Acts 18: 1-11Written by kathleen on Nov 01, 2015 in - No Comments
Acts 18: 1-11
When Halfway Is Not Enough
How many times have you started something get half way there and then you become discouraged and want to quit or give up. And then when you step away and see what has been done you realize Halfway is not enough; but you’re not sure how to keep going or if you even want to.
Paul was emotionally discouraged coming into Corinth!
According to legend, the devil held a yard sale and advertised his tools for sale. When a prospective buyer came around, there was one oddly shaped tool, which was labeled “Not for sale.” Asked to explain why this was, the devil answered, “I can spare my other tools, but I cannot spare this one. It is the most useful implement that I have; with it I can work my way into hearts otherwise inaccessible.
When I get this tool into a person’s heart, give it a little twist, immediately the way is open to plant anything there I may desire.” So the man asked would you tell me the name of this tool? Sure with a grin and a chuckle; the devil answered; It’s called Discouragement,
If there is one thing that is constant it is that we all are subject to discouragement. There is no shortage of discouragements to those who are following the Lord.
The Bible is full of men and women of God who at times became discouraged; just as you and I can get discouraged from time to time.
In the first part of this chapter we will look at three deceptions that can contribute to discouragement in life and in the ministry.
Then we will look at three encouragements to keep us going for the Lord.
First discouragement The size of the Work. Paul is coming to the largest and most wicked city in Greece. And sitting high above the city of Corinth is the temple of Aphrodite, the goddess of love which held great influence in the city. Population was estimated at 90,000 people.
In those days the reputation of the city was so bad that those in other cities that were considered wicked and involved in sexual immorality were called Corinthians as a way to put them down socially.
With just that influence alone and the amount of work to be done concerning the presentation of gospel was overwhelming and perhaps and even discouraging to Paul. (We will see why in a few verses ahead)
Second discouragement The little apparent Success of the Work. It has been said that it is only required of us to be faithful and the success is up to God and that is true, but we all like to see growth and success in the work of the Lord.
And while Paul has seen some success; he has been run out of every place he has been and even left for dead. While he has seen some come to the Lord he still sees masses of people (family and friends) rejecting the truth and that can be discouraging.
Third discouragement The Loneliness of the Work. Paul has had to do a lot of the work alone or with just one or two at his side.
He had seen fellow believers in the ministry walk away. He was sent away for his own physical protection. And this continued until he went to Heaven.
You would think more people might have joined him or gotten involved and more would be excited and more would re-prioritize their lives because of their salvation and the opportunity to be joined in his ministry.
If you are one who has been trying to put Jesus first in you’re life by serving and being involved in what and where God is working and wanting to join him there;
It can seem at times like it is a lonely path that can bring you to the deception of discouragement as you see the size of the work, the hardships of the ministry, and the sometimes small results.
While the devil is being active in trying to discourage us, God is at work to encourage us.
While the devil is trying to drag us down, God is there lifting us up. While the devil aims at getting us to quit, God is there encouraging us to keep up the good fight.
“Three Encouragements to Keep Going.”
First The Partnership Of Friends-
1 After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 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 the Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, 3 and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them.
4 Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.
5 When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ
One of the greatest God given encouragements are friends and especially when you’re partnered in ministry.
Remember Silas and Timothy are still in Macedonia. So God knew that Paul needed someone to help him handle the burdens of the work. So what does God do?
He stirs up a little trouble in Rome and puts it on the heart of the Roman Emperor Claudius to expel all Jews from Rome.
Given eviction papers Aqulia and his wife Priscilla come to Corinth and set up a tent making business in Corinth.
Paul just so happened to be a tentmaker and just happened to come across them so he began to work with Aquila and Priscilla in their business.
This gave him the funds for his support so that he could go into the synagogue every Sabbath and reason for Jesus Christ.
The result was Aquila and Priscilla became great friends.
Then God sent Silas and Timothy from Macedonia to Corinth to reunite with Paul. So God has not only blessed Paul with two new friends but brought back to him two old friends. Their return must have greatly encouraged Paul.
As a Christian we should always stand for what is right even if you have to stand-alone. But it is a whole lot easier to stand for what is right against the pressure of opposition if there are those who will support, strengthen and stand with you.
God puts friends in our path and in our life at just the right time who will encourage us in life and in the work of the Lord; even with just a word of encouragement or a helping hand to keep going forward. We can also be that friend if we allow God to use us!
Second way to be encouraged is focus on what God has done!
6 But when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
7 Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God.
8 Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.
We can either dwell on the situations and all the struggles and opposition and be discouraged and upset; or we can be encouraged by looking at what God has done!
Phil 4:8-9 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
The old saying “garbage in, garbage out” will work here. .as your focus changes God’s peace will replace any discouragement or depression!
So much of the walk of a Christian comes down to the mind and what is processed with thoughts that lead to words and actions;
Romans 12:2 speaks of this process the Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will
What we choose to meditate or focus on matters; If you’ve been thinking thoughts that are not true and honest and lovely and good and pure.
If you’re waking up grumpy or if you are prone to get discouraged or depressed; you’ve had some wrong input; and if that’s the case don’t be surprised if you wake up with a skewed and tainted perspective about life.
Instead, fill your mind with the goodness of God and His Word by applying 2 Cor 10:5 We are to demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
The third way to be encouraged is focus on the Promises of God-
9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.
10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.”
While it is true that friends encourage us; and the results of what God has done encourages and comforts us; the greatest encouragement of all is the Lord himself!
One day your Aqulia and Priscilla may not be there. Silas and Timothy may not be able to show up.
There may be no one there at all
Do not allow fear to keep you silent; don’t be afraid to speak up because God has given you His promise of His Presence!
Paul is told by God; I got your back, I am with you! “Don’t give up there are people who have not yet heard.”
These words of course are spoken to Paul but they have application to us today. We cannot quit. There is too much at stake. There are still those who have not heard!
It was these fulfilled promises he received in Corinth that allowed him to later write 1 Cor 15:58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain
The promise of verse ten, that “no one will attack you to hurt you,” is given Paul because of his fear of encounters after preaching the gospel. But in his trial before Gallio things would turn out different
God is saying, Litterly “For I myself will be with you.” Jesus said, “I AM the way the truth and the life,” “I AM the bread of life,” “I AM the light of the world.”
When we understand and can grasp that, “I AM with you” Litterly means God in the person of the Holy Spirit is with us discouragement and depression will leave and we will be encouraged
It is the same thing that God told Joshua in Deut. 31:6, “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”
We need to be reminded from time to time to keep our eyes on the Lord and not on the things going on around us.
For it is not just a promise of presence, and protection, but a promise of power. God said, “For I have many people in this city.”
It meant that there were those who were lost who will under the power of the Holy Spirit through the preaching of Paul will come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.
11 So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.
Friends are great encouragers and results are encouraging; but when God comes to you and promises his presence, protection, and power, which He has; you, have every reason to keep on going forward.
Because Halfway is not enough!