Summary: We can always count on the Lord's: 1. provision (vs. 1-8; 10). 2. presence (vs. 9-10). 3. peace (vs. 9). 4. protection (vs. 10). 5. plan for our lives (vs. 11).
We Can Always Count on the Lord!
The Book of Acts - Part 61
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - October 5, 2014
*Ben Franklin once said that the only sure things were death and taxes. But that's not necessarily true. I'm still looking for the rapture! When you get down to it, the only sure things are the things of God. God's Word is sure. God's goodness is sure. God's love is sure. God's judgment is sure. (1)
*And as we look into God's Word tonight, Christians, we can see some more sure things about our God, things we can always count on about our Lord.
1. First: We can count on the Lord's provision.
*In Philippians 4:19 Paul tells Christians that our God "shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." We can count on our God to provide everything we need in life. And one of the greatest things He provides is other people. The Lord will put new people in our lives, new Christians to help us, support us and work together with us in serving the Lord.
*We saw this truth last week in the opening verses of Chapter 18. Here Paul was on his second missionary journey and he went down from Athens to Corinth. There Paul met fellow-Christians Aquila and Pricilla.
*Verses 1-3 tell us that:
1. After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth.
2. And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them.
3. So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers.
*A.T. Robertson reported that the deportation in vs. 2 happened about 49 A.D. And it happened because the Jews were in a constant state of tumult about Christ. Some of the Jews were rioting in opposition to Christianity, and the Jews were already unpopular in Rome, so the Roman Emperor simply had them all expelled. (2)
*That was a terrible thing for those families who were uprooted, especially because most of them were totally innocent of any wrong-doing. But Romans 8:28 says "all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." That Scripture is always true! And God used that decree to bring Aquila and Priscilla together with Paul.
*Church, they wound up being some of the closest Christian friends Paul would ever have. William Barclay explained that "There is no more fascinating pair of people in the New Testament than Aquilla and Priscilla. When Paul left Corinth and went to Ephesus, Acts 18:18 tells us that Priscilla and Aquila went with him and settled there.
*The very first incident related of Aquila and Priscilla in Ephesus was typical of their godly lifestyle. Apollos had come to Ephesus. He was a brilliant Bible scholar, but Apollos did not yet have a full grasp of the Gospel. So, Aquila and Priscilla took him into their house, gave him their friendship and instructed him in the faith (Acts 18:24-26). From the very beginning Priscilla and Aquila were people who kept an open heart and an open door.
*Another time we hear of them, they were back in Rome. The banishment of Jews by Claudius was no longer in effect. And like many other Jews, Priscilla and Aquila had gone back to their old home. (3)
*We know that Aquila and Pricilla were back in Rome because Paul sent greetings to them in the closing part of his letter to the Christians in Rome. In Romans 16:3-4, Paul said:
3. Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus,
4. who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.
*How wonderful it is to have friends who are even willing to risk their own necks for our lives! And Church: That's the kind of friends God provides for us.
*Here in Acts 18, God also provided more new friends for Paul. We know this because in vs. 4, Paul "reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks. Then Paul was reunited with his old friends on the mission team, so vs. 5 says "when Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was constrained by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ."
*In vs. 6-7, under the leadership of the Lord, Paul gave up preaching at the synagogue. But when Paul left from there, God surrounded him with other people who cared. So, vs. 7 says: "He departed from there and entered the house of a certain man named Justus, one who worshiped God, whose house was next door to the synagogue."