the edict, it was written about 120 A.D., Suetonius wrote about Claudius. Suetonius was a historian, and he got all the information on Claudius, and he wrote about his life. And one of the statements that Suetonius makes in his life of Claudius is this: “As the Jews were indulging in constant riots – listen – at the instigation of Chrestus, Claudius banished them from Rome.”
    5. Now, Claudius unloaded all of the Jews because they were always having riots, and the riots were instigated by a person named Chrestus. Now, you know, you can go back in history until you’re blue in the face and never find anything about anyone in that area who fits the bill named Chrestus. But what is very interesting is that the Greek Chrestus is only one letter different than the Greek Christis, which is Christ. It’s only the difference between an I and an E. And what it seems to be indicating is this: That what caused Claudius to send all the Jews out was they were rioting over the issue of Christ, which indicated probably some missionaries had come there, and had proclaimed Christ again as always was done in the synagogue, and as always happened with Paul, right? A riot ensued, and the element they had accepted Jesus Christ as Messiah was set against the Jews that were unbelieving, and they threw the city into turmoil, and Claudius got uptight and kicked them all out of town. They were indulging in constant riots at the instigation of Chrestus. And you see, Suetonius thinks that Chrestus is some guy who lived then in Rome. And remember, he was writing 70 years later, so it’s easy to see how he could’ve made that simple error. They were probably rioting over the issue of Christ. And it seems to me that that kind of issue would preclude the fact there had to be Christ presented there. So therefore, there was the possibility of Aquilla and Pricilla being saved already. You see? And so they arrive over there in Corinth to ply their trade, and they’re already Christians.
    6. So, now Aquila and Priscilla have met Paul and Paul has met them and they are all Christians and they are tent makers and so they take up shop together.
    7. To be a tent maker means to be a leather maker, to work with leather. It is thought that in the Jewish synagogues they would sit near each other based off of occupation. So it appears that Paul is likely sitting near Aquila and Priscilla and they became friends. They were pew mates, as opposed to ship mates.
    8. By the way. Paul as a leather worker means that he was an artisan, he worked with his hands. This would be a job just above lower class, but below the upper class. He would be looked down upon by the upper class.
    9. So, another application: To work with your hands was considered low or base to upper class, yet Paul still did this. I must be humble in my work. I must be willing to do anything.
    10. Another application: Looking at other Scriptures we see that Paul did not wish to be a burden to anyone. I also must not be a burden to those whom I serve.
    11. In Acts 20:34 at Ephesus Paul said that his hands ministered to his own needs.
    12. In 1 Cor. 4:12 Paul references working and in 1 Cor. 9:14 he references working
    13. in 2 Cor. 11:7 Paul references preaching the Gospel without charge.
    14. In 2 Cor. 12:13 he writes about not becoming a burden to them.
    15. In 1 Thess. 2:9 he talks about working night and day.
    16. In 2 Thess. 3:8 Paul references paying for what they eat being a burden.
  2. Now, you know that Paul is now working so he cannot communicate the Gospel, right? Wrong.
    1. We see in verse 4 that he continues to reason with in the synagogues every week. That word reason means to have a dialogue.
    2. Then the Bible says that he was trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.
    3. Another application for us: Paul communicated the Gospel while working. I will not be too busy to be Gospel Centric and sharing the Message of hope with others.
    4. Final application: Paul witnessed to Jews and Greeks, I will share Jesus with all.

Some applications:

Let’s review and apply:

  1. I must considerate of high importance to work and work hard.
  2. To work with your hands was considered low or base to upper class, yet Paul still did this. I must be humble in my work. I must be willing to do anything.
  3. Looking at other Scriptures we see that Paul did not wish to be a burden to anyone. I also must not be a burden to those whom I serve.
  4. Paul communicated the Gospel while working. I will not be too busy to be Gospel Centric and sharing the Message of hope with others.
  5. Paul witnessed to Jews and Greeks, I will share Jesus with all.

Close:

I know a soccer coach who is a witness. He is a witness in multiple ways, but one of them as that he is always reading, he is always learning and students come into his office and they see his books and his Bibles and maybe he is even reading his Bible or listening to a podcast. So, students have asked him questions and he has struck up conversations about Christ. That is one way to be a witness at work. I know others who work at doctors offices and they are a witness by telling people they will pray for them. I know of doctors that have prayed with patients. Praise God.

So, the Apostle Paul worked and witnessed and so must we. Our Christian life is not separate from our work. There is no separation from the sacred and the secular.

Do you know Jesus?

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray