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 17 in our study of Acts. In it we review the ongoing work of Christ as it becomes established in churches, such as those in Jerusalem, Corinth, and Ephesus. You can view it by clicking here (scroll down to Lesson 17).
Read and meditate on Acts 18.18-23.
God had called Paul to be a minister of the Gospel, and Paul took that call very seriously. Even as he made his journey back to Antioch – the end of his second missionary journey – Paul ministered to the believers all along the way.
1. First stop, Cenchreae, from where he would take his leave by ship to Syria. He took a vow here and shaved his head, doubtless in order to gain entry among the Jewish community there. Meditate on 1 Corinthians 9.19-23. In what ways have we seen Paul applying this principle thus far in Acts?
2. Next stop, Ephesus, and a little seed-sowing in the synagogue before probably finding a new ship to continue his journey. Paul was encouraged by the response at Ephesus, so, since he could not remain himself, he left Priscilla and Aquila to dig the soil, tend the sown seeds, and water any emerging seedlings of faith. How can you see that Paul was not merely in the work of sowing the Gospel, but of making disciples, as the Lord commanded (Matt. 28.18-20)?
3. By leaving his friends there, Paul not only kept the work going in Ephesus, but he strengthened the role of two of his companions – a move that would soon reap benefits for the Kingdom. What principles of leadership development have we seen in Paul thus far?
4. His next stop was Caesarea. From there he made a quick journey to Jerusalem to greet the church there, and probably to give a report on his journey. Then back home to Antioch, continuing his ministry there in his home church. After spending some time there, Paul begins his third missionary journey, heading out overland to visit and strengthen the churches he and Barnabas had birthed on an earlier journey. What can we learn from Paul, and his work in His Personal Mission Field (2 Cor. 10.13-18), to guide us in working our own?
5. We get a glimpse here at the staying power of the Gospel. This was not simply some new religious fad or spiritual movement. It was the work of God, advancing His Kingdom in the lives of men and women, and establishing beachheads of faith throughout the Roman world. Many of these churches continued to be vital and vibrant for years, even centuries, changing whole societies and cultures according to the truth and righteousness of God’s Word. What can we learn from the churches Paul started about the role of the local church as sign and outpost for the Kingdom of God?
Paul was called to minister the Word of God, and ministering the Word of God defined every aspect of his life. Whether he was doing the work of evangelism, doing good to others, making disciples, or developing leaders for the next generation, the ministry of the Word was central. Meditate on 1 Corinthians 11.1. How can you make the ministry of the Word more central to your own life?
Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous!
For praise from the upright is beautiful.
Praise the LORD with the harp;
Make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings.
Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully with a shout of joy.
For the word of the LORD is right,
And all His work is done in truth.
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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