Summary: 1. Be grateful for God's goodness (vs. 18-19). 2. Make extra efforts to reach people for Christ (vs. 18). 3. Learn your limits (vs. 19-20). 4. Take the time to rest (vs. 21-23). 5. Be open to new opportunities from the Lord (vs. 21-23).
God's Will for Our Lives
The Book of Acts - Part 63
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - November 2, 2014
*Tonight, we will come to the end of Paul's second missionary journey. We will see Paul finish his work in Corinth and begin to head home for a while. But in this short passage, God's Word also shows us the beginning of Paul's third missionary journey. This all was God's will for this season in Paul's life. And these verses can help us see God's will for our lives.
*Let's begin by reading Acts 18:18-23.
*Do you ever wonder about God's will for your life? Who doesn't? Any thinking believer will be faced with situations where we need to know God's will. And if we are Christians, we want to know God's will, because it's easy to head off in the wrong direction.
*We don't want to be like Charlie Brown. One time in a Peanuts cartoon, Charlie Brown said, "Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, 'Where have I gone wrong?' Then a voice says back to me, 'This is going to take longer than a night.'" (1)
*Sometimes we might feel like Charlie Brown, but Jesus wants to put us on the right track, and keep us on the right track in life. The Lord wants us to know God's will for our lives. And Paul's story in these verses can help us find it.
1. First: Be grateful for God's goodness in your life.
*Gratitude is definitely part of God's will for our lives. That's important to remember as we are less than four weeks away from Thanksgiving. But gratitude is always important to remember. And it must have been on Paul's mind in vs. 18, as he was about to leave Corinth.
*Verse 18 tells us that: "Paul still remained (in Corinth) a good while. Then he took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria, and Priscilla and Aquila were with him. He had his hair cut off at Cenchrea, for he had taken a vow."
*One of the signs of Paul's gratitude could have been this vow in vs. 18.
*Albert Barnes tells us that this kind of "vow" was a solemn promise made to God respecting anything. Vows were very common in the Old Testament. For example, Jacob made a vow to God at Bethel, and God gave Moses many regulations in regard to vows. A man might devote himself or his children to the Lord. He might devote any part of his time or property to God's service.
*And Albert Barnes said "that it was common for the Jews to make such vows to God, as expressions of gratitude. Maybe they were grateful, because God had raised them up from sickness or delivered them from danger." (2)
*Well, Paul had certainly been delivered from danger many times. And whether gratitude was the reason for Paul's vow or not, he had tremendous reasons to be grateful to the Lord. And so do we!
*Paul could clearly see how good God had been to him in Corinth. The AMP Bible says Paul stayed in Corinth "many days," and the NIV says he stayed there "some time." But the KJV and NKJ both say he stayed a "good while." And I like that. The original word means something "ample, enough, good, or great." And Paul had a great stay at Corinth.
*Back up in vs. 2-3, we saw that Paul found some new Christian friends:
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.
*In vs. 18, Priscilla and Aquila were still with Paul, at least for a while. And thank God for Christian friends! I am so glad that Christianity is a together kind of thing. There is no way that any of us could ever do all the Lord wants us to do by ourselves. We all need each other! We all need godly friends who will walk with us, as we walk with the Lord.
*Sam Rayburn from Texas was the longest serving Speaker of the House in history. Sam served almost all of the years from 1940 to 1961, but that doesn't impress me very much.
*What really impresses me about Sam Rayburn was the way he treated a friend. I don't know the man's name or exactly when this happened, but Rayburn heard that his friend had just lost his teenage daughter.
*Early the next morning Sam knocked on his friend's door and said: "I just came by to see what I could do to help." The father replied that there was nothing to do. "Well," Rayburn said, "have you had your coffee this morning?"