Summary: Aquila and Priscilla are mentioned in four NT books. They were a couple committed to God and ministered in several places with Paul. This sermon speaks to how a couple can maximize their usefulness for God's kingdom TOGETHER.
Aquila and Priscilla: Serving God Together
July 16, 2017
[Adapted, but source unknown.]
TEXT: Acts 18:1-3 – “After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; 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. 3 And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.”
In the early church, there are many examples of believers who dedicated and sacrificed themselves for service for God. You’re probably familiar with the more prominent ones—such as Peter, Stephen, James, Paul, Barnabas, Silas and Timothy. But there are other, less-well known people without whom these leaders could not have accomplished what they did for God. These people were equally dedicated to, and sacrificed for, the service of God. Aquila and Priscilla were just such a couple.
We’re first introduced to them here in Acts 18. They were a dynamic husband and wife team who played a valuable role in Paul’s life and in the early church. Verse 2 tells us that Aquila and his wife, Priscilla, had been driven out of Rome by an edict of Emperor Claudius in 49 AD requiring all Jews to depart from Rome. So they settled in Corinth, a large commercial city, where they met the Apostle Paul.
You will recall from last Sunday that Paul had recently come from Athens, and when he arrived in Corinth, he was penniless and alone, his co-workers having departed elsewhere, planning to join up with Paul again in Corinth at a later date. It was then that God brought Aquila and Priscilla into Paul’s life through their shared profession—tent-making. Their meeting in Corinth was the beginning of a lifelong relationship with Paul.
Notice the following things about this dynamic couple in the New Testament:
I. FIRST, NOTE THAT AQUILA AND PRISCILLA SERVED GOD TOGETHER.
The first thing we notice about Aquila and Priscilla is that they dedicated their lives to the Lord and the brethren, moving wherever the Lord directed them.
* In our text, we see Aquila and Priscilla working alongside Paul in Corinth.
* Further down, in Acts 18:18-19, we read that when Paul left Corinth for Ephesus, Aquila and Priscilla moved with him to assist with the work there.
* In verses 22-26 Aquila and Priscilla remained behind at Ephesus, meeting and helping a man named Apollos gain a better understanding of the Gospel.
* When Paul wrote his letter to the Romans, Aquila and Priscilla were back at Rome assisting the brethren there because Paul mentioned them at the close of his letter, saying, “Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my helpers in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 16:3)
* By the time Paul wrote his final letter to Timothy, Aquila and Priscilla had left Rome and were probably back in Ephesus because in 2 Timothy, Paul says “Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.” (2 Timothy 4:19)
Beyond this record, their travels and ministry are not recorded. But in all probability, they traveled to other areas and apparently had a wide ministry, because when Paul greets them at the end of Romans, he thanked them for their sacrifices made for him personally, and then added, “…unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.” (Romans 16:4)
So apparently Aquila and Priscilla ministered to ALL the churches of the Gentiles in some way.
Finally, Paul called them “my helpers” in Romans 16:3. What a marvelous title to be given! There was only a select group of people in the New Testament whom Paul referred to as his helpers, or his co-laborers. They included such people as Timothy, Titus, Ephaphroditus, Clement, Tychicus, Onesimus, Aristarchus, Marcus, Justus and Lucas. This group was a special help and encourage to Paul during his ministry. So this gives us a good idea how active Aquila and Priscilla were in God’s service.
What an example for us today! Aquila and Priscilla model for us a couple totally dedicated to God and the advancement of His kingdom. It’s never recorded that Aquila ever preached a sermon; there’s no evidence he was ordained; and we don’t know of any official church position either of them ever held. Yet they were a wonderful blessing to the churches of God because they gave themselves fully to God to be used for His glory in the churches they served in.
The lesson to us is one of DEDICATION TO THE LORD’S SERVICE. Aquila and Priscilla did not focus primarily on their earthly careers or becoming comfortable in this life. They saw their life as a pilgrimage in the service of God, moving wherever needed and doing whatever it took to further the work of God on earth. God help us to have couples with that kind of dedication and commitment!