Summary: To establish that God has people in every city - and He uses us to call them unto salvation. We are reminded not to trust in our skills in preaching - but in the power of the gospel of Christ to save. We are charged to plant the seed, and allow God, to raise the plant.
1. Paul’s Troubled Entrance
2. Paul’s Trusted Exhortation
3. Paul’s Triumphant Exit
1. In our lesson today we will be discussing, God’s work in a city that was wholly given to idolatry and sexual immorality. Paul arrives in the city of Corinth and is taken away (troubled), by what he was witnessing. Corinth was a thriving city and great in commerce. It is similar to the many cities in the State of California (i.e., San Francisco, Los Angeles). Some have called the Books of Corinthians: First and Second Californians. The city of Corinth was called the, “the eyes of Greece.” Nearly 150 years before Christ, it was destroyed by the Roman Army. It was later rebuilt, by Julius Caesar, and became the metropolis of Achaia. It was therefore an important commercial center. It was in such a center of activity the apostle Paul; planted the seed of the gospel, and established a great congregation of God.
2. First, we will discuss Paul’s troubled entrance into the city of Corinth. After leaving the city of Athens, he travel some 50 miles, to the city of Corinth. While entering into the city, his spirit was truly distressed. He found no fruit in the city of Athens. After preaching so boldly on Mars’ Hill; there were only a handful of men and women, who followed him after his mentioning: of the resurrection of Christ, in his stirring address. He was press in his spirit and determined to go to Corinth, after a perceived failure in his work in Athens. After entering the city he became even more despondent. The apostle experienced a troubled entrance into the city.
3. Secondly, we will notice Paul’s trusted exhortation while in the city of Corinth. Luke wrote: “Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city,” Acts 18:9-10. This text clearly points out, that God is working in the life of his servants. It took this comforting message from the Lord; to enable the apostle to begin his work in the city of Corinth, with great confidence. We should remember that: “God calls things that are not; as if they are” because, He is in charge of all things, Romans 4:17. The apostle would experience tremendous success; as a result of the Lord’s visit and words of encouragement. During our hour of doubt, despair and discouragement, the Lord provides the same exhortation unto us, even now. I am with thee; I will never forsake thee; should be the words we reflect on when our spirits are troubled, Hebrews 13:5.
4. Lastly, we will give attention to Paul’s triumphant exit, from the city of Corinth. Paul labored in the city of Corinth one and a half years (18 months). Through his preaching of the gospel of Christ; and, the life and conduct of the saints; these would be seen in sharp contrast, to the sinful lives; of those living in this pagan city, filled with all its immoralities. During his time there he would write two letters to the Thessalonians. He will leave the city, after establishing the church at Corinth; amidst great strife, and hatred of the Jewish leaders. He would now turn to the Gentiles, that God: “Would visit them (the Gentiles), to take out of them a people for His name,” Acts 15:14; Romans 10:19-21. Luke wrote: “And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with his entire house; and many of the Corinthians hearing, believed and were baptized,” Acts 18:8. With this introduction, let’s notice our first point: Paul's troubled entrance into the city.
BODY OF LESSON
I PAUL’S TROUBLED ENTRANCE
A. Paul entrance into the city. He entered this city with a troubled spirit; because of seeming failure from his preaching in Macedonia and Athens. We need some background to understand why it was, Paul had a troubled entrance, into the city of Corinth! How do you know this? Observe....
1. Beaten, imprisoned in Philippi, he and Silas for interrupting the sales of “soothsaying of a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying,” Acts 16:16-24. For this act of compassion:
a. “Paul and Silas were brought before the magistrates, who rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.”
b. “And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.”
2. The song of praise unto God: “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.”