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Summary: God can make hard time come out fot the good. God can use unbleievers to establish a safe place.

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Times they are a changing

Acts 18:12-23

Have you ever had some event that changed your life?

When you think about it, all kinds of things can change out lives. Going from middle school to high school, getting out of school, getting a job. How about getting married? That was a biggie.

Then for many people, kids come along whoa that was a real biggie – 24 hour care for a tiny person.

I would generally categorize all of those as being good and normal life changes even with the loss of sleep and work load can comes with many changes.

However, we have the opposites like accidents, health, death, job loss, crime or war.

When you are in some kind f uncertain moment, Good or Bad, do you ever try to make a deal with God?

Lord, if you will help me get a good grade on this test, or the doctor’s report is good, or I can find a job I will be in church every Sunday, I will tithe, I will witness to everybody.

Last week we learned that Paul, the apostle to the gentiles, the author of a huge amount of material in the New Testament was actually a human.

Although he seems to have hidden it really well, he was afraid. Who could blame him after threats, beatings, a stoning not to mention spending time in jail.

He stayed in Corinth for a total of about 18 months. He had left the synagogue and started meeting next door in the home of a believer.

Then something happens, the Jews have some kind of committee meeting about Paul. His teaching has to be stopped. He has influenced lots of Jews over the last year to meet with that group at Titius Justus’s house and it is affecting attendance. Not just gentiles, but other good Jews like, Crispus the former synagogue ruler.

So the new ruler is being pushed to solve this problem. Sosthenes and his committee have an idea.

Listen to this, ya’ll know how the Romans limit what religions people can worship. How they break up any unofficial meetings. All we have to do is take Paul and the people that meet over there to court. Paul is not from around here any way so he has no standing in court. This will take care of this situation. It is going to be easy, because they are clearly not Jews and we can testify to that.

Can you imagine the tone of voice when Sosthenes or his representative steps up to make the accusation. "This man, is persuading the people to worship God in ways contrary to the law."

The Jews are making a charge here that if the proconsul (Mayor) decides it is a problem can technically kill the young church. He can run Paul and other leaders out of town or the punishment can be much worse.

The accusers are suggesting that Paul’s teaching is contrary to Roman law. When in reality, it is really only contrary to Jewish Law. Judaism is an approved religion in the Roman Empire. The case that is being made before Gallio is that this is a different religion and not related to Judaism.

If the Jews win their case there is a good chance that it will mean hardship for Christians every where as they will really be a non-approved religion.

The scripture goes on:

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. 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."

Here Paul is back in front of a court and accused , He is ready to speak.

I can almost see Paul as he draws in a deep breath and maybe raises his hand to offer a response.

Instead, Gallio lets the Jews know that he sees right through their made up attack.

He knows that there presence has nothing to do with the breaking of Roman Laws it is about the complex system of Jewish laws. He knows that they are attempting to manipulate the system for their own good.

Complain to the court just to get rid of something they did not like.

Paul never gets to say a word. He does not get to demonstrate or convince the Governor of anything.

Gallio has them thrown out of court. The court being the space between the gallery and Gallio himself. Sort of like in court rooms today, there is a separation between the audience and the attorneys and defendants.

When the accusers get past some point the group starts beating up Sosthenes right there inform of the court and he is not at all interested nor try to stop it.

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