The Light of Christ Journey

Encouraging people on their journey with Christ

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Acts 18: One night Paul had a vision in which he heard the Lord’s voice.

The Lord: Do not be afraid, Paul. Speak! Don’t be silent! 10 I am with you, and no one will lay a finger on you to harm you. I have many in this city who are already My people.

11 After such turmoil in previous cities, these words encouraged Paul to extend his stay in Corinth, teaching the message of God among them for a year and six months.[1]

In seems that in all the towns where Paul had preached on both the first and second mission trip, he had never stayed much longer than three months. Generally, at the three-month mark, opposition would be so violent that Paul would have to leave town for his own safety. He had started preaching in the synagogue and then was forced out and began to preach to the Gentiles. This had been the pattern in every city he had gone to. I would guess Paul was assuming it would be time to leave town soon to avoid mob action from the Jews. They would try a political move, but God would thwart it (Acts 18:12-17). Paul would have needed strong encouragement to stay in town and God provided supernaturally.

God will sustain His followers in the good times and the bad. Paul greatest joy was pursuing the dangerous mission of Jesus Christ. How about you? Are you willing to trust God to protect you as you follow Jesus?

To hear more of Paul’s story in Corinth, listen here:

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

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When I have a heart for the lost, I don’t have to be the center of attention. Paul, while the leader, was part of a team. Timothy and Silas rejoined Paul in Corinth. They had been in northern Greece encouraging the new churches there. Paul was unable to return to them to build them up, but his team members could do the work.

In Corinth, Paul found leaders who would also help him with the ministry. Acts 18: Leaving the synagogue, Paul went to the home of Titus, a convert to Judaism, for he and his family attended the Jewish meetings and they had all become believers in Jesus. Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire family, and many of the Corinthians who heard what had happened believed in the Lord and were baptized.[1]

Scholars think that Titus would later accompany Paul in his ministry travels and is the one addressed in the Epistle of Titus. Crispus was one of the few people Paul baptized (1 Cor. 1:14). According to church tradition he became the bishop of Aegina.[2] Paul didn’t have to be the star of the show, even though he was the leader. Often, it is a temptation to build our own kingdom instead of building God’s kingdom. In our human nature, we want to be the center of what is happening. Paul gives us the example of what it looks like to build God’s kingdom.

While a number of believers in Corinth were of high standing, most were uneducated and realized that they couldn’t do life on their own. They were open to God’s help and assistance. They were willing to be part of Paul’s team and could reach people that Paul may not have been able to. Think about how you can work as part of a team to reach others for Jesus. Remember Jesus is always the heart of the team.

To hear more about Paul and his team in Corinth, listen here:

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

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Acts 18: When they (those in the synagogue) viciously slandered him and hurled abuse on him, he symbolically shook the dust off his clothes in protest against them. He said to them, “Have it your way then! I am guiltless as to your fate, for the blood-guilt of your actions will be on your own heads, and from now on I will preach to the non-Jews.”

Leaving the synagogue, Paul went to the home of Titus, a convert to Judaism, for he and his family attended the Jewish meetings and they had all become believers in Jesus. Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire family, and many of the Corinthians who heard what had happened believed in the Lord and were baptized.[1]

There was some success in the synagogue, the leader Crispus, does become a believer. But there is so much opposition that Paul leaves. He has done as much as he could there. He has proclaimed the Word but though he wanted them to believe, he couldn’t make them. It is the same with us today. We can only tell others about Jesus; we can’t make them believe. The Holy Spirit may be moving, but God has structured this world so that we can refuse to follow Him.

The Jews had their own religious kingdom and Jesus wasn’t what they expected in a Messiah. They were sincere but blinded to the truth and became malicious. The same type of thing still happens today. Even as a baby, it was predicted that many would oppose Jesus. Luke 2: 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him.[2]

Don’t be surprised when people oppose the Gospel. It may not be what they want to believe, and they may not want to set aside their desires for God’s desire for them. Do what Paul did, plant a seed but them move onto those who are more open. To hear more about Paul in Corinth, listen here:

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

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

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Paul had arrived in Corinth and the first place that he taught was in the synagogue. Acts 18: Each Sabbath he would engage both Jews and Greeks in debate in the synagogue in an attempt to persuade them of his message.[1] Paul had a God given burden for the lost. It was the same burden that Jesus felt.

 Matt.9: 35 Jesus went through many towns and villages. He taught in their synagogues. He preached the good news of the kingdom of God. He healed every disease and sickness. 36 Whenever crowds came to Him, He had compassion for them because they were so deeply distraught, malaised, and heart-broken. They seemed to Him like lost sheep without a shepherd. 37 Jesus understood what an awesome task was before Him, so He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest to send more workers into His harvest field.”[2]

Paul knew that the people in Corinth were the same as the ones Jesus dealt with. He also knew that they couldn’t believe unless they heard the message. Rom. 10: 14 How can people invoke His name when they do not believe? How can they believe in Him when they have not heard? How can they hear if there is no one proclaiming Him? 15 How can some give voice to the truth if they are not sent by God? As Isaiah said, “Ah, how beautiful the feet of those who declare the good news of victory, of peace and liberation.”[3]

How can we all become aware of how much God loves each person? How can we become aware of how God wants all to be saved? I think meditating on Paul’s actions on his mission trip will give us a model. It may be that God will give us all a burden for the lost and move us to action.

To hear more about Paul’s burden for the lost, listen here:

[1,2,3] The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society 

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Luke writes about Paul’s second mission trip in the book of Acts. He doesn’t include many details, though. We can find more details about the mission trip in the letters that Paul writes to the churches. By putting the details from the letters with the story from Acts we can come up with a more complete story that would go something like this:

Then Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.[1] When Paul arrived, he didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell God’s mystery. He had decided that while he was with there, he would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. Paul came in weakness—timid and trembling. His message and preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, he relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. He did this so they would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.[2]

 There he became acquainted with a Jew named Aquila, born near the Black Sea, who had recently arrived from Italy with his wife, Priscilla. They had left Italy when Claudius Caesar deported all Jews from Rome. Paul lived and worked with them, for they were tentmakers just as he was.

 Each Sabbath found Paul at the synagogue, trying to convince the Jews and Greeks alike.And after Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia (northern Greece), Paul spent all his time preaching the word.[3]

For Paul had humbled himself and respected the Corinthians by preaching God’s Good News to them without expecting anything in return. He accepted contributions from other churches so he could serve the Corinthians at no cost. When he didn’t have enough to live on, he did not become a financial burden to anyone. When Silas and Timothy came from Philippi and Thessalonica (Macedonia) they brought him all that he needed.[4]

Timothy also brought good news about the Thessalonian church. He reported that they remembered their visit with joy and longed to see Paul again. This encouraged Paul amid his trouble and suffering. When he heard they were standing firm in the Lord, it gave Paul new life to continue preaching.[5]

The narrative in Acts give us context for the details in Paul’s letters and the details in Paul’s letters fill out the narrative of Luke as he writes Acts. What does the context of your life tell about you? How does the fuller story of Paul in Corinth give you insight?

To hear more about Paul in Corinth, listen here:

[1] Acts 18:1

[2] 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

[3] Acts 18:2-5a

[4] 2 Corinthians 11:7-9

[5] 1 Thess. 3:6-8

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1 Thess. 3: You can imagine my relief and joy when Timothy returned to us with such good news about you, about your faith and love for us, about how you have such good memories of us and long to see us as much as we long to see you. Hearing this about your faith, brothers and sisters, brought comfort to us in our stress-filled days of trouble and suffering.[1]

While Paul had been in Athens, he sent Timothy back to check on the Thessalonian church. If you remember, Paul had been forced out of Thessalonica by an angry mob. Paul was still concerned about these new believers. If the mob had been hard on him, what was it doing to the new believers?

Paul wanted to “parent” these new believers, but he couldn’t go back. So, he did the next best thing. He sent Timothy back to check on them. By the time Timothy could return to Paul, Paul had moved on to Corinth.

Athens had been discouraging and now Paul was working hard in Corinth. When Timothy returns with the good news of how the Thessalonian church continues to grow, it spurred Paul on. His work in Thessalonica hadn’t been in vain. Paul writes a letter back to the Thessalonian church that continues to encourage them, and it shares how much their good news had encouraged him.

This letter has been preserved as 1 Thessalonians in our Bibles. It gives us personal insight into the ministry of Paul and how he supported himself as he evangelized on his mission trip. It also gives us insight into the relationships that Paul had with those he preached to. The faith and love appeared to be mutual with the people and Paul.

What encourages you as you follow Jesus? How important are other believers? We see in the 1st century church that they freely shared encouragement and their love for each other.

To hear more about Paul and his time in Corinth, listen here:

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

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2 Cor:11: And when I was with you and didn’t have enough to live on, I did not become a financial burden to anyone. For the brothers who came from Macedonia brought me all that I needed. I have never been a burden to you, and I never will be[1]

As we saw yesterday, Paul didn’t want to be a burden as he began to plant a church in Corinth. He humbled himself and worked as a tent maker to support himself. This went on until Timothy and Silas returned from Macedonia, or northern Greece. They brought funds from the churches there that allowed Paul to go back to preaching full time.

But how do reconcile what Paul did with what Jesus told His disciples when He sent them out? Matt. 10: 10 Don’t carry a traveler’s bag with a change of clothes and sandals or even a walking stick. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve to be fed. Basically, Jesus is telling His followers that they should be paid as they work for Him.  

The clue to the answer is in our passage for today. The churches in Macedonia sent funds. These would have been Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea. These were brand new churches that Paul had planted only months earlier. If we assume Paul didn’t charge the people there as he planted the church, something has changed. Now that they are churches, they seem to be supporting their leaders and reaching out to support Paul.

Paul, himself, gives more explanation in 1 Cor. 9: For it is written in the law of Moses: You should never put a muzzle over the mouth of an ox while he is treading out the grain.

Tell me, is God only talking about oxen here? 10 Doesn’t he also give us this principle so that we won’t withhold support from his workers? It was written so that we would understand that the one spiritually “plowing” and spiritually “treading out the grain” also labors with the expectation of enjoying the harvest. 11 So, if we’ve sowed many spiritual gifts among you, is it too much to expect to reap material gifts from you? 12 And if you have supported others, don’t we rightfully deserve this privilege even more?

But as you know, we haven’t used that right. Instead, we have continued to support ourselves so that we would never be a hindrance to the spread of the gospel of Christ.[2]

How well do you support your pastor? Pastors not only need financial support but encouragement along the way.

To hear more about Paul in Corinth, listen here:

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

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

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2 Cor. 11: Was I wrong when I humbled myself and honored you by preaching God’s Good News to you without expecting anything in return? I “robbed” other churches by accepting their contributions so I could serve you at no cost. [1]

When Paul began to preach the Gospel in Corinth, he didn’t charge for his services. He worked during the day as a tent maker with Priscilla and Aquila and preached the Gospel in the evenings. There is wisdom in not charging for evangelism. Many times today, unbelievers see preachers as greedy and after their money. Unfortunately, there are some unscrupulous preachers who do take advantage of others. This kind of thing stops the advance of the Gospel.

Paul was humble and didn’t elevate himself as someone special who deserved great amounts of money. He allowed other churches to send financial support and to give prayer support. This involved not only himself but others in the kingdom. It was a team effort. It allowed the church to come together to build God’s kingdom, Paul wasn’t the “rock star” pastor out to build a name for himself.

How about you? How can you become part of a team to build the Kingdom of God?

To hear more of Paul’s story in Corinth, listen here:

[1] 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 18:1When Paul left Athens he traveled to Corinth, where he met a Jewish man named Aquila, who was originally from northeastern Turkey. He and his wife, Priscilla, had recently emigrated from Italy to Corinth because Emperor Claudius had expelled all the Jews from Rome. Since Paul and Aquila were both tentmakers by trade, Paul moved in with them and they became business partners.[1]

It appears that Paul had spent most of his time in Athens alone. He had sent Timothy and Silas north to check on the churches they had planted in Thessalonica, Berea, and Philippi. There hadn’t been much fruit in Athens, few people had come to faith. Paul most likely was discouraged and lonely. When he came to Corinth, some of the first people he met were Aquila and Priscilla.

I think Aquila and Priscilla were divine appointment for Paul. They would have encouraged him. They knew what it was to be kicked out of a community. They had to leave Rome because of an unfavorable political climate to Jews. They had a common trade with Paul, tent making. Paul’s work as a tent maker most likely brought in needed income. They also provided a place for Paul to live while he preached the Gospel. They would later become key people in Paul’s missionary team. Personal relationships are important in ministry. I think God has designed us to need each other, especially in ministry.

The author of Hebrews explains why we need each other. Heb. 10:24 Discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love.[2] We may think encouragement is only for kids, but everyone, even adults need encouragement. The spiritual walk with Jesus can be a battle at times but fellow believers can help us along the way.

Where in your life has God sent divine appointments? Have you ever been a divine appointment for someone else?

To hear more about Paul, Priscilla and Aquila, listen here:

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

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1 Cor. 2:I stood before you feeling inadequate, filled with reverence for God and trembling under the sense of the importance of my words. The message I preached and how I preached it was not an attempt to sway you with persuasive arguments but to prove to you the almighty power of God’s Holy Spirit. For God intended that your faith not be established on man’s wisdom but by trusting in his almighty power.[1]

Paul had tried to use convincing wise word to sway the crowd in Athens and failed. Very few listened and fewer still became believers. By the time he arrived in Corinth, he probably felt a bit battered. Could it be that he decided not to try the theological speech? He knew God had sent him on this mission trip and he obviously has great respect for God. He knew how important words could be.

Instead of using his extensive Jewish training, he decides to let the Spirit work. When he had tried to use man’s wisdom it had not worked well. He began to understand that you can’t argue anyone into faith. That comes by the power of the Holy Spirit. 1 Cor. 2: 13 And we articulate these realities with the words imparted to us by the Spirit and not with the words taught by human wisdom. We join together Spirit-revealed truths with Spirit-revealed words. 14 Someone living on an entirely human level rejects the revelations of God’s Spirit, for they make no sense to him. He can’t understand the revelations of the Spirit because they are only discovered by the illumination of the Spirit.[2]

It is good to know why you believe what you believe, but we still can’t argue anyone to faith. That is still the job of the Holy Spirit. As we share our faith, we need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading so that we can act as the hands and feet of Jesus to those around us.

To hear how Paul cooperated with the Holy Spirit when he was in Corinth, listen here:

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

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