Do Not Be Afraid For I Am With You
Acts 18:1-22 – March 12, 2023
Acts 18:1. Corinth was about 50 miles Southwest of Athens. Had two seaports. Because of the dangers of sailing around the Peloponnesus it was common to haul ships across the Isthmus (land bridge). The temple of Aphrodite was nearby and had as many as 1,000 prostitutes. To call someone a Corinthian was to call them a pervert.
Acts 18:2-3. Married couple, both worked as tentmakers and are never mentioned apart. What they meant to Paul is shown in what he wrote in Romans 16:3-4, 3 Greet Priscillaand Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. 4 They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.
Acts 18:4-5.We should know this by now, that it was Paul’s invariable rule: he preached first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles. Paul would write in his first letter to the Corinthians 2:3, 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling.
Acts 18:6-8. In verse 6 Paul’s departure was dramatic, but it was to make a point as well. He had given them the good news and they had rejected it and he was done with them. It seems as if he was following the dictum Jesus gave in Matthew 7:6, 6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
Acts 18:9-11. All that had happened before had caused Paul to become fearful. Yet Jesus was telling him, Do not be afraid, for I am with you. The world wants us to be afraid to talk about Jesus, to share our faith, to speak out.
We are able to comfort others because we have been comforted, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
Acts 18:12-13. This was a big deal for if Gallio had accepted the Jewish charge and found Paul guilty of the alleged offense, provincial governors everywhere would have had a precedent, and the Christian ministry would have been severely restricted.
Acts 18:14-17. That Gallio had to have the Jews driven form the judgment seat implies they did not accept Gallio’s ruling and wanted to stay and argue with him. Then when they remained, the crowd turned on Sosthenes known as the synagogue leader and beat him.
Acts 18:18. So Paul took a vow, why? We are not told. However, it is important to remember Paul was and remained a Jew when he became a Christian. He never forgot he was Jewish. Caution.
Acts 18:19-21. Going back to Acts 16:6, Paul had wanted to preach in Ephesus earlier but was prevented by the Holy spirit. Sometimes what we think is a NO is in reality a WAIT.
Paul left Priscilla and Aquila there to continue the work he and they had started there.
Acts 18:22. When it says that Paul had gone up to and greeted the church, it means he went up to Jerusalem and fulfilled his Nazirite vow in the temple. Going down to Antioch, Paul returned to his home church in Syrian Antioch.
Bottom Line: Psalm 23:4, Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.