Please click on this link if you would like to listen to this message.
Date: 6 December, 2018
Text: Acts 18
1 After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;
exp. "After these things" - simple words with a lot of meaning. Paul and his group had been through it. "After these things" refers to the end of chapter 17 - but I want to start our journey with Paul from the beginning of chapter 17.
He's in Thessalonica: Thessalonians - Epistle (letter) Paul penned to this church.
1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:
2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.
4 And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.
5 But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.
6 And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;
ill. Have you seen the riots in france by the yellow vests? Mankind hasn't changed much in 2000 years. The difference was people were not rioting against government they were rioting against God and His messengers.
Now he's in Berea
10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.
11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
12 Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.
13 But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people.
14 And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea: but Silas and Timotheus abode there still.
ill. (This is not a new pattern - let's go back even further to Iconium (Acts 14)
1 And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed.
2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren.
3 Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
exp. Unbelievers turned the minds of the people away from God's servants at Iconium. And so the unbelieving Jews did with the people in Berea and Paul has to leave again.
Now we find him in Athens
15 And they that conducted Paul brought him unto Athens: and receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timotheus for to come to him with all speed, they departed.
16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.
17 Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.
18 Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.
19 And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?
20 For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean.
32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.
33 So Paul departed from among them.
exp. Paul again departs not because he must but because there are more cities which need the Gospel.
Finally we are back in Corinth in Acts 18.
Acts18:1 After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;
2 And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.
3 And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.
Exp. Let's leave Paul briefly in Corinth with Prascilla and Aquilla and go back in his life to his unique conversion and calling.
1.) He was completely against Jesus before He got saved.
Act 9:4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
2.) He was saved to tell others.
15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
3) He would suffer much for the Name of Jesus.
16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.
app. And having gotten saved, commissioned, and suffering - He never stopped. He didn't quit!
Are you struck by the fact that Paul never stopped?
ill. Barry Webb's prayer letter
Most of you know that my father, Dr. Hal Webb, traveled in evangelism ministry for 67 years before he went to be with the Lord. At his memorial service, his pastor shared the story of how my father ruined one of his sermon illustrations. The pastor was preaching about discouragement and was stating that everyone has times in their lives when they get discouraged and want to quit. My father was seated in the congregation. The pastor looked at my father and made a statement like, “Why Dr. Webb, I’ll bet there have been times even in your life and ministry that you wanted to quit.” He was expecting Dad to nod his head or show his agreement in some other way. Instead, my father furrowed his heavy eyebrows, got a determined look on his face and replied in a clear loud voice, “NEVER!”
My message this morning is, "Never Say Quit."
Did you think Christianity would be easier than it is?
Did you think people would be more receptive to the Gospel?
Do you think people ought to be excited that you are a Christian?
Are you tempted to quit?
NEVER SAY QUIT - Paul never did!
With Paul as our example - NEVER SAY QUIT - what will keep us from quitting?
I. Never say quit because people need persuading.
4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.
exp. Paul was a faithful persuader of the Gospel.
ill. Thessalonica Acts 17:2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, 3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.
exp. Paul's message was simple to the Jews. The Messiah had to suffer, die and rise again. Jesus is the Messiah.
question: Do you think Paul ever thought to himself, I'm tired to trying to persuade people? But, he got up the next Sabbath day and preached Jesus to hard headed self righteous Jews.
"AS HIS MANNER WAS" - Paul was faithful.
ill. I'm going to share a trade secret of ministry - at least from my experience - there is a Sunday night/ Monday morning blues. You evangelize hard, study hard, preach and then you have to start over again.
exp. Paul wasn't just preaching to believers. He was often preaching to mostly unbelievers! He never stopped trying to persuade men to follow Jesus!
app. 1.) Have you started evangelism and realized that men's hearts aren't easily persuaded?
2.) Have you knocked on doors and found that even with explanations given they are hard?
3.) Have you witnessed to family and friends and felt like it was fruitless?
note: It would be easy to say - they will never be persuaded? Door to door doesn't work. Flyers don't work. Evangelism doesn't work - SO I WILL QUIT PERSUADING MEN.
exp. But, some will be persuaded - Antioch - Act 13:43 Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.
II. Never say quit - keep a burden for the Gospel.
5 And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.
exp. Paul didn't just obey God from his head. Paul's heart was in it. He was passionate about the Gospel!
ill. Athens - Acts 17:16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.
Does it move you to see a multitude against God?
Do you have any fire in your bones to carry the Gospel to the world for which Jesus died? Do you care that people are going to Hell?
exp. Compassion makes a difference.
Jude 1:22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:
23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
ill. Pastor David O'Gorman's family - took Layton Kelly heroine addict into their home. He would tell you that whether that was wise or not he does not know. It became too much and they had to send him to a men's home in Scotland where God gloriously set him free.
question: Would Layton have been set free without the compassion of the O'Gormans?
ill. Aiden - works with Layton. He lost money for a drug gang. They took him into the woods broke all his limbs - left him stripped, bleeding/ ear partially bitten off. For three years he wouldn't come out of his room - until a compassionate preacher came and talked to him and sent him to a men's home WHERE GOD SET HIM FREE.
NOTE: REMEMBER THIS - Our Lord was known for His compassion.
Mat 9:36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
Mat 14:14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
Mar 1:41 And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.
Mar 6:34 And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.
app. Never say quit - keep a burden for the Gospel.
III. Never say quit - or you will be blood guilty.
6 And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them,
Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.
exp. You may think Paul quit. He didn't quit. He had fulfilled His Gospel duty to them and they had rejected Jesus. Paul wasn't quitting. He was just going in God's work.
note: The statement "your blood be upon your own heads" shows how Paul felt about his duty.
ill. Like God's instruction through His prophet Ezekiel about the watchman.
Ezekiel 3:17 Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.
18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
note: Did you know that a sinner can not get saved without someone telling him the Gospel?
Romans 10: 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
question: How was Paul blood guiltless?
ill. Paul's future (in our text) testimony to the Ephesian church in Acts 20
1.) He kept back nothing of God's message.
20 And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you,
2.) He worked tirelessly to get the message out.
but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,
3.) He went everywhere to get out the Gospel.
21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
22 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:
23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.
24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
25 And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.
26 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.
4. In summary - he didn't quit!
27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
app. Christian when you have the Gospel and you quit giving it - you have blood on your hands for those who will perish in the fires of Hell. Paul served God in the NT and felt the import of this truth. Don't quit - or you will be blood guilty. THEY WILL NOT HEAR IF YOU DO NOT TELL THEM.
IV. Never say quit - because harvest day is coming.
7 And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man's house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue.
8 And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.
exp. Praise God, Paul's ministry is not just persecution, rejection and no harvest. There were glorious harvest days. (The Gospel's power broke through all the persecution and slander which Satan hurled at it.) MANY BELIEVED ON JESUS AND WERE BAPTIZED!
ill. Some of you were unable to make it this past Thursday to our midweek service. We looked at Isaac digging wells in the land of God's blessing.
- They were stopped up wells from previous generations.
- They unstopped them and were pushed away.
- They found living water (rejoiced) but then were forced away from the blessing.
- Finally they found water and were able to establish themselves saying....
Genesis 26:22 And he removed from thence, and digged another well; and for that they strove not: and he called the name of it Rehoboth; and he said, For now the LORD hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.
app. When it seems like harvest time isn't coming (we've seen some false harvests and it seems the blessings fails....) We've got to dig another well. Why? BECAUSE IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE GOSPEL SEED NOT TO BEAR FRUIT when it lands on good saving ground!
Matthews 13:8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
exp. Do you have ears to hear Jesus words? - HARVEST IS COMING!
Joh 4:35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
app. Never say quit - the harvest is coming!
V. Never say quit - because Jesus never quits on you.
Mat 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
exp. We see this demonstrated in Paul's life and ministry. Here in our story - Jesus speaks to Paul.
9 Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision,
exp. For whatever reason - the Lord Jesus gives Paul some precious encouragement. I don't know that he was temted to quit - he would face some very intense time - but JESUS WOULD NEVER FAIL PAUL.
ill. Paul's second imprisonment: (Mamertime prison in Rome)
2 timothy 6:16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.
17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
exp. Jesus never quit on Paul and Jesus never quits on you. He will give you all the grace you need to keep going.
A. He wants you to speak.
Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace:
exp. If you have a red letter edition - this text is red. Jesus said it.
question: Did you think Paul was fearless - he was not? The Lord commanded him not to be afraid meaning that he was tempted just like you and I to be afraid.
ill. Paul himself instructed Timothy not to fear when tempted to quit because of persecution.
2 Timothy 1:6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
exp. Jesus said to NOT be afraid - SPEAK - don't stop speaking. DON'T QUIT!
app. Does it suprise you that Satan would say otherwise. He wants you to cower in fear because he also knows the power of the Gospel. Have you quit because of fear? Does your mouth proclaim the Gospel? Are you holding your peace? Jesus would encourage you NOT TO QUIT.
B. He goes with you when you speak.
10 For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee:
exp. We've already considered our Lord's promise to be with us.
ill. I said to my children as they were to fly out to Spain - remember their are three of you going. Let Him lead you on your way.
Mat 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
app. Have you quit because you forgot that you have Him with you? He goes with you when you speak?
C. He will bless your speaking.
for I have much people in this city.
exp. This is a statement of foreknowledge given by the Lord. Paul needed to stay in this place because there was going to be a significant harvest. The two biggest epistles written by Paul 1-2 Corinthians were written to the church that would be established at Corinth.
note: Paul didn't have mature believers now or many churches now TO ENCOURAGE HIM BY SIGHT - he had to minister by faith believing in WHAT WOULD BE - in God's timing.
question: Do you believe that God can do a significant work in our area? If we don't believe that, won't our labor reveal that?
ill. Peter wasn't ready to go out in the boat and fish some more after toiling all night without a harvest - but he didn't quit and at Jesus word he let down the net and got a huge harvest.
Luke 5:8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.
9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:
10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.
app. Don't quit - Jesus hasn't quit on your. He will bless your speaking! DON'T QUIT!
Paul never said quit!
11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
Christians - NEVER SAY QUIT! - Have you quit?
Never say quit....
1.) People need persuading. (It will take faithfulness to persuade men to come to Jesus.)
2.) Keep a burden for the Gospel. (It will take more than your mind to serve Jesus.)
3.) Or you will be blood guilty!
4.) Harvest day is coming.
5.) Jesus never quits on you.
a.) He wants you to speak.
b.) He goes with you when you speak.
c.) He blesses your speaking.
I like that story of Hal Webb ruining the preacher's illustration - "Never!"
NEVER SAY QUIT!