Year 2 Day 54
Read - Acts 18v1-17
Message - Scott Woodburn
Paul arrives in Corinth and comes into the company of a husband and wife called Aquila and Priscilla. They had been put out of Rome by the Emperor Claudius who had expelled the Jews from the city in 49AD (v2). They become a blessing to Paul allowing him to stay with them and to engage in some manual work, for Paul and his new friends shared tent making as their trade (v3).
Paul would need all the friends he could get. He preached in the synagogue each week (v4) but was soon opposed and reviled (v6). Later the Jews would unite against him and drag him before the Roman tribunal Gallio (v12). Thankfully Gallio wanted nothing to do with the accusations and urged the Jews to sort the matter out themselves (v15). In fact Gallio was so disinterested that when Sosthenes was beaten up in front of him, he did nothing to stop it (v17).
We can't be sure about the identity of Sosthenes. He is described as a ruler of the synagogue (v17) and later in 1 Corinthians, Paul speaks of our brother Sosthenes. Perhaps they're one and the same? We can't be sure but we do know that even in the midst of opposition, Paul's preaching was met with success.
We meet Titius Justus, a worshiper of God (v7). Then there is Crispus a ruler of the synagogue who also came to believe (v8). Indeed many Corinthians received Paul's message and were baptised as a result (v8b). In many ways Paul's experience in Corinth is similar to the experience of the church today. There will be encouragement mixed with opposition. There will be conversions met with the fury of the enemy. How can we stand in such days? Together and without fear.
Paul stood shoulder to shoulder with his brothers and sisters in the church. They encouraged him, they supported him, they prayed with and for him. In the ministry of the Gospel he did not stand alone. Indeed the Lord tells Paul in a vision that He has many people in the city of Corinth (v10). Brothers and sisters, me must stand together. The Christian walk is tough enough without Christian cliques and divisions. Talk together, fellowship together, pray together, stand together and do it all without fear.
Paul knew opposition everywhere he went. He was seen as a traitor to many and was always just a mob away from a beating or worse. Yet the Lord tells him not to be afraid (v9). He is to speak up and not be silent for the Lord will protect him. This is certainly easier read than believed but it remains true. So brothers and sisters, stand together in the work without fear, for the One who is at work in you is greater than the one in the world (1 John 4v4).
Jesus said "I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows." (Luke 12v4-7)
Q63 Which is the fifth commandment? The fifth commandment is, Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.