Summary: As individual believers who belong to God’s family, we must make God’s will the most important pursuit of our lives.

Promoting the Purposes of God

Text: Acts 18:12-21

Intro: We believe God has called our church to fulfill 5 main purposes: Sharing the good news through evangelism, Building people’s faith through discipleship, helping people connect with God through worship, helping people connect with other believers through friendships and fellowship, and helping people discover and develop their God-given gifts and use them to help others.

-Why these 5? Well, in one form or another, they are all found in the book of Acts as important in the early church. Acts 2:42-47 gives a brief description of the early church, establishing a pattern for churches to follow. Now we cannot be a first century church, but we can be a Biblical church that is following God’s purposes in the 21st century.

-I’d like you to watch this video clip that shows the need to follow only God’s will. We cannot mix it with our will, but need to seek His purposes – otherwise, life turns sour.

-Today our main theme relates to these purposes of God.

Prop: As individual believers who belong to God’s family, we must make God’s will the most important pursuit of our lives.

Interrogative: How can we better align our lives with what God wants to do?

TS: Let’s look at 3 truths that will help us pursue God’s purposes.

I. God’s Purposes Are Sometimes Furthered by Unlikely People (Acts 18:12-17)

12 While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him into court. 13 "This man," they charged, "is persuading the people to worship God in ways contrary to the law." 14 Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to the Jews, "If you Jews were making a complaint about some misdemeanor or serious crime, it would be reasonable for me to listen to you. 15 But since it involves questions about words and names and your own law-- settle the matter yourselves. I will not be a judge of such things." 16 So he had them ejected from the court. 17 Then they all turned on Sosthenes the synagogue ruler and beat him in front of the court. But Gallio showed no concern whatever.

-Sometimes even people who do not know God unknowingly help in carrying out His will and purposes. Who was this man named Gallio? Well, he was born in Spain as Marcus Annaeus Novatus, but took on the last name Gallio when he came to Rome and was adopted by someone named Gallio. His brother’s name was Seneca, who was tutor and adviser to the wicked ruler Nero. Later, Nero in his insanity commanded Seneca to kill himself and he obeyed. Gallio asked to be spared, but Nero killed him anyway.

-Seneca wrote about his brother, Gallio, noting that he had health problems, but was very intelligent, hated flattery, and was blessed with a pleasant personality.

-Gallio was proconsul of Achaia from July of A.D. 51. until June of A.D. 52. So, it was sometime during this one year appointment that he dismissed Paul’s case.

-Now, the point I want to make here is that in v.10, God had told Paul not to be afraid to tell people the good news about Jesus because He had many people in Corinth. Gallio was one of those people – not in the sense of being a follower of Christ, but in the sense of being used by God to protect Paul from harm.

-Proverbs 21:1 says, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.” This may have been a reference to Godly kings who obeyed the Lord, but certainly the Lord is always in control and can put both good things and bad things in the hearts of rulers in accordance with their desire to do right or wrong. God will accomplish His purposes by using both Godly and ungodly people.

-Gallio was just doing his job, and refused to meddle in what to him was a religious matter. He basically told them to settle it amongst themselves in their own synagogue, and had them removed from the court. However, as Pilate, Herod, and so many other rulers did, Gallio could have tried to appease the Jews and had Paul arrested. But God had greater plans and put it in Gallio’s heart to just turn away from the matter.

-Now we don’t know much about Sosthenes, but according to the Western and Byzantine Greek manuscripts (which the KJV uses), all the Greeks grabbed him and beat him up. This would indicate that they were not happy with the Jews, and took it out on their synagogue ruler. In light of Gallio’s dismissal of the Jews’ case against Paul, and kicking them out of his court, perhaps these Greeks saw it as their chance to strike a blow against the Jews. Most other ancient manuscripts do not mention the Greeks as the ones who beat Sosthenes up. Other manuscripts simply say, “They all took hold of him and began to beat him....” It probably wasn’t the Jews who took hold of him – unless he had become a Christian (which is a possibility).

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