Summary: Fear - Paul’s experience in evangelism

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Do not be afraid

Acts 18:5-11

Black Bart was a professional thief whose very name struck fear as he terrorized the Wells Fargo stage line. From San Francisco to New York, his name became synonymous with the danger of the frontier. Between 1875 and 1883 he robbed 29 different stagecoach crews. Amazingly, Bart did it all without firing a shot. Because a hood hid his face, no victim ever saw his face. He never took a hostage and was never trailed by a sheriff. Instead, Black Bart used fear to paralyze his victims. His sinister presence was enough to overwhelm the toughest stagecoach guard.

I think back a few years and I remember my kids expressing fears over all kinds of things that bothered them. The dark, thunderstorms would be two that were hard to over come. Then there were fears that something would happen to daddy when he was gone. There were fears about bullies. Fears of tornadoes or other disasters that they might see on TV.

Sometimes it was fairly easy to ease their minds and other times the kids just grew out of it over time.

In today’s scripture we learn that even the Apostle Paul seems to have fear and God givens him encouragement..

Paul seems to have been in Athens a fairly short time. He has his day in front of the leadership and scholars of the city and he leaves before his companions Silas, Luke and Timothy arrive. This is a bit confusing because Paul sent word that this friends join him in Athens. It is not like he can pick up a Cell phone and change the plan. Oh, don’t meet me at the mall, meet me at McDonalds. I guess he could leave word for them where ever he was staying.

Ok Paul is a big boy and he can take care of himself. But, why does he move on?

From our stuffy last week we know that he has some mild success, tow people names and others.

Do you think it has any thing to do with the fact that on each of his different mission trips he gets thrown out of town some times physically abused.

The other guys he is traveling with don’t see to have the same problem. It seems to be something about him. Does he leave Athens because of mild success or does he heave to avoid arrest and abuse?

Personally, of I had Paul’s experiences It would have been a very real thought on my mind. How do I get myself into these messes? Man I need to cool my heals and stay under the radar for a while.

I wonder if that is the reason that Paul moves on without his companions.

He leaves for the capitol city of Greece, Corinth. It is like what we have heard about in modern port cites. There is decadence and money.

It’s not long before he meets up with Aquila from Pontus, he and his wife Pricilla. They have left Rome when the Jews are run out of Rome because they are such troublemakers.

They join forces so to speak as tent makers. It is believed that they work together and Paul is supporting himself. Then he starts his normal pattern. H goes to the synagogue and teaches from the scriptures about the message to the Jews and believing Greeks.

We don’t know how much time goes by before his friends arrive. It might be a fairly short time. What we do know is that he does not seem to get the Jews in the Synagogue angry with him during the waiting period.

When Silas, and Timothy and Luke arrive Paul’s pattern changes. He stops working with Pricilla and Aquila and starts preaching full time. Maybe the friends brought some funding. It is after their arrival that it mentions that Paul testified to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ.

The Jews become abusive, at least verbally and Paul responds by shacking out his clothes. Sounds weird, doesn’t it. It comes form other scriptures had history. When the Jews did not listen to a prophet (rejected the word form God), his response was to reject the people by shaking the dust from their town off his clothes indicating that God was no longer going to try to reach them. Jesus told his disciple to do the same thing if they were rejected when he sent the disciples out to preach.

Then Paul says, "Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles."

Paul teaches in the synagogue up to the point where he gets verbal resistance then he basically says, you can’t fire me I quit.

He makes a scene and he leaves the synagogue and goes next door to Titus Justice’s house. Titus was one of the Gentile converts to Judaism. Then we learn that “Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.”

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Neil Johnston

commented on Apr 3, 2008

Great thought (!): "I wonder how I would react to a vision about my fears. Would I respond like Paul? Would I ignore it and just think it was a dream? Do we want to know that God knows us that well? That he really knows our inner fears."

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