Summary: A LOOK AT THE LIFE OF PAUL AS HE ENTERS INTO THE TOWN OF CORINTH. HE COMES INTO THIS TOWN DISCOURAGED – AND SEEING HIS CIRCUMSTANCES, WHO COULD BLAME HIM. YET, WHAT PAUL DOES NOT INITIALLY SEE, AND WHAT GOD BRINGS TO HIS ATTENTION IS THAT THERE IS MUCH
SEEING GOD’S ENCOURAGEMENT WHEN WE ARE DISCOURAGED!
Acts 18:1-17 After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, 3 and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. 4 Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. 5 When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. 6 But when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, "Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles." 7 Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. 8 Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized. 9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: "Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city." 11 So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God. 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.
INTRODUCTION: DISCOURAGEMENT IS DEFINED AS THE ACT OF BEING DISCOURAGED; GO FIGURE! TO BE DISCOURAGED MEANS TO DEPRIVE OF COURAGE, HOPE, OR CONFIDENCE; DISHEARTEN; DISPIRIT. TO DISSUADE, OBSTRUCT BY OPPOSITION OR DIFFICULTY; HINDER, EXPRESS OR MAKE CLEAR DISAPPROVAL OF. WOW, I GET DISCOURAGED JUST READING ABOUT WHAT DISCOURAGEMENT IS!
YET, WE ALL GET DISCOURAGED, AND WE HAVE MANY WAYS OF DEALING WITH OUR DISCOURAGEMENT. WE IGNORE IT, ALLOW IT TO SINK US INTO DEPRESSION, MEDICATE IT, RUN AWAY FROM IT, DEFLECT IT, USE OTHERS AS A SPRING BOARD AWAY FROM IT, OR EVEN RELIEVE IT THROUGH SUICIDE.
ALTHOUGH WE SEE THE WORD CRISIS USED WAY TO OFTEN, IN THIS INSTANCE I THINK IT IS APPROPRIATE TO SAY WE HAVE A CRISIS OF DISCOURAGEMENT IN OUR SURROUNDINGS AND IN OUR CHURCHES! DISCOURAGED PEOPLE MAKE DISCOURAGED CHURCHES, AND DISCOURAGED CHURCHES ARE INEFFECTIVE CHURCHES
DISCOURAGEMENT OFTEN STEMS FROM OUR SURROUNDINGS; OR MORE ACCURATELY OUR INTERPRETATION OF OUR SURROUNDINGS!
TRANSITION: THIS MORNING I WOULD LIKE TO LOOK AT THE LIFE OF PAUL AS HE ENTERS INTO THE TOWN OF CORINTH. HE COMES INTO THIS TOWN DISCOURAGED – AND SEEING HIS CIRCUMSTANCES, WHO COULD BLAME HIM. YET, WHAT PAUL DOES NOT INITIALLY SEE, AND WHAT GOD BRINGS TO HIS ATTENTION IS THAT THERE IS MUCH IN THIS CITY TO ENCOURAGE HIM
THE CITY OF CORINTH WAS A CITY OF THREE C’S!
CORINTH WAS A COSMOPOLITAN CITY – IT WAS A CITY OF MIXED RACES AND PEOPLES
CORINTH WAS A COMMERCIAL CITY – IT WAS AN EXCELLENT LOCATION FOR THE EXCHANGE OF GOODS
CORINTH WAS A CORRUPT CITY – “CORINTHIAN” WAS SYMBOLIC WITH “PERVERTED BEHAVIOR. TEMPLE FOR THE LOVE GODDESS, APHRODITE, AND FOR ONE TO BE CALLED A CORINTHIAN WHEN YOU WERE NOT A RESIDENT OF THE CITY WAS AN INSULT.
BY THE TIME PAUL GETS TO CORINTH HE HAS A LOT ON HIS MIND. HE IS DISCOURAGED
I. IDENTIFYING DISCOURAGEMENT
a. PAUL WAS DISCOURAGED BY A DIFFICULT PAST AND HISTORY
i. PAUL HAD ALREADY BEEN SEVERELY PERSECUTED
ii. PAUL HAD BEEN FLOGGED
iii. PAUL HAD BEEN STONED AND LEFT FOR DEAD
iv. PAUL HAD BEEN IMPRISONED
v. ANY ONE OF THESE WOULD HAVE BEEN ENOUGH TO DISCOURAGE EVEN THE BEST OF US, BUT PAUL HAD EXPERIENCED ALL OF THEM!
vi. IN ADDITION, PAUL HAD GIVEN HIS BEST EVANGELISTIC MESSAGE TO DATE IN ATHENS WHEN HE GAVE HIS ADDRESS AT MARS HILL
1. FEW CONVERTS
2. FIRST CITY WHERE HE LEFT WITHOUT HAVING ESTABLISHED A CHURCH