Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Acts 18 – Tentmakers and Watchmen

Acts 18    

Ministering at Corinth

 1 After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. 2 And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them. 3 So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers. 4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.

[Relocated to Corinth (capital of Achaia known for sexual immorality [Aphrodite])

Joined to fellow tentmakers – exiles from Rome

Worked to sustain himself, while witnessing in the synagogue]

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."

[support from Philippi – gift brought by Silas and Timothy, later commended by Paul

Full time opportunity – with the gift his living expenses were provided

Final warning of the "watchman"

Ezekiel 33:
4 then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head.]


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.

[As we discussed previously Paul declaring "I will go to the gentiles" did not exclude the Jews from salvation, it just meant they were less of an opportunity for the gospel right now. But God is still sovereign, and just by coincidence Justus who takes Paul in, lives next to the synagogue giving Paul a continued opportunity with Crispus so that he also will trust in Christ. Crispus and many others were saved during this time.]

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.

[It seems everywhere Paul he went he was chased out of town by a mob led by the unbelieving Jews that Satan would turn to oppose the gospel. But here God allows Paul to stay in one place for 18 months and grow a very strong church by the Holy Spirit.]

12 When Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him to the judgment seat, 13 saying, "This fellow persuades men to worship God contrary to the law."
14 And when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, "If it were a matter of wrongdoing or wicked crimes, O Jews, there would be reason why I should bear with you. 15 But if it is a question of words and names and your own law, look to it yourselves; for I do not want to be a judge of such matters." 16 And he drove them from the judgment seat. 17 Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. But Gallio took no notice of these things.

[Here you see the providence of God's protection, when the unbelievers tried to make the same old argument that faith in Jesus, was somehow a threat to Roman law, Gallio sends them away before Paul can even offer a defense. The Greeks though were tired of this abuse of civil authority and make a mob of their own to attack Sosthenes the current ruler of the synagogue. 1 Corinthians 1:1 tells us that Sosthenes even trusted in Jesus. Amazingly Gallio's statement in verse 15 contains a summary of the Gospel. "It is a question of words" (Jesus the word become flesh), "names" (Jesus is the name above all names and the only name by which man can be saved), and "law" (by the law we were all condemned, but by grace we are saved).]

Paul Returns to Antioch

18 So Paul still remained a good while. Then he took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria, and Priscilla and Aquila were with him. He had his hair cut off at Cenchrea, for he had taken a vow. 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 stay a longer time with them, he did not consent, 21 but took leave of them, saying, "I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, God willing." And he sailed from Ephesus.
22 And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up and greeted the church, he went down to Antioch. 23 After he had spent some time there, he departed and went over the region of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.

[So Paul begins to make his way home. First he goes to Cenchrea and got a haircut so he would look good when he got home. Really he had apparently taken a vow to God symbolized by letting his hair grow like a Nazarite vow, possibly related to his long term mission at Corinth. He sails from Cenchrea to Ephesus with his two disciples, does some quick evangelism in the synagogue, gets a church going then leaves Aquila Priscilla there to minister in his absence. If you remember Paul was headed to Ephesus (Asia) earlier in the journey but was redirected by the Holy Spirit to Macedonia.


From there he sails to Caesarea so he can be back in Jerusalem for the next feast. He visits the church at Jerusalem, before returning to Antioch. In a short time he was back in the churches in Galatia and Phrygia where he had started his second missionary journey probably 3 years back.]

Ministry of Apollos

24 Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. 25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. 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.

[We see here how the work continued in Ephesus. A disciple of John the Baptist had believed that Jesus was the Christ but somehow had not been in contact with the Apostles or the church at Jerusalem. But he makes his was to Ephesus and is there persuading the Jews with the Old Testament. Aquila and Priscilla hear his preaching; take him aside and disciple him teaching the Way of the Lord and the Apostles doctrine, so he can more effectively witness to Jews and Greeks. Achaia is the province containing Athens and Corinth. He continues his travels now working with the other believers in the church, trained and connected (references from Aquila and Priscilla) to be even more useful in building the Kingdom of God.]

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