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Acts Chapter 18  

Memory verses for this week:   Phil 2:12  Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

 Introduction:     In Chapter 17, Paul and his companions went into Thessalonica and reasoned with the Jews in the synagogue.  Such opposition arose that they fled to Berea were the people had a more ready mind to test the words to see if they were true.  But the Jews who opposed Paul in Thessalonica came down to Berea and cause much trouble.   Paul then went to Athens, were he declared the “unknown god” that they ignorantly worshipped to the people there on Mars Hill.  This week, Paul arrives in Corinth.  Corinth was the culture capital of the world during this time, but God’s view of the city was not like the world’s view.  It was a commercial place of great importance, and had many activities going on in it like fairs, races, and gambling.  Sailors came in from two different seas, and this was a very vile city.


I.                    Paul at Corinth

Acts 18:1  After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;

Acts 18:2  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.

Acts 18:3  And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers. 

In most of the recent travels, Paul had had one to four people with him.  At this time, he was by himself.  Timothy had joined Paul at Athens, but Paul sent him to Thessalonica.  Silas was still in Berea, and Luke had remained in Phillipi.  When Paul came into Corinth, we see he found a Christian family, Aquila and his wife Priscilla.  It says they had come from Italy when Claudius commanded the Jews to depart from Rome.  This couple is one of the more notable couples of the New Testament.  They had something in common with Paul, they were all tentmakers.  It is a wonderful thing to find other Christians when you travel to new cities.  And while Christians may be a minority in numbers to the world, praise the Lord you can find Christians in almost any place you travel.


II.                  Paul’s Ministry and Founding of the Church at Corinth


Acts 18:4  And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.

Acts 18:5  And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.

 Commerce was great in Corinth, and many of the Jews followed the possibility for financial gain.  We see that the Jews had a synagogue there in Corinth as was the case in most of the cities.  Paul went there every sabbath day and persuaded the Jews and Greeks with the scriptures.  How do you persuade someone?  You do it a little at a time and prove each point.  The Word of God makes it clear that Jesus Christ was the one who was prophesied to come, and he met every jot and tittle of the law as was promised.  Every thing that the Law and Prophets had to say about Christ fit him.  Paul not simply asserted that Jesus was the Christ, he solemnly testified that the virgin born son of Mary was the Christ, the very one who is Mediator between God and man today.  Only Christ can give life to the spiritually dead.   And all of us, until we accept Christ as Savior, are half dead.  We may have physical life, but the spiritual man is not alive until we are saved.


Acts 18:6  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.


When Paul first began to teach, the Jews listened to him.  But as his teachings became clear about Jesus, they opposed Paul.   Note the scriptures say they opposed themselves.  Anytime we reject God, we are at odds with our own selves.   God tells us to try and reach that man and woman who are against themselves.


2 Tim 2:24  And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,

2 Tim 2:25  In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

2 Tim 2:26  And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.


The Jews were so against the truth Paul was preaching, that he told them that he was turning his message to the Gentiles.


Acts 18:7  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.

Acts 18:8  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.


It says after Paul left the synagogue, he came to the home of Justus and began to hold services right there in the house next to the synagogue.   And it says that Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue came to the knowledge of Christ and was saved as well as several of the Corinthians who were baptized after being saved.  We know that God’s desire is for every believer to be baptized after they are saved, but not in order to be saved.   Baptism is a work of righteousness which gives us access into the church.  And we know that works of righteousness do not save us.


Mat 3:13  Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.

Mat 3:14  But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?

Mat 3:15  And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.


Titus 3:5  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Titus 3:6  Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

Titus 3:7  That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 

Acts 18:9  Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace:

Acts 18:10  For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.


We gather by these verses that Paul’s life may have been in great danger here in Corinth.  We have seen how the lost rebel against those who preach the truth if they reject the message.  Many a convicted sinner either comes to repentance, or lashes out in rebellion.   God stands by Paul in the night and tells him not to be afraid.  I looked last night, and “fear not” is in the bible 63 times.  God does not want His children to be fearful, but of a strong mind and of great courage.  And we can be when we look to God for our strength.  God promises to be with him and not let any harm come to him.  We know from verse 3 of the second book of Corinthians, that Paul had to have been threatened and in fear while being with these Christians. 

1 Cor 2:3  And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 

 Acts 18:11  And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

 This was one of the longest periods of time that Paul stayed in one area teaching the word of God to those who were saved.  Be sure that this was the very will of God for his life, as Paul was constantly seeking the Lord’s will.  John Calvin said this about verse 11:  “We do not read of Paul staying anywhere else this long; yet it is evident from his two letters not only that he had to put up with many troubles, but that he endured many unjust things because of people’s pride and ingratitude.  The Lord made him experience every kind of warfare.  We also see how hard it is to build up the church, since the best master-builder spent so much time laying the foundation of just one church.  Nor did he boast of having finished the work, but only that the Lord had replaced him with other people who would build on his foundation, as he says later that he planted, but Apollos watered.


1 Cor 3:6  I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

1 Cor 3:7  So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. 


II.  Gallio Refuses to hear  

Acts 18:12  And when Gallio was the deputy of Achaia, the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat,

Acts 18:13  Saying, This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law.

Acts 18:14  And when Paul was now about to open his mouth, Gallio said unto the Jews, If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you:

Acts 18:15  But if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look ye to it; for I will be no judge of such matters.

Acts 18:16  And he drave them from the judgment seat.

Acts 18:17  Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. And Gallio cared for none of those things.


We see that Gallio was the deputy of Achaia and was quite indifferent to the accusations the people brought against Paul.  The Jews brought Paul to the judgment seat and charged him with persuading men to worship God contrary to the law.  If this had been a case contrary to Roman law, Gallio would have heard them.   Paul was never allowed to speak, but if given a chance, I’m sure he would have told Gallio about Jesus Christ.   While it was good that he did not judge against Paul, the fact that he never heard Paul was perhaps the greatest loss of his life if he never came to know Christ as Savior later on.  It says he had nothing to do with the matter and drove them from the judgement seat.  The Jews then took the ruler of synagogue and beat him.   Anytime someone acts with bitterness and hatred, you can be sure that the love of the Lord is not in that individual.  The bible says we will know Christians by their fruits.


Mat 7:16  Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

Mat 7:17  Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

Mat 7:18  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

Mat 7:19  Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Mat 7:20  Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.


III.                Paul Returns to Antioch


Acts 18:18  And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.

Acts 18:19  And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. 

We see Paul made a vow unto the Lord and cut his hair due to this vow.  It is important that when we vow things that we stand by our word, particularly when vowing to the Lord.


Eccl 5:4  When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.

Eccl 5:5  Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.


Perhaps Paul took a temporary Nazarite vow or perhaps he took the vow for life.  A man could take a Nazarite vow for 30 days if he so chose.  (See scriptures on Nazarites in Numbers 6:2, 13, 18) 

Priscilla and Aquila accompany Paul to Ephesus, but when they arrive, he leaves them and goes into the synagogue to reason with the Jews.  I’m sure that the battles Paul faced wore him down, but he was a man with courage and conviction, and did not give up.   God needs more men like Paul in this old world today.   

Acts 18:20  When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not;

Acts 18:21  But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus.

Acts 18:22  And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch.

Acts 18:23  And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.


The people wanted Paul to stay longer, but he said the needed to go down to Jerusalem to keep the feast.  After this he sailed to Caesarea and then to Antioch, always encouraging and exhorting the church to serve the Lord.


IV.  Apollos teaches at Ephesus and in Achaia


Acts 18:24  And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.

Acts 18:25  This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.


Apollos was one of the most remarkable characters in the Bible, and no doubt God had he and Paul meet for a special reason.  He was a Jew from Alexandria and very learned and eloquent Jew.  In his commentary on Acts, J. Vernon McGee said:  “Apollos was a Jew, which meant he had the background of the Mosaic Law.  His name, Apollos, is Greek.  So he was a Hellenist of the Diaspora.  He hadn’t been born in Greece or in that area of Macedonia; he was born at Alexandria in North Africa.  Alexandria, founded by Alexander the Great, was one of the great centers of Greek culture.  A great university was there and it had one of the finest libraries in the world.  It was there that a Greek version of the Old Testament, The Septuagint, was made. There was a Jewish temple in Alexandria.  The great center of the early church moved from Jerusalem and Antioch to Alexandria, and it remained important for several centuries of early church history.  Athanasius, Tertullian, and Augustine, three great men of the early church, came from there.  We are told he was an eloquent man and a great preacher.  Also, it say he was “mighty in the scriptures” which means he was well trained in the Old Testament.”


Acts 18:26  And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.

Acts 18:27  And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:

Acts 18:28  For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, showing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.

 Although Apollos had much knowledge of the Old Testament scriptures, he had not been informed of things beyond the baptism of John.  Two of those trained under Paul’s ministry, Aquila and Priscilla, expounded unto to him the way of God more perfectly.  Most likely they brought him up to date on the things that had happened in Jerusalem about Christ dying on the cross and being raised from the dead after three days and three nights.  It says that when Apollos expressed a desire to go into Achaia, the brethren wrote letters of exhortation that the other churches might receive him with readiness of mind.   We know he was a great man, because verse 28 says that he convinced the Jews mightily by using the scriptures.


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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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