Summary: This was a sermon given to an adult congregation over Acts 18:12-23 during our Traditional Worship service.
Open Bibles to Acts 18:12-23
I will be reading out of the English Standard Version
12 But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal, 13 saying, “This man is persuading people to worship God contrary to the law.” 14 But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrongdoing or vicious crime, O Jews, I would have reason to accept your complaint. 15 But since it is a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves. I refuse to be a judge of these things.” 16 And he drove them from the tribunal. 17 And they all seized Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal. But Gallio paid no attention to any of this. Paul Returns to Antioch 18 After this, Paul stayed many days longer and then took leave of the brothers and set sail for Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had cut his hair, for he was under a vow. 19 And they came to Ephesus, and he left them there, but he himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to stay for a longer period, he declined. 21 But on taking leave of them he said, “I will return to you if God wills,” and he set sail from Ephesus. 22 When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church, and then went down to Antioch. 23 After spending some time there, he departed and went from one place to the next through the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.
I love being able to survey the Book of Acts with you all, because it is the quintessential document for the beginning of the church, and it allows us the opportunity to find our story amidst God's story, and to be the 21st Century manifestation of where and what it all started: the first century church to what we should find today, and who we are to be.
Pastor Jim has recently taken some time to bring us to where we are today. In the past few weeks we've been able to see Paul preaching in Berea, addressing the people of Athens at Mars Hill, and now planting churches in Corinth and commissioning others for the work of the ministry in Ephesus.
Let's begin with verse Acts 18:12 -- we meet a character by the name of Gallio, who is a premiere political leader of the day, a Governor over the entire area that encases Corinth -- Gallio is the brother of the mentor of Nero, and Nero was, as we know, one of the chief persecutors of Christians in the first century. Where we begin today is with a bad group of people...
This week, Pastor Jim and I were able to reflect on some seasons of life... We were able to openly discuss the futures of our lives and families, dream up things for the life of the church, celebrate in our special time of welcoming our son into the world, and being with those who have lost the ones that they love so dearly. We have different seasons of life, just like there are different seasons of the year, and in those different seasons of the year, there are completely unique features about each. In the summer, we find that the heat is rampant, the air conditioning bill is too high, and there is no way possible to get the kids out of your hair. I won't go through all of the seasons because we live in Kansas and we experienced 3/4 of them during the month of January alone.
If you're not getting the "Seasons" metaphor I'm trying to build, I'll put it simply for you... There are portions of our lives that are so far and distantly related to other portions, that they could only be defined as Seasons. It's these portions of our lives when we're raising kids, it's another time in our life when you realize you're an empty-nester and you have not even the slightest idea on how to communicate with your spouse. It's when you're 55 and you're doing the unheard of by going back to school to better your life, it's when your marriage wasn't salvageable, it's when you're so broke that you can hardly sleep at night. It's also when you get an unexpected bonus in the mail, when your kids throw you a surprise birthday party, or when you can sit back and thank God for the ebb and flow of this thing we call life.
This week, when I sat down to go over this passage, the first thing I was, "Holy cow! I am way in over my head with this passage..." and then the second thing I realized is that, amidst the rich depth of these scriptures is an opportunity for instruction and redemption in the life of the believer... Which I am thankful for.