The Light of Christ Journey

Encouraging people on their journey with Christ

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As we study the story, we often consider, “How might the character have felt in this story?”  Usually, we don’t really know, it is conjecture, but a way to think about the story. The exception is David. Not only do we have the history of David, but we have the songs, or Psalms as we know them, that give insight into what David was thinking.

But first we need the story of David. The following is a summary of 1 Samuel 16:1-13:

King Saul has been flagrantly disobedient, and God has rejected him as king. God told the prophet Samuel to go anoint a son of Jesse of Bethlehem. Jesse called his sons together for Samuel, but even though there are seven sons there, God had not chosen them. David, the eighth son, the forgotten son, is out with the sheep. He is called and anointed by Samuel, and the Spirit of the Lord comes on David powerfully from that day on. Then David simply returned to his sheep.

The disobedience of Saul has its consequences. 1 Samuel 13: 13 “That was stupid!” Samuel said. “You didn’t obey the Lord your God. If you had obeyed him, someone from your family would always have been king of Israel. 14 But no, you disobeyed, and so the Lord won’t choose anyone else from your family to be king. In fact, he has already chosen the one he wants to be the next leader of his people.”[1]

Saul had started out following God, but then decided to do his own thing. God couldn’t allow Saul to lead His people at this point. God knows it is a heart problem and seeks out an individual who has the right heart. 1 Samuel 16: But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”[2]

Jesus gives us more insight into obedience in John 14: 15 “If you love me, obey my commandments.[3] Our obedience demonstrates our love for God, or what is in our heart. Samuel is obedient to anoint David, even when he feared for his life. When we obey God, it opens the door for God to work through us. Our disobedience is destructive to ourselves and affects those around us.

Have you ever considered your obedience to God to be a heart issue? The character on the inside comes out as action in our lives. We can try to cover up what is on the inside with religious rituals, but they don’t necessarily change the inner self. The good news is that Jesus came to restore a right heart. When we believe in Jesus and confess our sins, God forgives us and we become new people.

2 Cor.5: 14 Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life…17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

To hear more about David and his songs, listen here: https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/david-and-his-songs-the-early-years/today-sets-the-stage-for-tomorrow


[1] Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

[2,3] Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188.

Acts 18: 21 As he left, however, he said, “I will come back later, God willing.” Then he set sail from Ephesus. 22 The next stop was at the port of Caesarea. From there he went up and visited the church at Jerusalem and then went back to Antioch. 23 After spending some time in Antioch, Paul went back through Galatia and Phrygia, visiting and strengthening all the believers.[1]

Luke ends Paul’s second trip and begins Paul’s third trip in these few verses. More things that these must have happened. Paul would have had to travel, probably by foot, from Caesarea to get to Jerusalem. There he would have fulfilled his Nazirite vow at the temple (Acts 18:18). More than likely he would have shared how his second mission trip had gone with the Jerusalem elders. Then he would have walked 300 miles to the north to return to his sending church in Antioch. There he stayed for “some time.” When he left Antioch, he went overland by foot towards Ephesus. Along the way, he would have visited the churches that were planted on his first missionary trip.[2]

Why would Luke be so brief about these details? I think it is because Luke wants to emphasis the church planting aspect of Paul’s calling. Paul is faithful to persevere in his call to preach the Gospel. Paul’s model is Jesus Christ Himself.

Jesus was faithful to go to the cross and die for our sins. He persevered under severe trial yet completed what His Father had for Him.

Mark 10: 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.[3]

Phil. 2: He humbled himself and became vulnerable, choosing to be revealed as a man and was obedient. He was a perfect example, even in his death—a criminal’s death by crucifixion![4]

As followers of Christ, we are also called to be faithful to persevere. Each of us has a calling from God. Our callings are different, but all are to serve in some way. As we have seen from the story of Paul’s second mission trip, there will be opposition and a spiritual battle. But Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit is always with us in the battle. Jesus promises us in Rev. 2: 10 Do not yield to fear in the face of the suffering to come but be aware of this: the devil is about to have some of you thrown into prison to test your faith. For ten days you will have distress but remain faithful to the day you die, and I will give you the victor’s crown of life.[5]

To hear more about Paul’s second mission trip, listen here: https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/mission-trip-two-radio-show/faithful-to-persevere


[1,3] Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188.

[2] Wagner, C. P. (2008). The Book of Acts: A Commentary (p. 422). Ventura, CA: Regal.

[4,5] The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017 by BroadStreet Publishing® Group, LLC.thePassionTranslation.com

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Acts 18: 19 When they reached Ephesus, Paul left Priscilla and Aquila behind, then he went into the synagogue and spoke to the Jews. 20 They asked him to stay longer, but he refused 21 and said farewell to them, adding, “I will come back to you, if it is God’s will, after I go to Jerusalem to observe the feast.” Then he set sail from Ephesus for Caesarea.[1]

Silas and Timothy had stayed behind in Corinth to pastor the new church. Paul was on his way back to Jerusalem and Antioch. He took advantage and traveled via Ephesus. He had attempted to go to Ephesus two years earlier as he began his second mission trip (Acts 16:6-10). But the Holy Spirit had prevented that and sent Paul to Europe instead. The timing for evangelizing Ephesus was not then.

Ephesus was a beautiful city built of white marble and the capital of the Roman province of Asia. During Paul’s time, the population was well over 100,000 people. But it was spiritually dark, known as the center of powerful magical practices and the cult of the Ephesian goddess Artemis.[2]

At the end of Paul’s second mission trip, he had built a team ministry. It would take this team to break into the spiritual darkness of Ephesus. Priscilla and Aquila would lay the groundwork for Paul’s return on his third missionary trip. They would have established their tentmaking trade in the Jewish section of Ephesus. Paul attended the synagogue there and seems to be well received as they wanted him to stay. But Paul had made a vow and needed to return to Jerusalem in a timely manner. He promised that he would soon return. It appeared that God’s timing to reach Ephesus with the Gospel had almost arrived.[3]

Have you ever had something similar happen to you? You wanted to do something but at first it wasn’t the right time. Ecc.3: 1For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.[4] I think God knew that the timing for evangelizing Ephesus wasn’t at the beginning of Paul’s second mission trip, it was at the end. Paul would need a team and time to break into the spiritual darkness of the city. Paul would go on to spend the bulk of his third mission trip in Ephesus and establish a Christian church there.

How are you dealing with God’s timing? Do you want to force an issue, or can you trust God that His wisdom is the best? It takes faith to set aside our desires for God’s.

To hear more about Paul’s second mission trip, listen here: https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/mission-trip-two-radio-show/faithful-to-persevere


[1,2] The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017 by BroadStreet Publishing® Group, LLC. thePassionTranslation.com

[3] Wagner, C. P. (2008). The Book of Acts: A Commentary (pp. 419–420). Ventura, CA: Regal.

[4] Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188.

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Acts 18: 18 At the end of 18 months, Paul said good-bye to the believers in Corinth. He wanted to travel to the east and south to Syria by ship; so, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila, he went to the nearby port city of Cenchrea, where he fulfilled a vow he had made by cutting his hair. 19 The three of them sailed east to Ephesus where Paul would leave Priscilla and Aquila.[1]

Priscilla and Aquila were Jewish exiles, who like Paul, were tentmakers. When Paul arrived in Corinth, he lived and worked with them. As they were making tents, they most likely had many discussions and they would have learned the Gospel from Paul.

This couple is a model of Christian teamwork, especially in a marriage. They had an eye on eternity and invested in people. They first sought to build up Christ’s church. Their home seemed to be open to others as they were available for conversation and teaching. They were also willing to move around for the sake of the Gospel. They had been forced out of Rome by a degree of Caesar but now were moving to Ephesus.

This couple was radically committed to ministry and every where they went, lives were touched. They would have a great impact on Paul, Timothy, and Apollos. Their actions had ripple effects. While in Ephesus, they would teach Apollos, who in turn, would go and pastor in Corinth.

Two horses pulling together can pull the equivalent of three horses separately. I believe this is also true in working as a team under Jesus to spread the Gospel. How much ministry takes place in your marriage? Maybe you never considered that your marriage could be part of a ministry, but Priscilla and Aquila can give you a model.

To hear more about Paul, Priscilla, and Aquila, listen here: https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/mission-trip-two-radio-show/faithful-to-persevere


[1] The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society 

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Acts 18: 18 Paul stayed in Corinth for some time after that, then said good-bye to the brothers and sisters and went to nearby Cenchrea. There he shaved his head according to Jewish custom, marking the end of a vow.[1]

Paul was able to stay in Corinth longer than any other city in either the first or second mission trip. This was largely due to the court case which declared that Christianity was a sect of Judaism thus declaring that Christianity was a legal religion in the Roman Empire (Acts 18:12-16). Corinth was located on a narrow isthmus with a seaport on both the west and the east. Cenchrea was the eastern port and the obvious choice as Paul was starting his trip back to Jerusalem.

But why would Luke have included the detail of Paul shaving his head to mark the end of a vow? What does this mean? This most likely was the end of a Nazirite vow, found in Numbers 6:1-5. This was a recognized Jewish ritual of thanksgiving. Remember, Paul was able to stay in Corinth 18 months, there had been a legal victory in court, and Paul’s vision (Acts 18:9-10) of God’s protection had come true. Paul’s long stay enabled a large church to be established and now, instead of being chased out of town, Paul was leaving at his own choice.[2]

But why would Paul, evangelist to the Gentiles, continue with a Jewish ritual? In our 21st century mindset, Christianity and Judaism are two separate religions. Paul, however, was preaching how Jesus was the fulfillment of Jewish prophecy and covenant. The old covenant was not to be thrown out as the new covenant was built upon it. With our focus on the New Testament, we often lose the whole story of the Bible. Luke 24: 27 Then he (Jesus) carefully unveiled to them the revelation of himself throughout the Scripture. He started from the beginning and explained the writings of Moses and all the prophets, showing how they wrote of him and revealed the truth about himself.[3]

Paul was a Jewish theologian and probably found comfort in the Jewish rituals. The vow is his way of connecting with God and a way he acted out his faith. He was doing a ritual for the right reason, a reason of the heart. Most likely he had started the thanksgiving vow after the court victory, but we can’t be sure. During the vow, Paul would let his hair grow and abstain from wine. At the end of the vow, he shaved his head and would have 30 days to take the hair as part of a sacrifice to the temple in Jerusalem.

What about you? What are ways that you connect with God? Perhaps it could be in musical liturgy or fasting or some other ritual. Rituals can be done just to “check the box,” or, if done from the heart, can be a way to live out your faith.

To hear more about Paul and his time in Corinth, listen here: https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/mission-trip-two-radio-show/faithful-to-persevere


[1] Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188.

[2] Wagner, C. P. (2008). The Book of Acts: A Commentary (p. 420). Ventura, CA: Regal.

[3] The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017 by BroadStreet Publishing® Group, LLC.. thePassionTranslation.com

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The Jews of Corinth were opposed to Paul’s message and trumped up charges against him. After Paul was cleared of any charges by the judge, the crowd vented their anger on Sosthenes. Acts 18: 17 The crowd then grabbed Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and beat him right there in the courtroom. But Gallio paid no attention.[1]

What about the beating of poor Sosthenes? Sosthenes was the new leader of the synagogue. Crispus, an earlier leader, had become a Christian (Acts18:8) and Sosthenes was probably his replacement.

Was Sosthenes, as leader of the synagogue, the instigator of the trumped-up causes? When the plan backfired, did the Jews take their frustration out on him? Or did the Greeks in the crowd take advantage of the judge’s indifference to Jews to beat up the head Jew?

A third possibility is that Sosthenes was sympathetic to Paul’s message. From 1 Corinthians 1:1, it appears that Sosthenes appears to become a believer and joins Paul on his next mission trip. Perhaps the Jews realized how much they had lost in this court ruling and took it out on Sosthenes. We can’t be sure who exactly was beating him; Scripture isn’t clear.

What is certain that Gallio demonstrates his disdain for the Jews by totally ignoring the incident. Prejudice was as common in Paul’s time as it is in our time. It is part of our sinful, human condition. Here are some verses that speak to prejudice:

John 7: 24 Stop judging based on the superficial. First you must embrace the standards of mercy and truth.”[2]

James 2:1My dear brothers and sisters, fellow believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ—how could we say that we have faith in him and yet we favor one group of people above another?[3]

1 John 4: 20 Anyone can say, “I love God,” yet have hatred toward another believer. This makes him a phony, because if you don’t love a brother or sister, whom you can see, how can you truly love God, whom you can’t see? 21 For he has given us this command: whoever loves God must also demonstrate love to other.[4] How can the Lord help you be more loving towards others? Ask Him for help and He will show you how. To hear more about Paul in Corinth, listen here: https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/mission-trip-two-radio-show/faithful-to-persevere


[1] Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. 

[2,3,4] The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017 by BroadStreet Publishing® Group, LLC.. thePassionTranslation.com

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The unbelieving Jews were upset with Paul. Even the synagogue leader, Crispus and his family had become Christians. I sure in the mind of these Jews, they wanted Paul stopped. They devised a rather devious plan. They would take Paul to court and accuse him of breaking the Roman rules about religion.

Jews were considered a religio licita, or a legal religion.[1] By this time, the Caesars were considered gods and were to be worshiped by citizens of the empire. Of course, Jews only worshipped the one true God and were allowed to pray “for” but not “to” the Caesar. If Christianity was a sect of Judaism, it would be a legal religion. But, if they could prove that Christianity was a different religion, then it would be prohibited by the laws of the Empire.

Acts 18: 14 Just as Paul was about to speak in his defense, Gallio interrupted and said, “Wait! If this involved some major crime or fraud, it would be my responsibility to hear the case. 15 But this is nothing more than a disagreement among yourselves over semantics and personalities and traditions of your own Jewish laws. Go and settle it yourselves! I refuse to be the judge of these issues.” 16 So Gallio dismissed them from the court.[2]

Gallio, who was the brother of Nero’s tutor Seneca,[3] refused to even hear the case. This would provide case law that affirmed that Christianity was part of Judaism and thus a legal religion. This ruling stood for more than 10 years and allowed the spread of Christianity in the Roman Empire. The plans of the unbelieving Jews backfired in a big way.

This favorable ruling also fulfills Paul’s vision. God did protect him, and Paul would be able to proclaim the word. We don’t know exactly when the court case happened during Paul’s stay in Corinth, but most likely towards the beginning. Paul’s stay in Corinth was the longest to date on any mission trip. He would not be chased out but leave on his own time.

Where has God given you favor from a usual source? Where has God answered your prayers in a surprising way? To hear more about the trial of Paul in Corinth, listen here: https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/mission-trip-two-radio-show/faithful-to-persevere


[1] Wagner, C. P. (2008). The Book of Acts: A Commentary (p. 417). Ventura, CA: Regal.

[2,3] The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017 by BroadStreet Publishing® Group, LLC. thePassionTranslation.com

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Acts 18: 12 Now, at that time, Gallio was the regional governor who ruled over the Roman province of Achaia, and the Jews turned against Paul and came together to seize him and bring him publicly before the governor’s court. 13 They accused him before Gallio, saying, “This man is creating a disturbance by persuading people to worship God in ways that are contrary to our laws.”[1]

In both this mission trip and the previous mission trip, the greatest opposition came from unconverted Jews. If Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, why would they oppose a message about Him?

The Jews had their own expectations of what Messiah would look like. They had not anticipated that He would come twice. They thought Messiah would come as a political leader. The Jews hated being under the thumb of the Romans and wanted to rule themselves. A Messiah could do that for them. They assumed that the Messiah would not die but live forever. When Jesus came as a humble, itinerant rabbi who was killed by the Romans on a shameful cross, He didn’t meet their expectations. They didn’t understand that when He returns, He will rule and live forever.

Paul had been of the same frame of mind before his conversion on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). He had opposed Christians and probably started some mob action against them as well. Now, ironically, he was the object of the same opposition that he had perpetrated against Christians. Paul was trained as a Jewish theologian and when he met Jesus on the road to Damascus, Paul began to put some things together.

Paul would go onto teach other Jews how, if they would only re-read the Scriptures, they would understand that Jesus was the Messiah. The Jews in Berea had done just that, and they didn’t oppose Paul. Paul had to leave because Thessalonian Jews came in a mob to chase him away. When the Jews refused to consider what Paul said, they would conclude that Paul was teaching something contrary to their laws. The Jews were living under the old covenant, Jesus built upon the covenant but completed it to bring us a new covenant.

Opposition within the church itself is nothing new. It happened in the first century and it is still happening in the 21st century. We must be willing to search Scripture together and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to understand what God wants for us today.

To hear more about Paul and how he persevered, listen here: https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/mission-trip-two-radio-show/faithful-to-persevere


[1] The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017 by BroadStreet Publishing® Group, LLC.thePassionTranslation.com

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Luke tells us about Paul in Corinth in Acts 18. But we can glean more details about Paul’s time in Corinth from letters that he wrote while in Corinth and from letters he would later write to the Corinthians themselves. When we put these all together, we come up with the following:

Paul testified to the Jews in the synagogue that Jesus was the Messiah. But when they opposed and insulted him, Paul shook the dust from his clothes and said, “Your blood is upon your own heads—I am innocent. From now on I will go preach to the Gentiles.”

Then he left and went to the home of Gauis Titius Justus, a Gentile who worshiped God and lived next door to the synagogue.[1] Stephanas and his household were the first of the harvest of believers in Southern Greece.[2] Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, and everyone in his household believed in the Lord.[3] Paul baptized Stephanans, Gais and Crispus but then preached and let others baptize.[4] Many others in Corinth also heard Paul, became believers, and were baptized. While a number of the believers were of high standing, most were uneducated and poor.[5]

One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, “Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent! For I am with you, and no one will attack and harm you, for many people in this city belong to me.” So, Paul stayed there for the next year and a half, teaching the word of God.[6]

Then Paul received news from the church in Thessalonica. Some think the return of Jesus is soon and have quit working. This causes unrest and some are living off others who work for a living.[7] Paul writes another letter. In it, he reassures them that Jesus will bring justice when He comes. Those who are persecuting the Thessalonians will be judged.[8] He tells them not to be fooled by those who say Jesus has returned. Many things must happen before then.[9] Then he warns them not to live idle lives but to follow the example Paul and Silas gave them. They never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. They worked hard day and night so they would not be a burden to any of the Thessalonians. Even while Paul was there, he gave them this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.”[10] Paul then requested prayer for himself and blessed the congregation.[11]

How you conduct yourself spiritual ripples out to others. What does your story tell others?

To hear more about Paul in Corinth, listen here: https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/mission-trip-two-radio-show/a-heart-for-the-lost


[1] Acts 18:7

[2] 1 Cor. 16:15

[3] Acts 18:8

[4] 1 Cor. 1:14

[5] 1 Cor. 1:26-27

[6] Acts 18:9-11

[7] Mirror reading of 2 Thessalonians

[8] 2 Thess. 1:5-9

[9] 2 Thess. 2:1-12

[10] 2 Thess 3:8-10

[11] 2 Thess. 3:1-3, 18

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Paul had sent a letter to the Thessalonian church with Timothy and Silas. When they returned to Corinth where Paul was, they had some disturbing news. Some of the believers think the return of Jesus is soon and have quit working. This causes unrest and some are living off others who work for a living.[1]

Paul writes another letter. In it, he reassures them that Jesus will bring justice when He comes. Those who are persecuting the Thessalonians will be judged.[2] He tells them not to be fooled by those who say Jesus has returned. Many things must happen before then.[3] Then he warns them not to live idle lives but to follow the example Paul and Silas gave them. They never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. They worked hard day and night so they would not be a burden to any of the Thessalonians. Even while Paul was there, he gave them this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.”[4] Paul then requested prayer for himself and blessed the congregation.[5]

Paul sends this second letter off to the Thessalonians. This letter has good advice for us today as it gives us our purpose while we wait for the return of Jesus. There will be suffering for those who follow Jesus. John 15: 18 “Just remember, when the unbelieving world hates you, they first hated me (Jesus). 19 If you were to give your allegiance to the world, they would love and welcome you as one of their own. But because you won’t align yourself with the values of this world, they will hate you. I have chosen you and taken you out of the world to be mine. 20 So remember what I taught you, that a servant isn’t superior to his master. And since they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.[6] 

But Jesus also promises help in this waiting time. John 15: 26 I will send a great Helper to you from the Father, one known as the Spirit of truth. He comes from the Father and will point to the truth as it concerns Me. 27 But you will also point others to the truth about My identity, because you have journeyed with Me since this all began.[7]

What is your purpose as a believer while you wait for the return of Jesus? To hear more about Paul and the letters to the Thessalonians, listen here: https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/mission-trip-two-radio-show/a-heart-for-the-lost


[1] Mirror reading of 2 Thessalonians

[2] 2 Thess. 1:5-9

[3] 2 Thess. 2:1-12

[4] 2 Thess 3:8-10

[5] 2 Thess. 3:1-3, 18

[6] The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017 by BroadStreet Publishing® Group, LLC.thePassionTranslation.com

[7] The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society

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