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Acts 18:12-17

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Acts 18:12–17 HCSB
12 While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack against Paul and brought him to the judge’s bench. 13 “This man,” they said, “persuades people to worship God contrary to the law!” 14 As Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of a crime or of moral evil, it would be reasonable for me to put up with you Jews. 15 But if these are questions about words, names, and your own law, see to it yourselves. I don’t want to be a judge of such things.” 16 So he drove them from the judge’s bench. 17 Then they all seized Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the judge’s bench. But none of these things concerned Gallio.
acts 18:12-17

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Intro:

Paul arrived in Corinth as a discouraged man overwhelmed by four problems( (HCSB) 3  I came to you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.

1) Paul was lonely. It is tough to be in a foreign city by yourself and not know a soul.

Paul arrived in Corinth overwhelmed by four problems (see ). 1) Paul was lonely. It is tough to be in a foreign city by yourself and not know a soul. 2) Paul was broke. He refused to take money from baby churches and had spent all his funds. 3) Paul was worried. He had started a series of baby churches and then had to abandon them with little training and he had no way to know how they were doing. 4) Paul was overwhelmed. He felt inadequate to evangelize a city like Corinth.

It was in keeping with Christ’s promise that no-one would harm Paul (10) that the Jews took him to court while Gallio was governor. When we face trouble and even danger, God can raise up support from the most unlikely places and the most unlikely people.

2) Paul was broke. He refused to take money from baby churches and had spent all his funds.

3) Paul was worried. He had started a series of baby churches and then had to abandon them with little training and he had no way to know how they were doing.

4) Paul was overwhelmed. He felt inadequate to evangelize a city like Corinth.

In this context, Jesus knew just what to say to Paul, “One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you because I have many people in this city’ ” (). Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid and don’t stop—I haven’t abandoned you like other people. I will protect you from attacks (meaning you won’t be forced out like in Macedonia). I do have a great number of people here you can be a part of (you are not alone).” That is exactly what Paul needed. As a result, Paul hung in for a long mission lasting a year and a half.

It was in keeping with Christ’s promise that no-one would harm Paul (10) that the Jews took him to court while Gallio was governor. When we face trouble and even danger, God can raise up support from the most unlikely places and the most unlikely people.

I. Paul Arrested

12 While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack against Paul and brought him to the judge’s bench.

12 While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack against Paul and brought him to the judge’s bench.

Jewish opposition to Paul’s preaching continues to grow in Corinth. The Jews from the synagogue launched a united attack on Paul and took him by force before the Roman governor, where they charge him with violating their own law (the Torah). The real essence of their complaint before Gallio is the Jews’ contention that the Jesus movement is not a legitimate form of Judaism and, therefore, should not come under the same legal protection under Roman law.

II. Paul Accused

13 “This man,” they said, “persuades people to worship God contrary to the law!”

persuades people

God was effectively using Paul to win men and women to Christ. Paul was being used to lead people to saving faith in Jesus Christ. He was “inciting” them to know God, worship God, and serve God. The missionaries work was effective and recognized by the adversaries. They didn’t like what Paul was doing, but they were aware of what Paul was doing. Can it be said of us that we “persuade men?” Are we being used by God to point others to Jesus? Paul had a reputation in Corinth of making Christ known! “persuades people to worship God contrary to the law!”

“persuades people to worship God contrary to the law!”

They accused Paul of persuading men to worship God in ways contrary to the Law of Moses.

Worship: sebomai, seb'-om-ahee; to revere, i.e. adore :- devout, religious, worship.

Paul was preaching to the people that:

→they had to trust Jesus to know God,

→they had to praise Jesus to worship God,

→they had to come through Jesus to approach God!

This was contrary to what they wanted to hear— though it was not contrary to the Law. It was in the Pentateuch that we learn of:

the One that would come and crush the serpents head—

the Son that would be offered in place of Isaac—

the Prophet that would come that they must

hear—

the Rock that gave living Water—

the Manna from Heaven!

Paul was not teaching contrary to the Law—but what was in fulfillment of the Law. The Jews didn’t want people worshiping God through Jesus! They rejected the fact that Jesus was their Messiah. So they brought Paul before the judgment seat and accused him before Gallio.

III. Paul Acquitted

14 As Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of a crime or of moral evil, it would be reasonable for me to put up with you Jews. 15 But if these are questions about words, names, and your own law, see to it yourselves. I don’t want to be a judge of such things.” 16 So he drove them from the judge’s bench.

Paul was ready to defend himself against the charges of the Corinthian Jews, but he was cut short by the Roman governor, who dismisses the case and thus does not need to hear Paul’s arguments.

Acts: Expanded Digital Edition Explanation of the Text

Paul was ready to defend himself against the charges of the Corinthian Jews, but he was cut short by the Roman proconsul, who dismisses the case and thus does not need to hear Paul’s arguments.

This judge saw that the Jews were trying to twist their law into the Roman law. He saw the problem was a religious issue not a Roman issue.

Gallio declared the case a frivolous interfaith dispute and threw it out of court. Gallio thus gave Christianity the legal protection of Judaism. This was an important legal precedent. For another decade, Christianity was free from official Roman persecution. The promise of The Lord. The protection Paul received from Gallio not exercising judgment against him fulfills the promise of The Lord about Lord himself protecting Paul (). Paul left the court without a scratch. The Lord had promised, and God delivered. 16 So he drove them from the judge’s bench.

Case Dismissed, Gallio wasn’t playing games—he didn’t want to hear any more about it. There would be no rebuttal—no cross examination—no retrial. The Jews were removed from the judgment seat.

IV. Paul Avenged

17 Then they all seized Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the judge’s bench. But none of these things concerned Gallio.

Sosthenes, a new leader of the synagogue, tried to have Paul beaten and imprisoned, but was himself beaten by an angry Gentile mob after the governor refused to hear the case.

Sosthenes, a new leader of the synagogue, tried to have Paul beaten and imprisoned, but was himself beaten by an angry Gentile mob after the governor refused to hear the case.

After Gallio drove the Jews away from the judgment seat, some Greeks took out their anger toward Jews on Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue. Jews were not liked so well by many of the Greeks. The Greeks took advantage of Gallio's attitude toward the Jews that brought Paul before him and seized Sosthenes. The Greeks began beating Sosthenes in front of Gallio. Gallio did not show any concern at all for what was being done to Sosthenes by the Greeks. He considered the situation to be outside his jurisdiction. , it is apparent that the beating Sosthenes received must have made a deep impact on his life. It is apparent that Sosthenes gave his life to Christ some time later. I say this because Paul addressed his first letter to the Corinthians from himself and Sosthenes his brother and the brother of the Corinthians. This shows a picture of the power of the love and grace of God. Sosthenes was once in opposition to Paul and the gospel. In , he is called the brother of the one he at one time opposed. The providence is always at work in taking care of children of God. God has a way of miraculously protecting his children in times of danger. The story is told that the enemy of the English sparrow is the Cooper hawk. The Cooper hawk is bold in its pursuit of sparrows. Sparrows have learned to get away from Cooper hawks by hiding in barberry bushes. When the Cooper hawk tries to get to the sparrow, the sparrow whirls away to his sure safety. The Cooper hawk swoops down and hops around the thorny barberry bush and then flies away out of frustration. The life of the sparrow is protected because of the thorns of the barberry bush. God has many ways of protecting his children from danger. We just have to learn to trust him and watch him at work. He causes all things to work together for good to those who love him, those who are called according to his purpose. This is why we can sing with the hymn writer—

Willmington’s Bible Handbook The Witness to the Ends of the Earth (9:32–28:31)

Sosthenes, a new leader of the synagogue, tried to have Paul beaten and imprisoned, but was himself beaten by an angry Gentile mob after the governor refused to hear the case.

Willmington’s Bible Handbook The Witness to the Ends of the Earth (9:32–28:31)

Sosthenes, a new leader of the synagogue, tried to have Paul beaten and imprisoned, but was himself beaten by an angry Gentile mob after the governor refused to hear the case.

His Eye is on the Sparrow

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come, Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home, When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He: His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free, For His eye is on the sparrow, And I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear, And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears; Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free, For His eye is on the sparrow, And I know He watches me.

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise, When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies, I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free, For His eye is on the sparrow, And I know He watches me.

Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary, NewTestament - Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary on the New Testament – John, Acts.
George Brooks Preaching Commentary - George Brooks Preaching Commentary – Expositions from the Book of Acts: Volume 2.
The Jack Andrews Expository Studies - The Jack Andrews Expository Studies – Understanding Acts - Volume 5.
Schnabel, Eckhard J. Acts. Expanded Digital Edition. Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012.
The Bible Speaks Today - The Bible Speaks Today – The Message of Acts: To the ends of the earth.
Schnabel, Eckhard J. Acts. Expanded Digital Edition. Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012.
Analytical Bible Expositor - Analytical Bible Expositor – Acts.
Bouchelle, Dan. : The Gospel Unhindered. 3:16 Bible Commentary Series. Joplin, MO: HeartSpring Publishing, 2005.
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