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Acts Part 29: Do Not Be Silent

Acts 18:1-23 NIV

18 After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.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 Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.

When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. But when they 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 innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”

Paul the Tentmaker

  1. Paul arrived alone in Corinth, with “much fear and trembling” (1 Cor. 2:2-3). Paul had been beaten and/or reviled in every place he’s gone since following the Spirit’s leading to preach in Macedonia. Though he may have arrived there physically and morally dejected, Corinth would be the place where Paul would spend a very fruitful 18 months of ministry (v. 11).
  2. By God’s grace, Paul connected to fellow believers and transplants, Priscilla and Aquila. In this godly couple, he found spiritual strength as well as a material opportunity (Rom. 16:3-4).
  3. Paul was a tentmaker by trade, and was willing and able to support himself materially as needed (20:33-35; 1 Cor. 9:7-18). Only when Silas and Timothy came with a financial gift from the Philippian church, could Paul devote himself to preaching (2 Corinthians 11:5-10).
  4. As we have seen before, Paul made it his habit to minister in the synagogues. And like before, they also scorned and rejected him (cf. 133:44-49; Ex. 33:7-9). The Jews who rejected his word did so to their own harm and eternal loss, but Paul had to preach to them regardless (John 3:36).

Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God.Crispus, the synagogue leader, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard Paul believed and were baptized.

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.” 11 So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.

A Persevering Church

  1. Having been rejected at the synagogue, Paul and his company began meeting at the house of a Gentile believer names Titius Justus. Ironically, one of the synagogue rulers, Crispus, made the move with Paul as he and his family and were baptized.
  2. Stilll battling doubt and discouragement, the Lord strengthened Paul, and in a vision encouraged him to continue preaching (1 Ki. 19:13-18; 2 Ki. 6:16-18)).

12 While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews of Corinth made a united attack on Paul and brought him to the place of judgment. 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 them, “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 drove them off. 17 Then the crowd there turned on Sosthenes the synagogue leader and beat him in front of the proconsul; and Gallio showed no concern whatever.

18 Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sisters and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off at Cenchreae because of a vow he had taken. 19 They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined.21 But as he left, he promised, “I will come back if it is God’s will.” Then he set sail from Ephesus. 22 When he landed at Caesarea, he went up to Jerusalem and greeted the church and then went down to Antioch.

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.

A Persevering Life

  1. As before, a league of Jews attempted to drive Paul out of the city, but Paul withstood their pressure and remained in Corinth. And, in a reversal of fortunes, the crowds turned on the synagogue rule, Sosthenes, and beat him (1 Cor. 1:1).
  2. Paul made his way back to Antioch, victorious in Christ, strengthening all the disciples!