Acts 18: 12-28Written by kathleen on Nov 08, 2015 in - No Comments
On the Road again
When texting was first being introduced I came across a group of letters that took a while to make sense of what they were: PBPWMGINFWMY. These jumbled letters stood for, “Please be patient with me; God is not finished with me yet.”
If we all could keep that in mind; that we are all people in process! We all come from a variety of backgrounds and we each have different spiritual gifts; and different experiences with the Lord and that we’re all at different places in our walk with the Lord.
This part of the chapter is going to begin to move away from the focus on Paul for a moment and look at both the result of what God has done through his ministry and focus some on the people that have become followers of Jesus.
Let’s see how this process plays out in these next verses:
5 When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ. 6 But when they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them, “Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” 7 And he departed from there and entered the house of a certain man named Justus, one who worshiped God, whose house was next door to the synagogue. 8 Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized.
9 Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.”
11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
Enjoying the peace & resting
12 While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him into court. 13 “This man,” they charged, “is persuading the people to worship God in ways contrary to the law.”
14 Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to the Jews, “If you Jews were making a complaint about some misdemeanor or serious crime, it would be reasonable for me to listen to you.
15 But since it involves questions about words and names and your own law — settle the matter yourselves. I will not be a judge of such things.”
16 So he had them ejected from the court.
Gallio said. “This is not a question of civil judgment,” “It’s a religious matter for you Jews to figure out among yourselves.”
17 Then they all turned on Sosthenes the synagogue ruler and beat him in front of the court. But Gallio showed no concern whatever. Sosthenes is the man who replaced Crispus as chief ruler of the synagogue after Crispus got saved.
Whether it was the Jews who took Sosthenes because he didn’t argue their case persuasively or whether the Greeks took him because he was bugging them about things that didn’t concern them Sosthenes was beaten. Later on, in 1 Corinthians 1 Paul greets Sosthenes. Apparently Sosthenes became a believer himself,
Like Sosthenes, people are often brought to salvation when they get beat up. If someone you care about is in the process of being beaten, don’t try to protect him or her because oftentimes it is through that very process that people finally see their need of the Lord. If you are being beaten up presently, take heart. Blessing will follow, if, like Sosthenes, you allow the beating to draw you closer to Jesus.
18 Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off at Cenchrea because of a vow he had taken.
While in Corinth Paul worked for Aquila and Priscilla when he made tents. He worked on Aquila and Priscilla by giving them the gospel. He worked with Aquila and Priscilla as they headed for Ephesus together.
This sets up a pattern of a continuing process that God is working in all of us, and is called discipleship
When Paul left Corinth on his way to Jerusalem, he got a haircut. It seems he had taken a Nazarite vow; possibly to touch no grapes, drink no wine, touch no dead body, and to allow his hair to grow before cutting it off as a sign of purification as described in Numbers 6
VOW= a solemn promise, pledge, or personal commitment made to a deity or saint committing oneself to an act, service, or condition.
Paul understood and preached freedom from the law but for him personally at this time he chose to observe a special time with the Lord by entering into a Nazarite vow as a form of worship similar to when we fast for a situation.
Everywhere he went, even when he was in transition, Paul took advantage of opportunities to preach the gospel, especially to the Jews.
So when he was passing through Ephesus, he went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews; again not because he was under the law, but because he was filled with love for his people
19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there; but he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined.
Paul’s desire was to keep the coming feast in Jerusalem
21 But as he left, he promised, “I will come back if it is God’s will.” Then he set sail from Ephesus.
22 And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up and greeted the church, he went down to Antioch.
The apostle tells us in James 4:13-16 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
God has a special timing for everything in our lives. Our times have been appointed by God. There are seasons and times for every purpose and it is always exciting when you come to one of those special times that God has appointed for work in your life.
Landing at Caesarea, and going through Jerusalem, Paul went up to Jerusalem and greeted the church, and fulfilled his Nazirite vow in the temple Paul then returns to his home church at Antioch of Syria, concluding his second missionary journey.
Beginning of third journey begins in the regions of Galatia, Phyrgia, and the city of Ephesus.
Paul wanted to preach in Ephesus some two years earlier, but was prevented by the Holy Spirit (Acts 16:6). Now, the Holy Spirit gives him the opportunity to minister in this important city, and great results will be seen.
If Paul could have discerned it, the Holy Spirit was really saying, “wait” when he wanted to go to Ephesus, instead of “no.” Sometimes God says, “Wait” and He always knows what He’s doing when He says it!
23 After spending some time in Antioch, Paul set out from there and traveled from place to place throughout the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.
Strengthening all the disciples was important to Paul. If he were right here among us, he would want to know: “How strong of a disciple are you? What can I do to strengthen your walk with the Lord?” He would remind us all that it isn’t enough to make a strong beginning with Jesus, but we must be always getting stronger.
24 Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures.
Alexandria was the second largest city in the Roman Empire. One-third of the city was Jewish. It was a city of intellectual wealth and was the Capital of Egypt from 330 B.C.
Founded by Alexander the Great An outstanding Greek cultural and academic center Contained the finest library of seven hundred thousand volumes.
Apollos was a man mighty in the Scriptures and eloquent in speech, and hailed from the city of Alexandria.
25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor (bubbling over with enthusiasm.”) and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John.
Apollos had never heard about the death of Jesus Christ nor of His Resurrection from the dead. All he knew at this point was what John the Baptist preached. That is, “Repent, Messiah is coming.” Although there was a huge gap in his understanding, Apollos was commended for sharing what little he did know.
26 He 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.
27 And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace; 28 for he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ.
Aquila and Priscilla could have said, “We’re beyond this synagogue stuff. We’re more advanced than this,” but they didn’t. You see, even though Aquila and Priscilla were Christians, they went back into the synagogue to see what the Lord would have them do there—not to be ministered unto, but to minister to others.
When they heard what Apollos was saying; they didn’t interrupt the service, but they privately shared with him the message of the gospel. (example for us whenever we find ourselves in that position)
Aquila and Priscilla were there with hearts to serve in humility and Apollos was humbly teachable. After all, he could have said,
“Who are you, you tentmakers? I am a man mighty in the Scriptures, eloquent of speech, fervent of spirit. But that wasn’t his heart.
Apollos shared what he had, and the Lord sent Aquila and Priscilla to give him more.
God will give you opportunity to minister tomorrow if you choose to take it!
And when it happens, you can either say, “I’m not a pastor. I don’t have a lot of knowledge theologically. I don’t know that much about the Bible, so I won’t say anything,”
—or you can be a Priscilla or an Aquila and say, “I may not be a pastor or a theologian, but I know more than this person, so I’m going to speak up!
So it’s time to hit the road again and enjoy what the Lord has for you this week! (Don’t be discouraged)