Acts 18. Forum Discussion

Jesus' teachings prepare us for the obstacles He knows we will face

In Acts 18, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he met up with Aquila and his wife Priscilla. Priscilla and Aquila had left Italy because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul was a tent maker just as they were, and he stayed with them and was working with them. Paul was preaching in the synagogue every sabbath and trying to persuade both Jews and Greeks. When Silas and Timothy joined Paul, he devoted himself completely to the word and preaching to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. When the Jews resisted and blasphemed, Paul shook off his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” That is a recurring theme when efforts to spread the gospel met with people who rejected it. They would brush themselves off and move on to others that may be more receptive.

Jesus appeared to Paul at night in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city.” Luke tells us that Paul stayed in Corinth for 18 months teaching the word of God.

In verse 18, we see that Paul heads out to sea for Syria and Priscilla and Aquila joined him. He visits Cenchrea and then Ephesus where he leaves Priscilla and Aquila.

Luke tells us about a powerful servant of the Lord, Apollos. Luke writes that Apollos was: An Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures. It makes sense that this is the same Apollos that Paul writes about in 1 Corinthians 3:6-8, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.”

Luke tells us that Apollos was, “Speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the baptism of John; and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. Nobody likes to be embarrassed publicly and it is worth noting how Priscilla and Aquila seemed to be sensitive to that, as evidenced by them pulling Apollos aside to teach him, “The word of God more accurately.” – Acts 18:26. They also reached out to the disciples in Achaia when Apollos wished to travel there and teach so that they would welcome him when he got there.

We could all use friends like Priscilla and Aquila in our lives. Verse 28 says, “He greatly helped those who had believed through grace, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.”

If your Bible uses red ink to distinguish the comments made by Jesus, you will find the following verses highlighted in red in the book of Acts:

  • Acts 1:4-5. Jesus commanded the apostles not to leave for Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which, you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
  • Acts 1:7-8. He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
  • Acts 9:4-6. And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said“I am Jesus whom you are persecuting,but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.”
  • Acts 9:11-12. And the Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight.”
  • Acts 9:15-16. But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.”
  • Acts 18:9-10. And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent;for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city.”
  • Acts 20:35. In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said,  ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’
  • Acts 22:7-10. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ And I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.’ And those who were with me saw the light, to be sure, but did not understand the voice of the One who was speaking to me.And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Get up and go on into Damascus, and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do.’ 
  • Acts 22:18. And I saw Him saying to me,  ‘Make haste, and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about Me.’
  • Acts 23:11. But  on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his side and said,  “Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also.”
  • Acts 26:14-18. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’

Jesus told His apostles, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” – Acts 1:7-8.

Acts tells the story of their efforts to obey Jesus and be His witnesses. Looking back at Jesus’ teachings, you can see how He prepared them for the obstacles that He knew they would encounter.

For example, Jesus taught them with the Parable of the Sower. Here is Luke’s account of this parable from Luke 8:11-15: “Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God. Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.”

This parable still applies to us today. Jesus warns us to be careful not to be like the seed that fell among the thorns and never reached maturity. When we are at our weakest, we can fall victim to worry, or the temptations of the riches and pleasures of this life and may never reach maturity. The parable also reminds us not to be discouraged when the seeds that we plant do not grow. Some will, and that is enough. Every soul is precious. Our mission is to keep planting!

Staying in God’s word helps us to focus, stop worrying, and avoid temptations. Tomorrow, Lord willing, we will move on to Acts 19. Until then, may God bless you and keep you. Amen

Comments

Virtual Bible Study

How can we keep from being discouraged when seeds that we plant do not take root?

Reply
Michael
Virtual Bible Study

The Bible does a great job through parables and stories of the Apostles in letting us know that not every effort to share the gospel is going to be successful. In fact, most will not be. But as disciples, we need to keep planting those seeds.

Because some of them will produce fruit and then the angels will rejoice in that one saved soul!!

Reply
Michael
Michael

Instead of focusing on the efforts that were not successful, think of the glory for the one's that will be! And we can talk to one another so that we do not feel that we are in it alone.

Reply
John

It IS interesting how there are several examples of apostles kicking off the dirt and moving on from un-receptive people / towns. I guess we have limited time and resources and should go where the interest is.

Reply