Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sundays Sermon notes

2015.02.15                                             Acts 18:1- 11
           Paul Preaches the Gospel in Corinth
We are studying the early days of the church in the book of Acts... We study verse by verse so that we can see the big picture.... As we follow Paul we see wonderful adventures... We see very hard times.... As Paul finds the will of God we can learn from him and all that have gone before us.... Paul has been experiencing both open and closed doors…… Everywhere he goes he is being opposed by the Jewish leaders who refuse to repent and believe the Gospel…… They chased him out of Thessalonica…. And so Paul went to Berea….. The Bereans were careful to search the scriptures and many believed….. But when his enemies and found out that he was in Berea they followed him there….. They were determined to shut him up….. He was like a lightning rod attracting their hatred and so Paul left Timothy and Silas in Berea and he went to Athens…. There he proclaimed Jesus as the one true God and creator of everything…. It was a very difficult season in Paul´s ministry…… He was being beaten and harassed everywhere he went….  He was a great man…. And normally a fearless proclaimer of the Gospel…… But this string of difficult events had in fact discouraged Paul greatly…. Here is where pick up our text from last week….. acts18…v1…

Acts 18: 1-3                            NKJV
1 After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. 2 And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them. 3 So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers.
Acts 18: 1-3                            slt 2000
1 Danach aber verließ Paulus Athen und kam nach Korinth.
2 Und dort fand er einen Juden namens Aquila, aus Pontus gebürtig, der vor kurzem mit seiner Frau Priscilla aus Italien gekommen war, weil Claudius befohlen hatte, daß alle Juden Rom verlassen sollten;1 zu diesen ging er,
3 und weil er das gleiche Handwerk hatte, blieb er bei ihnen und arbeitete; sie waren nämlich von Beruf Zeltmacher.
v1-3… At this point Paul is feeling very discouraged…. Luke did not directly record these facts in the Acts….
We know this from the letters that he wrote… As we will see Paul spent 18 months in Corinth… He wrote some of his letters from there… Let´s look at what he wrote to the church in Corinth as he looked back on his time with them…. 1 cor 2…v3
1 Corinthians 2:3               NKJV   slt 2000
3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.
3 Und ich war in Schwachheit und mit viel Furcht und Zittern bei euch.
He arrived in Corinth…. Beaten and bruised… He was dealing with some real discouragement…..   The   sinfulness and wickedness of the city must have caused his fear and trembling to increase…..
So God sets about to comfort the apostle through a series of circumstances that we find in the founding of the church at Corinth……. It´s often difficult to wait and trust Him…. It is hard for us to wait while God to puts us through deep waters and times of uncertainty…. It is hard to find the patience to wait and see what He's going to do…... We know that Paul took comfort from the Word of God in His hard times….. He encouraged the Romans to learn patience and find comfort from the scriptures…. Turn with me to Romans 15…v4….
Romans 15: 4-6                               NKJV 
4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
5 Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus,
6 that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15: 4-6                               slt 2000
4 Denn alles, was zuvor geschrieben worden ist, wurde zu unserer Belehrung zuvor geschrieben, damit wir durch das Ausharren und den Trost3 der Schriften Hoffnung fassen.
5 Der Gott des Ausharrens und des Trostes4 aber gebe euch, untereinander eines Sinnes zu sein, Christus Jesus gemäß,
6 damit ihr einmütig, mit einem Mund den Gott und Vater unseres Herrn Jesus Christus lobt.
I´m sure that Paul read and repeated the Word of God to himself when times were tough…. There are so many places in the scriptures to find comfort and encouragement….Take a look at what the psalmist wrote in Psalm 27….v11…
Psalm 27: 11-14            NKJV   slt 2000
11 Teach me Your way, O Lord, And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.
12 Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries; For false witnesses have risen against me, And such as breathe out violence.
13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living.
14 Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!

Psalm 27: 11-14                     NKJV   slt 2000
11 Zeige mir, Herr, deinen Weg und leite mich auf ebener Bahn um meiner Feinde willen!
12 Gib mich nicht preis der Gier meiner Feinde, denn falsche Zeugen sind gegen mich aufgestanden und stoßen Drohungen aus.
13 Ach, wenn ich nicht gewiß wäre, daß ich die Güte des Herrn sehen werde im Land der Lebendigen —
14 Harre auf den Herrn! Sei stark, und dein Herz fasse Mut, und harre auf den Herrn!
Two times in verse 14…. We read wait on the LORD…. Don´t panic…. Wait….
Let´s look at what Isaiah wrote in the great comfort chapter….40…. It starts out in verse 1 saying Comfort ye…. Comfort ye my people…. Let´s read…v31….
Isaiah 40: 31                               NKJV   slt2000
31 "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall walk and not be weary. They shall run and not faint."

31 aber die auf den Herrn harren, kriegen neue Kraft, daß sie auffahren mit Flügeln wie Adler, daß sie laufen und nicht matt werden, daß sie wandeln und nicht müde werden.
This is an important lesson for us…… If we learn to wait on the Lord…. Even in the most difficult circumstances…… We will find ourselves encouraged……. Paul learned from his own experiences with very hard times….. that God is the God of all comfort…… This is exactly what Paul wrote back to the Corinthians in 2 Cor 1…. He said "God is the God of all comfort."… Let´s read it….v3,4…
2 Corinthians 1: 3,4                          NKJV   slt 2000
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
3 Gelobt sei der Gott und Vater unseres Herrn Jesus Christus, der Vater der Barmherzigkeit und Gott alles Trostes,
4 der uns tröstet in all unserer Bedrängnis, damit wir die trösten können, die in allerlei Bedrängnis sind, durch den Trost, mit dem wir selbst von Gott getröstet werden.
What a great text…. What a great Bible truth that Paul shares with us in these verses…. Paul wrote about the God of all comfort from His own real life experiences……. He says….. Man it was horrible…... But God saw me through…..
God moves to comfort him encourage him….. Through the circumstances at Corinth….. As we will see… God really sets about to encourage His discouraged apostle…..
Next God encouraged him with companionship……
v2…The apostle is introduced to two people who become lifelong friends and co-laborers in the Gospel….. God encouraged him in his loneliness and discouragement…. God was preparing him to face the very difficult task that was before him…..  the task of evangelizing this sinful city of Corinth……  And so Paul meets Aquilla and Priscilla and they become friends and coworkers….. He finds himself to be a little stronger….. and so he begins to preach in the Synagogue…. That was his normal routine….
Routines help us to cope with our disappointment and discouragement…. He was ministering one day at a time…. back to Acts 18…v4…
Acts 18: 4-8                      NKJV
4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.
5 When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ.
6 But when they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them, “Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
7 And he departed from there and entered the house of a certain man named Justus, one who worshiped God, whose house was next door to the synagogue.
8 Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized.

Acts 18: 4-8                      slt 2000
4 Er hatte aber jeden Sabbat Unterredungen in der Synagoge und überzeugte Juden und Griechen.
5 Als aber Silas und Timotheus aus Mazedonien ankamen, wurde Paulus durch den Geist gedrängt, den Juden zu bezeugen, daß Jesus der Christus ist.
6 Als sie aber widerstrebten und lästerten, schüttelte er die Kleider aus und sprach zu ihnen: Euer Blut sei auf eurem Haupt! Ich bin rein davon; von nun an gehe ich zu den Heiden!
7 Und er ging von dort weg und begab sich in das Haus eines gottesfürchtigen Mannes mit Namen Justus, dessen Haus an die Synagoge stieß.
8 Krispus aber, der Synagogenvorsteher, wurde an den Herrn gläubig samt seinem ganzen Haus; auch viele Korinther, die zuhörten, wurden gläubig und ließen sich taufen.
v4… And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath…. Paul was effective as he reasoned among the Jews and Greeks….. The Greeks present in the synagogue were Gentiles interested in Judaism…… They were usually proselytes….. They had accepted the Word of God and Judaism but were not circumcised….

v5… When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia   When Timothy came, he brought news about how the Christians in Thessalonica were remaining strong in the faith… Paul wrote to them from Corinth as well…. 1 Thessalonians….. Timothy  was a tremendous blessing and encouragement to Paul….. He reported that the Church in Thessalonia was doing well….. Paul was deeply blessed and thankful…. This brought Paul great joy….. The good report and the money that they gave encouraged  him on in ministry…. He was able to step up his evangelism and not have to work so much….
You could translate this next part… Paul was then totally given over to the Word, or the ministry of the Word….. He boldly testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ…. The long promised Messiah…. But then…. Opposition raises its ugly head again….. Another blow for Paul… His skin is still a little thin….
v6a….They opposed themselves, blasphemed…. Everytime the Gospel is proclaimed those who hear are forced to decide….. They either repent and believe the Gospel…. Or they refuse to repent and become enemies of the Gospel….
v6b… and he shook his raiment…. That means that he released himself from responsibility by that gesture….. He said, "Your blood is on your own heads. I'm clean…… In other words, "I've delivered the Gospel…… I've done my part……   You're responsible….. From now on, I will go to the Gentiles…..
Then he began his ministry among the Gentiles….. He departed from there, entered a certain man's house named Titus Justus….. It seems that this is probably the Gaius mentioned in 1 Corinthians 1:14….  
He went into this man's house….. This man was one who worshipped God….. a Gentile God fearer…..  His house was next door to the synagogue……  
 Notice that Paul did not forbid Jews from coming to Jesus….. He continued to minister to individuals whenever he could…. But he began to focus more on the Gentiles….
v8a… Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household…. That must've been a fantastic event…..  Crispus in his office as the chief of the synagogue…. Was loved and respected by the jews...… It must have been difficult enough for the Jews see the salvation of the man who lived next door…..  Now they see their own leader saved…..
It´s clear that others were converted upon hearing that the man who knew the Scriptures better than any one in the city….. Had repented and believed the Gospel.....
v8b… And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized…..  This shows us once again that the Good News of the Gospel…. The Word of God is what the Holy Spirit uses to transform lives…. What good news indeed….. Here in Corinth…. Some opposed…. But many believed…. 
What an exciting time….. Just that little phrase, "many of the Corinthians believed," has in it many wonderful testimonies that we couldn't begin to describe…... Corinth was a very wicked place…. It was full of sexual sin and ever sin that one could imagine…
When we read in the Bible….  many of the Corinthians believed….. we might say ya…. und…. Who were they….. what were they saved out of? 
Well Paul also wrote the letter to the Romans from here in Corinth…. Some theologians believe that Paul´s description of Gentile sin and wickedness in Romans 1….is a mirror of what he found in Corinth…… Romans 1:22-32
The phrase….  many were saved doesn't sound very exciting…..  But in another place Paul himself told us about these many who were saved…. Turn with me to 1 Corinthians 6…v9…
1 Corinthians 6: 9-11                           NKJV   
9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
1 Corinthians 6: 9-11                           slt 2000
9 Wißt ihr denn nicht, daß Ungerechte das Reich Gottes nicht erben werden? Irrt euch nicht: Weder Unzüchtige noch Götzendiener, weder Ehebrecher noch Weichlinge, noch Knabenschänder,
10 weder Diebe noch Habsüchtige, noch Trunkenbolde, noch Lästerer, noch Räuber werden das Reich Gottes erben.
11 Und solche sind etliche von euch gewesen; aber ihr seid abgewaschen, ihr seid geheiligt, ihr seid gerechtfertigt worden in dem Namen des Herrn Jesus und in dem Geist unseres Gottes!
In verse 8 of Acts 18….. Inside the simple word "many are many testimonies….   Someday when we get to heaven we can hear all about it….. God was doing miracle after miracle after miracle in the salvation of souls….. Awesome…
How´s Paul doing now? Better but he is not out of the woods yet…. There was still a shadow over Paul…..
The reality of ministry on the front lines of the Spiritual battle….. Weighed on him constantly….
God sent him encouragement…. First of all, I believe that he must have  been encouraged by reminding himself of the Word of God….. Like in the Psalms…. and secondly,  by his friends new and old….. Good Christian friends can be a blessing and encouragement in our hard times…  thirdly…. By these new converts…. There were many…. Can you imagine the thrill in his heart when he started seeing God   save these people out of the Corinthian society one at a time?
What a miracle… Transformed hearts and lives are the greatest miracles…. And yet it is clear that Paul was still struggling with the pressure of Ministry in Corinth…. He was still discouraged…. Even after all these things…
In 1 Samuel 30 David was also very discouraged…. Turn with me to 1 Sam 30…v3…….
1 Samuel 30: 3-6                        NKJV   slt 2000
3 So David and his men came to the city, and there it was, burned with fire; and their wives, their sons, and their daughters had been taken captive.
4 Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep.
5 And David’s two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite, had been taken captive.
6 Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
1 Samuel 30: 3-6                            NKJV   slt 2000
3 Als nun David samt seinen Männern zur Stadt kam, siehe, da war sie mit Feuer verbrannt, und ihre Frauen, ihre Söhne und Töchter waren gefangen weggeführt worden.
4 Da erhoben David und das Volk, das bei ihm war, ihre Stimme und weinten, bis sie nicht mehr weinen konnten.
5 Auch die beiden Frauen Davids, Achinoam, die Jesreelitin, und Abigail, die Frau Nabals, des Karmeliters, waren gefangen weggeführt worden.
6 Und David war sehr bedrängt, denn das Volk wollte ihn steinigen, weil die Seele des ganzen Volks erbittert war, jeder wegen seiner Söhne und wegen seiner Töchter. David aber stärkte sich in dem Herrn, seinem Gott.
V6… David comforted himself in his God….. Paul Knew these Bible passages very well….. He knew something about people wanting to stone him…. And he was also able to take comfort in all of the things that the Lord had done for him….. He reminded himself of God´s Chesed….. His unfailing love….. I´m sure that he quoted the Word of God to himself….. Especially when he was going through hard times…. He surely also enjoyed the comfort of his new friends….. I´m sure that He rejoiced to see so many come to the Lord Jesus…… Even some of his own countrymen believed the Good News….. But as I said he was not in the clear yet….
Let´s continue in the text….acts18…v9…
Acts 18: 9-11                        NKJV
9 Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.” 11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
Acts 18:9-11                          slt 2000
9 Und der Herr sprach durch ein Gesicht in der Nacht zu Paulus: Fürchte dich nicht, sondern rede und schweige nicht!
10 Denn ich bin mit dir, und niemand soll sich unterstehen, dir zu schaden; denn ich habe ein großes Volk in dieser Stadt!
11 Und er blieb ein Jahr und sechs Monate dort und lehrte unter ihnen das Wort Gottes.
v9… the LORD spoke in a vision…. Do not be afraid….
The LORD gave Paul this vision because he was afraid…. Maybe he worried that his work would be cut short by either opposing Jews as in Thessalonica and Berea……. or by the incredible idolatry and sinfullness around him……
Notice that Jesus didn't tell Paul that his opponents wouldn't try to stop him…… He did not promise to Zap away all his troubles and trials if he had enough faith…. He only said that his enemies would not be successful……The solution to Paul's fear is for him to obey Jesus' command to not be afraid…. and to speak and not keep silent……. He was to keep getting the Word of God out…..
Paul was really being threatened at that time….. The Gospel could come to a grinding halt at any moment…… Unreasonable and wicked men were threatening and persecuting him…. At that point he needed super encouragement….. so God Himself comes to Paul’s aid…..
v 9…Then spoke the Lord to Paul…. 
Here he was at a time of discouragement and persecution.…. When you look in the book of Acts you don't very often see Paul running out of boldness….  but here you do…..
Paul right here was at the point of stopping his preaching…... It was so difficult….. He was at the point of quitting right here….. You say, "How do you know that?" Because the Lord came to him and said, "Be not afraid….. verse 9……"but speak and hold not your peace…. That shows that Paul was really thinking about stopping his preaching……The Lord says, "Don't stop….. You just keep preaching…..  
Then to encourage Paul….  The Lord gives Paul 3 promises….  they're in verse 10….. .
 They're three promises that we as genuine believers can apply in our own lives…..
1 I  am with you!....
2 No one will hurt you!.....
3 I have many people in this city….
v10… point 1… Keep preaching, Paul, for I am with thee….
What a powerful statement…..  In the Greek it's  emphatic….. "I Myself am with thee." The emphasis is on God's very presence…… That's the promise of power…..  I don't think any of us can get a hold of the immense power of God….. Maybe it helps to remember the    fact that once there was nothing and the next instant there was everything….. God has unbelievable power…..
So He says, "Paul, don't stop preaching…. I Myself am with you…...  
The second promise He says is…. No man shall set on thee to hurt thee."
2… No one will hurt you…. I´m sure that was good news….. He had already suffered much for the sake of the Gospel…..  He was a great man of God….. But he certainly did not look forward to being attacked and beaten or stoned… The Lord…. Relax…. No one will hurt you….
When we understand the power of the God and His promise to protect us…. We have nothing to fear…..  
Now let’s see the third reason for Paul not to give up……
Verse 10… "I have many people in this city." The third reason to keep preaching is really powerful….. He says, "Because I promise you results….. You are not wasting your time…. Some will believe and repent….. You must continue to Proclaim the Good News….. three wonderful promises….
1 I myself am with you!.... You are not alone in these trials
2 No one will hurt you!..... I will protect you and never forsake you…
3 I have many people in this city…. Proclaim the Good News…. I will give you fruit….. converts….. God´s Word always accomplishes its purposes…. After this vision Paul finds comfort and strength and renews his commitment to God´s purposes….
v11… And he continued there a year and six months…. Paul was in Corinth a year and a half….. That seems to be longer than in any other city where he founded a church…... His ministry at Corinth is described simply….. teaching the word of God among them….. That means that he loved and taught and prayed for them…. We learn from 1 Cor 4… That he sent Apollos and Timothy to minister to them as well….. And when it was necessary… He rebuked them… Corinth was a wild wild west kind of a town….. And Paul invested greatly in them….I would like to read I last text this morning… Turn to 2 cor 1…v3.….
2 Corinthians 1:3-11                    NLT Neues Leben
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. 6 Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 7 And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.

8 For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, 10 who delivered us from so great a death, and does[a] deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, 11 you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many.
2 Corinthians 1:3-11                     Neues Leben
3 Gelobt sei der Gott und Vater unseres Herrn Jesus Christus, der Vater der Barmherzigkeit und Gott alles Trostes,
4 der uns tröstet in all unserer Bedrängnis, damit wir die trösten können, die in allerlei Bedrängnis sind, durch den Trost, mit dem wir selbst von Gott getröstet werden.
5 Denn wie die Leiden des Christus sich reichlich über uns ergießen, so fließt auch durch Christus reichlich unser Trost.
6 Haben wir Bedrängnis, so geschieht es zu eurem Trost und eurer Rettung, die sich wirksam erweist in standhafter Erduldung derselben Leiden, die auch wir erleiden; werden wir getröstet, so geschieht es zu eurem Trost und eurer Rettung;
7 und unsere Hoffnung für euch ist gewiß, da wir wissen: Gleichwie ihr Anteil an den Leiden habt, so auch am Trost.
8 Denn wir wollen euch, Brüder, nicht in Unkenntnis lassen über unsere Bedrängnis, die uns in [der Provinz] Asia widerfahren ist, daß wir übermäßig schwer zu tragen hatten, über [unser] Vermögen hinaus, so daß wir selbst am Leben verzweifelten;
9 ja, wir hatten in uns selbst schon das Todesurteil, damit wir nicht auf uns selbst vertrauten, sondern auf Gott, der die Toten auferweckt.
10 Er hat uns denn auch aus solch großer Todesgefahr gerettet und rettet uns noch; und wir hoffen auf ihn, daß er uns auch ferner retten wird,
11 wobei auch ihr mitwirkt durch eure Fürbitte für uns, damit wegen der von vielen Personen für uns [erbetenen] Gnadengabe auch von vielen gedankt werde um unsretwillen.
Let’s pray….

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