Summary: When God wants to change a community He is more concerned about whether the hearts of His people are ready to be used then with those who don’t know Him yet.
God’s voice do we really believe He can speak to us and that we can hear Him? It’s funny because people talk about hearing from God all the time, but do we really expect to hear from Him, audibly? Today we are going to look at a passage where the Luke says that the Apostle Paul had a vision where the Lord literally spoke to him. It shouldn’t surprise us, one of the things that we see throughout the book of Acts is God moving in supernatural ways, there was the decent of the Spirit at Pentecost and also on the Gentiles, people were healed through the Spirit, then there are those times when Luke records that someone was “full of the Spirit” when the spoke and people responded by accepting God’s salvation.
Remember where we are as we look at this particular journey of Paul. God supernaturally stopped him from going some places and then finally told him to go to Macedonia, where he founded the church in Philippi. There Paul cast out a demon and God sent an earthquake, not to rescue Paul but to allow Paul and Silas to lead the jailer and his household to salvation. Today were going to look at another time when Paul needed to hear a word from God.
Acts 18:1-17, “After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Pricsilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. But when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. From no on I will go to the Gentiles.” Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized. 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.” So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God. While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him into court. “This man,” they charged, “is persuading the people to worship God in ways contrary to the law.” Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to the Jews, “If you Jews were making a complaint about some misdemeanor or serious crime, it would be reasonable for me to listen to you. But since it involves questions about words and names and your own law-settle the matter yourselves. I will not be a judge of such things.” So he had them ejected from the courts. Then they all turned on Sosthenes the synagogue ruler and beat him in front of the court. But Gallio showed no concern whatever.”
This passage tells the story of Paul’s trip to Corinth. It was an unlikely city for a movement of God. It was located in southern Greece about 50 miles from Athens, and about two miles south of the narrow isthmus that forms a land bridge between the main landmass of Greece and the Peloponnesus. This isthmus was less then four miles wide so Corinth had the unique advantage of having not 1 but two major harbors one on each side of the sea. At one point the temple of Aphrodite dominated the landscape, it was the home of 1,000 temple prostitutes. Even though that temple had fallen into ruin by Paul’s time, the prostitutes were still there serving in lesser temples that had been built since then. Sailors from the ports often felt the need to “worship”. But it wasn’t just the temples that gave Corinth its reputation much of the city was given to indulging our baser desires. It was noted by a historian of the time that whenever a Corinthian character appeared in a Greek play, they were always drunk. The great Bible commentator William Barclay wrote that Corinth became not only a synonym for wealth and luxury, drunkenness and debauchery, but also for filth. Let’s just be honest Corinth was the Las Vegas of it’s day.