“Don’t be silent!”
Church Extended – Message 5
May 9, 2021
I. Introduction (Acts 18:1-3): Continuing survey of Acts called, Church Extended.
• C/R: 1 Corinthians 2:3; Romans 16:3-4
A. Today’s message is entitled, “Don’t be silent!”
II. God calls us to…
- Theme verse: Acts 18:9 (NLT)—One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, “Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent!”
- Acts 18:1 (NLT)—Then Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. [Which replaced Athens as the leading political and commercial center in Greece.]
- Corinth was a cosmopolitan trade center, with a largely unsettled population composed of sailors, businessmen and government officials who traveled frequently.
- The city was marked by immorality, influenced by the presence of one thousand priestesses of the temple of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, who were ritual prostitutes.
- As he arrived in Corinth alone, Paul was likely discouraged after being driven from Thessalonica and Berea, then experiencing only a limited response in Athens; now he would face this large, immoral city by himself.
- Paul later wrote to the Corinthians, I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. [1 Corinthians 2:3] which revealed his state of mind.
- God knew Paul needed someone to offer encouragement and to help carry the burden of facing continual opposition, so He sent a couple.
- Acts 18:1-3 (NLT)—2There [Corinth] he became acquainted with a Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently arrived from Italy with his wife, Priscilla. They had left Italy when Claudius Caesar deported all Jews from Rome. [Likely because of disturbances in the Jewish community by the preaching of Christ.] 3Paul lived and worked with them, for they were tentmakers [lit., leather workers] just as he was.
- God sent Paul new acquaintances, who became friends and partners in business and spreading the Good News; in fact, they later risked their lives for him. (Romans 16:3-4)
- God called Aquila and Pricilla to Corinth to carry out His Gospel purpose for them.
A. #1 - Communicate with interested people. (Acts 18:4-8. C/R: Matthew 10:14-15; Colossians 4:5-6; Hebrews 9:26-28; 1 Peter 3:14-16)
- Acts 18:4-5a (NLT)—4Each Sabbath found Paul at the synagogue, trying to convince the Jews and Greeks alike. [preaching and discussions] 5aAnd after Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul spent all his time preaching the word. [Because of gifts from the Macedonians brought by Silas and Timothy; 2 Corinthians 11:9; Philippians 4:15-16]
- Acts 18:5b-6 (NLT)—5b He testified to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. [from Old Testament] 6But when they opposed and insulted him, Paul shook the dust from his clothes [Jewish gesture of rejection] and said, “Your blood is upon your own heads—I am innocent. From now on I will go preach to the Gentiles.” [Matthew 10:14-15; Mark 6:11; Luke 9:5]
- Paul declared that these Jewish opponents were responsible to God for their actions.
- The rejection of Jesus has serious consequences on earth, but much more severe and long-lasting consequences after this life ends and judgment occurs. [Hebrews 9:27-28]
- Paul redirected his efforts toward those God had called him to reach. [Acts 9:15]
- Acts 18:7-8 (NLT)—7Then he left and went to the home of Titius Justus, a [Roman] Gentile who worshiped God and lived next door to the synagogue. [Remained close by the Jews] 8Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, and everyone in his household believed in the Lord. [all Jews or converts] Many others in Corinth also heard Paul, became believers, and were baptized. [Which alarmed and enraged some Jews!]
- Paul’s initial from welcoming Gentile’s house, he received a very positive response.
- When telling your faith story, look for people who are interested, which may indicate that the Holy Spirit is preparing their minds and hearts to hear, understand, and believe.
- We desire to reach our families and friends, but if they’re resistant, pray! [Matthew 13:57]
- ILL.: I have knocked on the doors of strangers, talked to people on the beach, witnessed to many disinterested people in my younger days, usually because I had to “prove” I had the courage to face rejection—but those efforts did not produce results.
- Now, if God tells you to witness to disinterested people, then do it, because God has a plan you may not be aware of. [Ex.: People preaching downtown in Bergamo Plaza (One City Plaza) seemed fruitless, but what if God sent someone there to hear?]
- APP.: Whom has God prepared to hear your faith story?
God calls us to…
B. #2 - Count on God for protection. (Acts 18:9-17. C/R: Luke 12:11-12; Romans 8:28; 2 Timothy 1:7-8; 4:16-18)
- It appears that the many converts in Corinth, both Jewish and Gentile, caused increasing difficulties, and perhaps even danger, for Paul.
- Paul may have been struggling about whether to stop preaching and leave Corinth.
- God spoke to Paul during this crucial time. (Did so five other important times.)
- Acts 18:9-10 (NLT)—9One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, “Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent! 10For I am with you, and no one will attack and harm you, for many people in this city belong to Me.” [Not saved, will be.]
- God directed Paul to continue preaching in Corinth, assured that He would be safe and informed many more people would respond. (2 Timothy 4:16-18; Luke 12:11-12; 2 Timothy 1:7-8)
- Acts 18:11 (NLT)—So Paul stayed there for the next year and a half, teaching the word of God. [Comforted and reassured by God personally through the vision.]
- APP.: Are you in need of comfort and assurance to pursue God’s plan? (Romans 8:28)
- Paul’s Jewish opponents, frustrated by Jews turning to faith in Jesus Christ, tried to get the Roman authorities to stop Paul’s preaching.
- Acts 18:12-13 (NLT)—12But when Gallio became governor [proconsul] of Achaia, some Jews rose up together against Paul and brought him before the governor for judgment. [Judgment seat on a raised stone platform in the marketplace.] 13They accused Paul of “persuading people to worship God in ways that are contrary to our law.” [Roman]
- The Romans tolerated Christianity because it was viewed as a sect of Judaism.
- This accusation was an attempt to have Gallio forbid Paul’s preaching, which would likely have resulted in Christianity being banned throughout the Roman Empire.
- Acts 18:14-16 (NLT)—14But just as Paul started to make his defense, Gallio turned to Paul’s accusers and said, “Listen, you Jews, if this were a case involving some wrongdoing or a serious crime, I would have a reason to accept your case. 15But since it is merely a question of words and names and your Jewish law, take care of it yourselves. I refuse to judge such matters.” 16And he threw them out of the courtroom.
- God intervened! This ruling set the precedent for Romans refusing to prevent Christian preaching throughout the Empire. [God can turn a pagan ruler’s heart; Proverbs 21:1]
- APP.: Do you need for God to intervene for you with someone you do not control?
- These Jews were frustrated; they took their anger out on the new synagogue leader.
- Acts 18:17 (NLT)—The crowd then grabbed Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and beat him right there in the courtroom [lit., judgment seat]. But Gallio paid no attention. [Sosthenes failed to convince Gallio; He became a Christian; 1 Corinthians 1:1.]
- Acts 18:19-23 tells us Paul left Corinth and set sail for Syria with Priscilla and Aquila, after reaching Ephesus he left Priscilla and Aquila there, then sailed to Caesarea to visit the churches in Jerusalem and Antioch (completed 2nd missionary journey, lasted 3 years, AD 51-54, traveled 2700 miles, 1,290 by sea, 1,410 by land; Acts 15:36-18:22)
- Paul then traveled to Galatia and Phrygia on his 3rd missionary journey. (Acts 18:23)
God calls us to…
C. #3 - Clarify God’s way. (Acts 18:24-28; C/R: Ephesians 4:11-15; 2 Timothy 2:2; 3:16-17; Hebrews 5:11-12)
- Acts 18:24-25a (NLT)—24Meanwhile, a Jew named Apollos, an eloquent speaker who knew the Scriptures well, had arrived in Ephesus from Alexandria in Egypt. [Had a large Jewish population.] 25aHe had been taught the way of the Lord,…
- The way of the Lord refers to spiritual and moral standards of God.
- Acts 18:25b (NLT)—…and he taught others about Jesus [from the Old Testament] with an enthusiastic spirit and with accuracy.
- Apollos was a knowledgeable, passionate, compelling, preacher from the Old Testament; but his grasp, his comprehension, of the Gospel was incomplete.
- Acts 18:25c (NLT)—However, he knew only about John’s baptism. [Luke 1:16-17]
- This likely means that Apollos preached repentance and preparation for the Messiah.
- Apparently, he believed that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah, but did not understand the significance of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
- He was likely a redeemed Old Testament believer, who had not yet received the Spirit.
- Acts 18:26 (NLT)—When Priscilla and Aquila heard him preaching boldly in the synagogue, they took him aside and explained the way of God even more accurately.
- This couple spoke to Apollos privately, to explain the truth concerning Jesus’ atoning death and resurrection and the presence and function of the Spirit. [Ephesians 4:11-15]
- After receiving this clarification of the gospel, Apollos was eager to continue his ministry by sailing across the Aegean Sea to Achaia, specifically to its capital, Corinth.
- Acts 18:27-28 (NLT)—27Apollos had been thinking about going to Achaia, and the brothers and sisters in Ephesus encouraged him to go. They wrote to the believers in Achaia, asking them to welcome him. When he arrived there, he proved to be of great benefit to those who, by God’s grace, had believed. 28He refuted the Jews with powerful arguments in public debate. Using the Scriptures, he explained to them that Jesus was the Messiah. [He greatly benefitted from Priscilla and Aquila’s teaching.]
- APP.: Who helped you grow by clarifying God’s way for you? Who have you helped?
- EX.: My mother and her bible were never silent! (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 5:11-12)
Memory verse: 2 Timothy 2:2 (NLT)—You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.