And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24.27
This week’s video is presentation 16 in our study of Acts. In this video we review the ongoing work of Christ up to Acts 18, and consider the stages by which that work proceeds. You can view it by clicking here (scroll down to Lesson 16).
Read and meditate on Acts 18.1-4.
Paul’s strategy in Corinth marks a change in his approach to launching the ongoing work of Christ. Why did he decide to settle in with this man and woman and take up a “day job” in Corinth? Well, we don’t know, but we can assume the Lord was leading him in this way, as will be confirmed in v. 9.
1. Paul’s ministry plans were neither so specific nor concrete that he could not be open to the Lord’s leading in some new way. Paul was not run out of town in Athens, but he decided he’d done as much there as possible or necessary. We’ve seen Paul launch the ongoing work of Christ in Athens. Now the church there needed to be established. Based on what we’ve seen thus far in Acts, what steps would you have taken to ensure the ongoing work of Christ became established in Athens?
2. It’s possible that Aquila and Priscilla were already believers at this point, given what we learn about the depths of their knowledge of the Gospel in vv. 24ff, as well as the readiness with which they received Paul. Had they been in Jerusalem on that first Pentecost? Or learned the Good News while they were still in Rome from someone who had been there? We don’t know. What do we learn from their example about encouraging one another in the ongoing work of Christ?
3. Paul took up with them and joined in their trade to support his work. This will continue for 18 months, as we shall see – leaving Paul not a little peeved with the Corinthians, who never seem to have understood about their obligation to the one who was ministering God’s Word to them (cf. 1 Cor. 9.1-12). Paul continued his ministry in the synagogue week by week, and wherever else he could meet people to reason with them, as time permitted. He would have been known as a tent-maker first and an evangelist second. How do you suppose this must have affected Paul’s work as a tent-maker?
4. Tent-making – bi-vocational work – is a reasonable option for Christians called to the ministry of the Word. But the fact that a man has other employment to support him in his ministry, does not excuse those who are served by his labors from helping to meet his needs (Gal. 6.6). And the fact that others may have their work in some full-time occupation other than proclaiming the Word, does not excuse them from being witnesses for the Lord (Acts 1.8). How should we envision the combined witness of church members and church leaders as it comes to expression in a local community? Is this what you see in your church?
5. Besides material support, what is the responsibility of a congregation of God’s people in caring for those who minister the Word to them? What is a pastor’s responsibility in leading His people into the ongoing work of the Kingdom?
Paul was committed to doing whatever was necessary to keep the ongoing work of Christ going forward (1 Cor. 9.19-23). The Corinthians – except for Priscilla and Aquila – were neither very hospitable nor generous where Paul was concerned. From his two epistles, we learn that they seem to have been a fairly immature, contentious, and self-centered lot. But God kept Paul there for 18 months (v. 11). Why? How should this encourage us in our witness for the Lord?
Let my cry come before You, O LORD;
Give me understanding according to Your word.
Let my supplication come before You;
Deliver me according to Your word.
My lips shall utter praise,
For You teach me Your statutes.
My tongue shall speak of Your word,
For all Your commandments are righteousness.
Let Your hand become my help,
For I have chosen Your precepts.
I long for Your salvation, O LORD,
And Your law is my delight.
Let my soul live, and it shall praise You;
And let Your judgments help me.
T. M. Moore
Each week’s studies in Acts are bound together into a free PDF that you can download for personal or group use (click here). Each week also features a video related to the studies of the week, which you may find helpful as you work through our studies in Acts.
Acts is the record of Christ’s ongoing work as King and Lord. This is the work of bringing the Kingdom of God to earth as it is in heaven. Read more about the implications of this work in our new book, The Kingdom Turn (click here).
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