Summary: Paul is wrapping up his stay in Corinth, and heading back to Antioch.
a. The story is told of a little boy that was very impressed with a missionary that had come to his church. The missionary had come to the small church hoping to recruit men for the mission field in South Africa, but he was disappointed to find that there were only women and one young boy in attendance that Sunday.
b. The missionary taught the same message that he had planned, exhorting all of the men to step out into ministry, and join him on the mission field, forsaking the life they knew.
c. At the close of the message, on offering was taken up for the support of the missionary. When the plate passed in front of the boy, he dropped in the plate a note, and it read simply this –
d. Dear Sir, I have no money to give to support your mission work, but what I will give is myself. I give myself to mission service. Very Truly yours, David Livingstone
e. That young boy stayed true to his vow, and later went on to become a famous missionary to Africa, reaching many previously unreached tribes for the Lord.
f. The point of this little story is that God can and often does use anyone He chooses, regardless of their age or social standing, or anything for that matter. Keep this in mind as we study this morning.
a. As pick up God’s Word today, we will be looking at the close of Acts chapter 18. In it, we look at some things drawing to a close, and some things beginning.
b. What is drawing to a close today, is Paul’s Second Missionary Journey. Paul’s Ministry is compartmentalized or divided into three Missionary Journeys. Paul was simply walking with God, and being led by the Spirit.
c. But Paul went on these trips, each marked by Paul’s leaving our from Antioch, and at the end of that journey, returning to Antioch for a time of rest and recharging.
d. Antioch of Syria is the home base for the gospel outreach to the gentiles. It was this church that sent out Paul and Barnabas beck in Acts chapter 13. This is significant, because we see that this was really the only major church at the time that was focused on outreach to the gentiles. The church at Jerusalem was focused on reaching the Jewish nation, as we will see later on in Acts.
e. We also see a few things beginning in this passage. We see what is called Paul’s third missionary journey begin. We also see the public ministry of Aquila and his wife Priscilla starting up. The last thing that we see beginning is the ministry of a man we are introduced to here today called Apollos.
f. Our passage today is really a passage marked by transition and change. It has been said that the only thing that we can count on in this life is change, and this is certainly true in this instance as well.
g. We saw last week where Paul stayed on in Corinth for a year and a half, and he stayed there because the Lord told him, “I have many people in this city.” The Lord knew who would accept Him and who would reject Him, even before these people were called.
h. I don’t think I brought this out as well as I should have last week, but it is important for us to realize that we are not responsible for bringing people to salvation. We may be the vessel that God uses to speak to people, but we are not the agency of conversion. I just wanted to clarify this, because I don’t think I made this real clear last week.
i. Jesus told us in John chapter 16, that the Holy Spirit would be the one who would convict men of sin. Jesus said that He would draw all men unto the Father. As Christians, we are really incapable of drawing anyone to God in and of our own power.
j. All we can do is to be a vessel that God can use. We can be a vehicle that God uses to share the gospel. It isn’t our job to move people, but His. What we are to do is to live in such a way as to not grieve, or quench the Holy Spirit from doing His work.
k. Don’t get caught up in the trap of thinking that you had anything to do with someone else’s salvation, or any other move of God for that matter. It will be tempting though. People will say, “It was your testimony that led me to believe.” Or, “Thank you for praying for me, I was healed completely! Our first thought is “I did that? The truth is, No, you didn’t. God did, and he simply used you as a vehicle to do it. God touched that person through you.