Summary: Paul working in Corinth
a. Aquila finished stitching the last seam on the large market canopy as his wife, Priscilla, rose to answer the loud knock on the door of their shop. Daylight was fading quickly, and the sputtering oil lamp was struggling to dispel the darkness.
b. The door swung open on its rusty hinges, and a small man walked into the cluttered room. Sabbath was over for another week, and the Apostle Paul, having spent the day expounding the Scriptures at the synagogue, had come to begin work on eight new tents for a family of North African traders.
c. They would sleep little this night, the three of them. After a simple meal they would begin the wearying process of cutting and stitching and cutting some more. Their work would be punctuated by Paul’s rehearsal of the day’s events in the synagogue and by animated discussion of the teachings of the Christ. As they cut thick tabs of bull hide to reinforce corners and tie-downs, they would pause often to pray for the many new believers in Corinth and ask God for wisdom in establishing this new assembly with its diversity of people...
d. Paul spent one and a half years in Corinth, and for a season, he made tents to support himself and the newborn church there in Corinth. We are going to begin to look at Paul’s stay in the city of Corinth, as we reach another chapter in our continuous study through the book of Acts.
a. Last week, we saw the apostle in the city of Athens, proclaiming the gospel to the intellectual elite. These would have been white-collar kind of people. These were people who made their income with their intellect and reasoning.
b. This week though, Paul enters the bustling commercial center of Corinth. Corinth was a boomtown where there was plenty of work, and unemployment was unheard of. Paul wasn’t afraid to do work to support himself here. In fact, God provided Paul with work that he knew and could do skillfully.
c. In the next two chapters, chapter 18 and 19, we see that Paul is going to be used by God greatly. Not that he hadn’t been used before, but at this point, on his one and a half missionary journeys, the most time Paul had spent in a particular city had been a couple of months. But here, in Corinth, and again as we will see later on in Ephesus, God will manifest Himself in a very powerful and special way.
d. As we look at the life and journeys of Paul, we like to think that his ministry was always filled with booming successes. But, as we saw last week, while in Athens, the ministry of Paul was largely ineffective. Only a
e. But, in contrast to that, what happened in Corinth would best be described by the word revival. A revival is an outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit in a powerful and demonstrative way. The word revive means simply to awaken or to bring something back to life. Because God is sovereign though, these outpourings of the Holy Spirit are unpredictable. You never know when God’s grace will manifest itself. This is not the kind of thing that man can plan up and manufacture.
f. As I drive around, I occasionally see a sign outside of a church that says something like – Revival here tonight, or revival and some dates. I usually chuckle when I see signs like that, because what they more accurately mean is that they are going to have some special meetings, and that they are hoping that God will pour out His Spirit.
g. What actually happens when God does choose to pour out His Spirit is an awakening or a realization of who Jesus is, and a desire for holiness and obedience that comes simply out of the moving of the Holy Spirit.
h. The churches that came out of the revivals at Corinth and Ephesus were very strong churches that became outreach centers to the surrounding areas. These churches had large numbers of active and committed believers.
i. Paul was used by God to start these churches, first in Corinth, and later in Ephesus, as he spends two years with the Ephesians. Paul had known some success in ministry to this point, but by en large, he faced trials, tribulations, and suffering.
j. We think of Paul as great leader and evangelist in the church, a man used to write two thirds of the New Testament, and this is all true. I think though, as we look at the Bible, and history, we see God working through people that He chooses, regardless of their ability.
k. In the book of Judges, chapter 6 Gideon told God, "O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house." 16 And the Lord said to him, "Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man."