6-Week Series: Against All Odds

Sermons

Summary: Living in God's will: 1. Takes us to new destinations (vs. 1-2). 2. Touches our occupations (vs. 3). 3. Leads us to new proclamations (vs. 4-5). 4. Gives us new inspirations (vs. 5-7). 5. Brings new celebrations (vs. 7-8).

Living in the Will of the Lord

The Book of Acts - Part 60

Acts 18:1-8

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - September 28, 2014

INTRODUCTION:

*About 15 years ago, Katie and I were pulling into Wal-Mart, when we saw the Jews for Jesus bus. They are a great group of Christian Jews who witness to other Jews all over the world. That day they had sung and presented the Gospel at the Senior Citizens Center in West Monroe, and afterward, they stopped at Wal-Mart on their way to Shreveport.

*I used to get their newsletter, so I pulled over to try to meet them. Katie was mortified when we went over to the bus, and I knocked on the door. But we had a tremendous visit with a beautiful young lady named Rivka. I asked her how she got saved, and she told me it was through the prayers and witness of other Jewish Christians. Rivka said she finally realized that Jesus is the Messiah of the Jews, and she trusted in the Lord. Then she told me, "If you are praying for someone, don't give up! That man prayed for me for two years before I got saved."

*Rivka then told us about her plan to go back to Israel and start a Christian ministry with her fiancé. That was back during one of the times when there were bombs going off in Israel almost every week. So, I asked Rivka if she was nervous about going back and she said, "The safest place that we can ever be is right smack in the center of God's will."

*That's the kind of faith God wants us to have, and this Scripture shows us some of the things that will happen when we are living in the will of the Lord.

1. First: Living in God's will takes us to new destinations.

[1] Sometimes we are free to move, as Paul was in vs. 1: "After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth."

*In this chapter, Paul was on his second missionary journey, and had been in Athens alone. He was sent there mainly to keep him safe from a Christ-rejecting mob at Berea. And while Paul was at Athens, he did everything he possibly could do to spread the Good News about Jesus Christ. But then the Holy Spirit led Paul to move on to the city of Corinth.

*John Phillips tells us that in Paul’s day Corinth was the political capital of Greece and the seat of a Roman proconsul. It occupied a strategic location on an isthmus, or natural land-bridge connecting northern and southern Greece. (1)

*William Barclay pointed out that this neck of land is less than five miles across, and on that isthmus stood Corinth. All north and south traffic in Greece had to pass through Corinth because there was no other practical way. Men called her "The Bridge of Greece." Corinth also had harbors facing east and west, so it was the chief market city between Asia and Italy.

*Corinth was also a very wicked city. The Greeks had a verb, "to play the Corinthian," which meant to live a life of lustful debauchery. In Greece, if a Corinthian was ever shown on the stage he was shown drunk. On the chief hill or Acropolis stood a temple of Aphrodite, also called Venus, the god of love. In its great days the temple had one thousand priestesses of Aphrodite who served their religion by being prostitutes in the city of Corinth. (2)

*If there was ever a place that needed Jesus Christ, it was the city of Corinth! And surely Paul was in God's will when he went there to preach the Gospel.

[2] Sometimes we are free to move, but sometimes we are forced to move.

*That's what happened to Aquila and Pricilla in vs. 1-2:

1. After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth.

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.

*A.T. Robertson tells us that this deportation happened about 49 A.D. And it happened because the Jews were in a constant state of tumult about Christ. Some of the Jews were rioting in opposition to Christianity, and the Jews were already unpopular in Rome, so the Roman Emperor simply had them all expelled. (3)

*That was a terrible thing for those families who were uprooted, especially because most of them were totally innocent of any wrong-doing. But God used that decree to bring Aquila and Priscilla together with Paul.

*God did a very similar thing in Luke 2 to make sure that Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem at just the right time to fulfill a prophesy in Micah 5:2 about the birth of our Savior. In the KJV, this part of the Christmas story says:

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