Having arrived in Corinth from Athens Paul sorted out some accommodation (with Aquila & Priscilla); got himself a job to earn some money (tent making); then spent his spare time preaching that “Jesus was the Christ” in the local synagogue. Until that is the Jews turned on him and he was forced to move next door, only for the opposition to intensify, as the leader of the synagogue, his family, and a number of others became Christians.
Points to Ponder.
Give thanks for those who exercise “tent making” ministries.
Our responsibility is to preach the Gospel that “Jesus is the Christ.” We are not responsible for the response of the hearers. If it is rejection, then we are to move on.
Opposition is a sign that God is at work and that his church is alive.
However, in the light of such intense opposition it would seem that Paul was considering leaving Corinth, until that is God spoke directly to him in a vision and said – “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” Upon receiving such assurance Paul’s resolved to stay a further 18 months in Corinth. The words of the vision can be divided as follows:-
1 – God’s Prohibitions.
Do not be afraid.
Paul had arrived in Corinth in fear and trembling (1 Corinthians 2 v 3) determined to preach only “Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2 v 2); so God reassured him with words that had been spoken to many others over the years such as – Abraham (Genesis 15 v 1); Mary (Luke 1 v 30); and Simon Peter (Luke 5 v 10.)
Do not be silent.
He was not to be gagged, but to keep on gossiping the Gospel both formally (preaching) and informally (conversation.)
2 – God’s Promises.
“For I am with you;” because “Immanuel” (Matthew 1 v 23), would live up to his name, especially when it came to evangelism (Matthew 28 v 20.)
“For no one is going to attack or harm you,” A promise that was immediately fulfilled by the protection given to Paul by Gallio the proconsul.
Point to Ponder – When it comes to evangelism we are not to be fearful or silent because God will be with us to protect us.
3 – God’s Purpose.
The reason for Paul not to be fearful and silent and why he would experience God’s presence and protection now becomes clear as God declares his purpose – “Because I have many people in this city.” God had set apart many Gentiles for salvation (Divine sovereignty) but he needed Paul to remain in the city and preach the Gospel (human responsibility.)
Point to Ponder – That God has many people in our town that he wants reached with his Gospel message.
Theme: “Encouragement of Evangelism”
Reading: Acts 18 vs. 1-18
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Chris Hughes