ACTS – The Acts of God
It happens to all of us who are passionate about pointing people to Jesus, desiring that they find and follow them for themselves. When all our words and actions, giving and caring seem to be in vain, we become frustrated and wonder if it is worth our effort. When we come to the end of ourselves, God speaks through His Holy Spirit who lives in us to remind us He is always at work.
We only see what is in front of us. God sees the hearts of all mankind. He knows whose hearts are His and those who are not. God’s Holy Spirit comes to Paul in a dream to remind him in his frustrations of ministry in Corinth that “no matter what happens, I’m with you.” Wow, just those words alone are a comfort and joy. We are mere humans, trying to be obedient to God. It is God who finishes what we begin in us and is always with us! That alone is enough for me to “stick with it”.
Acts 18, The Message
18 1-4 After Athens, Paul went to Corinth. That is where he discovered Aquila, a Jew born in Pontus, and his wife, Priscilla. They had just arrived from Italy, part of the general expulsion of Jews from Rome ordered by Claudius. Paul moved in with them, and they worked together at their common trade of tentmaking. But every Sabbath he was at the meeting place, doing his best to convince both Jews and Greeks about Jesus.
5-6 When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was able to give all his time to preaching and teaching, doing everything he could to persuade the Jews that Jesus was in fact God’s Messiah. But no such luck. All they did was argue contentiously and contradict him at every turn. Totally exasperated, Paul had finally had it with them and gave it up as a bad job. “Have it your way, then,” he said. “You’ve made your bed; now lie in it. From now on I’m spending my time with the other nations.”
7-8 He walked out and went to the home of Titius Justus, a God-fearing man who lived right next to the Jews’ meeting place. But Paul’s efforts with the Jews weren’t a total loss, for Crispus, the meeting-place president, put his trust in the Master. His entire family believed with him.
8-11 In the course of listening to Paul, a great many Corinthians believed and were baptized. One night the Master spoke to Paul in a dream: “Keep it up, and don’t let anyone intimidate or silence you. No matter what happens, I’m with you and no one is going to be able to hurt you. You have no idea how many people I have on my side in this city.” That was all he needed to stick it out. He stayed another year and a half, faithfully teaching the Word of God to the Corinthians.
12-13 But when Gallio was governor of Achaia province, the Jews got up a campaign against Paul, hauled him into court, and filed charges: “This man is seducing people into acts of worship that are illegal.”
14-16 Just as Paul was about to defend himself, Gallio interrupted and said to the Jews, “If this was a matter of criminal conduct, I would gladly hear you out. But it sounds to me like one more Jewish squabble, another of your endless hairsplitting quarrels over religion. Take care of it on your own time. I can’t be bothered with this nonsense,” and he cleared them out of the courtroom.
17 Now the street rabble turned on Sosthenes, the new meeting-place president, and beat him up in plain sight of the court. Gallio didn’t raise a finger. He could not have cared less.
What do we learn?
–Stick with what God has invited you to do. Let Him do the rest.
–Don’t worry or fret over how many you can convince to follow Christ. Speak when He tells you to speak. Let God do the rest.
–Don’t wonder how many. God knows hearts. He knows how many are with Him and how many are not. “You have no idea how many people I have on my side in this city.”
–“Keep it up, and don’t let anyone intimidate or silence you.” The evil one will work hard to put negative thoughts that lead to frustrations in our heads. Fight this off with a prayer…Deliver us from all evil and evil’s schemes to bring us down, in the Name of Jesus Christ. God will answer this prayer in nano seconds. He has for me.
–Corinth was 5 times larger than Athens. They also worshiped many gods, including Aphrodite which led to much sexual sin.
–Paul’s influence led to his many letters to Corinth which are probably the most read scriptures used today in weddings and communion. Corinthians is also used to explain orderly, God-honoring worship. (1 Cor 13) (1 Cor 11)
“That was all Paul needed to stick it out.”
Dear Heavenly Father,
Defeat the foe that lies in wait with words of discouragement, lies, and other ways to stop Your work.
In the Name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen. I believe.