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 18.5-11.
We note that to the Jews Paul preached “Christ” then “Jesus” (the order of words in v. 5 in the Greek). Whereas to Gentiles the message was often the reverse. Think about it: Why does this make sense?
1. The Jews in Corinth seem to have been a bit more cosmopolitan than in Macedonia. They opposed and reviled Paul, but they didn’t whip up a mob and try to stone him. Yet. Paul knew when he’d worn out his welcome, but he didn’t leave off teaching at the synagogue without a word of warning about the judgment of God. We saw this same word in his message in Athens. Should our presentation of the Gospel include such a warning? Explain.
2. Paul determined to go among the Gentiles in Corinth, and to symbolize that, he changed his residence. This is not a slight to Aquila and Priscilla; rather, it was a tactical move. Having left the synagogue, where he had a platform for speaking about Jesus, he needed a place to meet with Gentiles, and so the home of a Gentile was a more likely venue than that of a Jewish couple. Should churches teach their members to use their homes as a venue for evangelizing neighbors? Why or why not?
3. This was a good move – conveniently enough – since Justus’ home was right next to the synagogue (in case any Jews might want to wander in). Paul’s leaving shocked the Jewish community, as the ruler – the chief elder – of their synagogue, Crispus, went with him, perhaps provoking the further action by the Jews, which we will see in the next section. Paul and Silas arrived from Macedonia, and the team was back to full strength. What can you find out about Corinth in Paul’s day which might help you understand why the Lord wanted him to stay there for so long?
4. Many began coming to faith. Paul doubtless began to worry about this, given what had happened in previous cities. But the Lord Jesus appeared to Paul to encourage him in his ministry, which would continue in Corinth for a year and a half. Note the Lord’s commands: Fear not, stay put, speak on, don’t worry. How would you translate these instructions into your own witness in your Personal Mission Field? What promise can you claim (v. 10a) to help you in carrying out these instructions (cf. Matt. 28.20)?
5. Jesus had many in Corinth who were among His people – elect, but not yet saved. He willed that Paul should continue seeking those lost sheep until a sufficient number had been gathered to ensure the ongoing work of Christ in Corinth was not only launched, but established. How did Jesus know those people not yet saved would in fact become His people? Is it possible that Jesus has “many people” who belong to Him in your community? Is your church as active in seeking them as Paul was in Corinth?
The Church in Corinth became an important base for the ongoing work of Christ through the end of the first century. The work there was not easy, and the Corinthians never saw fit to “pick up the tab” for Paul’s ministry (Silas and Timothy actually brought support from the Philippians to support Paul). The Church in Corinth seems to have been comprised of many house churches (1 Cor. 1.11; 16.15), but these apparently contended with one another for primacy of place – squabbling and strutting like babes in Christ (1 Cor. 1, 3). But Paul didn’t give up on them. Instead, he worked to strengthen and renew these churches, even while he was in Ephesus, and to enlist them in the ongoing work of Christ worldwide. What can we learn from this about local churches and what we should expect of them as signs and outposts of the Kingdom?
Those who trust in the LORD
Are like Mount Zion,
Which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
So the LORD surrounds His people
From this time forth and forever.
For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest
On the land allotted to the righteous,
Lest the righteous reach out their hands to iniquity.
Do good, O LORD, to those who are good,
And to those who are upright in their hearts.
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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