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Encouragement In Sin City

Church on the Move  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  49:40
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Paul recieves a vision to encourage him in Acts 18 while ministering in Corinth. What truths did this vision remind Paul of that fostered encouragement to be resilient in ministry?

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Encouragement in Sin City Acts 18:1-17 Introduction: Going to preach to myself and you’re going to be allowed to listen in. That ok? FCF: We all get discouraged. • We feel beaten down & Discouraged ◦ Children – family ◦ Finances ◦ Devotional Life ◦ Consistency and victory of sin or addiction. ◦ Job ◦ Emotionally drained ◦ Your church. • Especially Ministers: ◦ J. Mack, “a little appreciated truth about the ministry is that pastors and missionaries, perhaps more than other believers, are subject to discouragement. ◦ Paul did (causes are similar to those listed by Spurgeon) ▪ No down time. • Been to salamis, Paphos, Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe, Macedonia (Athens, Corinth & on to Ephesus). ▪ Rebound – long emotional – not rebounding as quickly. ▪ Break off of Barnabas situation. ▪ Nature of ministry. ◦ Discouraging; ▪ Betrayal & desertion of friends & won’ tell why they left or the offense. Main Point: Big Idea: Proposition God encourages weary servants. Text Intro: Ministry @ Corinth. • 2nd longest @ any church – 18 months. 3 years in Ephesus. Isthmus • Context: Corinth ◦ Isthmus: ▪ Trade commerce. • Provincial capital. ▪ Known for luxury & great influence. ◦ Known for Luxury & immorality ▪ If Athens intellectual, Corinth the amusement and luxury capital. ▪ Isthmian Games ▪ Aphrodite (or Venus) ◦ Pride & Immorality. ▪ Produced “much trembling” 1 Corinthians 2:ff ▪ Paul is incarnational in the city. ▪ This was intimidating. Transition: In the face of a difficult & challenging relationship with the church & strong persecution God sends a vision to encourage Paul (vs. 8-11) in that vision are 3 areas of encouragement for us to. Encouragement in the face of opposition. Body: Some really good things happen in the midst of his discouragement. • Pricilla & Aquilla ◦ Pricilla’s Name listed first ◦ Christus (Greek name for Jesus) ▪ They were already believers when they came. ◦ Co-workers ◦ Encouragement of Lay co-laborers (lay ministers who became key partners in Paul’s Ministry) ▪ Risked their necks – Romans • Tentmaking: = Leather worker. ▪ Trade taught to all Jewish fathers to their sons. “a father who failed to teach his son a trade, taught his son to be a thief” ◦ Paul’s practice was tentmaking and not expecting financial support from those he was evangelizing. • Silas & Timothy come: ◦ They bring 2 things: 1. Good news of Thessalonian faith and love. 2. Gift. ▪ Vs 5. Tim & Silas eventually brought a financial gift from the churches of Macedonia (Cor 11:8-9 & Phil 4:14-15. ▪ These funds freed up Paul to go on staff “full-time” “exclusively to Preaching” “Occupied with preaching” • Vs 7: Forced to leave Synagogue: ◦ Thought this seems like failure – Titius Justus & Crispus (Ruler of the Synagogue) & his family believe and are baptized (1 Cor 1:14- Paul personally baptized Crispus. ◦ App: Sometimes what is perceived as failure has success in it. ▪ Force from public synagogue to private house. Even with Fellowship of Coworkers and seeming success Paul was still discouraged. God speaks directly to Paul in this vision. • If Paul needed this – we definitely do. 1. If anyone didn’t need a lecture on the antue of God, it was Paul. 2. If anyone was fearless in the face of opposition it was Paul. 3. He’s just being human. a. Perhaps loosing his nerve a bit. Scripture 1. Presence (I am with you vs 10) Vs 9-10 “do not be afraid…I am with you.” • Echoes similar call to OT individuals. ◦ Moses (ex:3:2-12) Joshua (Josh 1:1-9), Jeremiah (Jer 1:5-10) , the servant of the Lord (Is 42:1-4) Their form is that of a divine commissioning narrative in which God or his angel appears to a human agent, gives a task to be performed, and gives an assurance of his presence. The form already is familiar from previous incidents in Acts (5:17–21; 9:10–18; 16:6–10), and Paul would have similar visions on subsequent occasions (23:11; 27:23–24). All of these have elements familiar from the Old Testament texts that treat the call of the prophets—Moses (Exod 3:2–12), Joshua (Josh 1:1–9), Jeremiah (Jer 1:5–10), and the servant of the Lord (Isa 41:10–14). Even the same wording binds all these together: “Fear not; do not be silent; I am with you; no one will harm you” (author’s translation).1 ◦ What Yahweh said to His servants in the OT Jesus says to His in the NT. “Iam with you” • Theme of Acts & the Great commission also ◦ Matt 28:19-20 “I am with you always…” ◦ Presence of the Holy Spirit • Application: ◦ God’ promises protection from God’s wrath and the presence of the HS. Scripture 2. Protection “no one will harm you” Vs. 12-17 gives important info regarding the date & time. Galio Ad 52. So Paul was there (50-52 AD) ◦ His decision has important ramifications of Christianity’s legal state. ◦ Declaring it to be an internal Jewish debate. • God uses a negative to fulfill His promised protection. ◦ Judgement Seat – ▪ Bema Seat Large platforms that stood int eh Agora in front of the proconsul ▪ Called vs. 12” before the tribunal” ◦ Nero Executed Seneca & Gallio. ◦ Ironic that the man who intervened in Corinth to save Paul’s life was later killed by Nero who also killed Paul. • The prophecy of protection seemed to fail, but it was the Roman proconsul that was the tool God used to protect Paul and allow the Gospel and the church the gospel produce to flourish. ◦ Jesus keeps his promise to protect Paul, and the main means he used to do so is Roman law. “he’s got the whole world in his hands” 3. Predestination / Providence in Salvation “I have many in this city” Vs. 10 Much people in this city / many in this city • God speaks directly to Paul encouraging him to remain in Corinth despite his frustrations, because God apparently has much people to redeem there. • Not yet converted ◦ Not yet converted. • Jesus said the same thing. ◦ “other sheep have I that are not of this fold” – speaking of Gentiles that had not believed in Him but would. • Whether it is foreknowledge or predestination the net result is that God’s sovereignty produces confidence and encouragement in evangelism. ◦ It will not be in vain. The connection of thought would appear to be that since God has many people to be won for the gospel in Corinth Paul will not be prevented by hostile action from continuing his missionary work until God’s purpose is complete. The expression, however, is an unusual one, since it uses the term people for those who are not yet converted. The saying indicates divine foreknowledge of the success of the gospel in Corinth (cf. 13:48). Fortified by this message, Paul could look forward to its double fulfilment in his safekeeping from persecution (18:12–17) and in his successful evangelism (18:11). 2 • Motivation for evangelism ◦ Packer, “far from inhibiting evangelism, faith in the sofereignty of God’s government and grace is the only thing that will sustain it, for it is the only thing that can give us resilience that we need if we are to evangelize boldly and persistently, and not be daunted by setbacks.” ▪ Prayer ▪ The method is the gospel ▪ The enterprise is love – genuine respect - freinedliness • Order of Salvation: ◦ “some appeal to this for unscripturesal practices in evangelism. ▪ M. Barrett, “they either hesitate to offer the gospel to sinners indiscriminately or else cout the invitation of the gospel in such guarded terms that he sinner is constantly looking inside himself for signs of grace rather than looking outside himself to Christ. ▪ This should not be a hinderance to evangelism. ▪ “any understanding of the gospel that prevents its free offer to sinners manifests a gross misunderstanding” “This conviction is the greatest of all encouragements to an evangelist” ◦ The word of God is the means…Note that this is what gives life. ▪ Oh church get this. Life & joy are in the Word. Conclusion: Main Point: (Proposition| Big Idea) God encourages weary servants. Application: What should we: know, feel, do? How does the Gospel affect this? Memorable Statement: Skeleton: What was the encouragement for Paul? 1. Presence 2. Protection 3. Predestination
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