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Acts 18:1-17

Acts 18:1-17

Categories:

Series: 1 Corinthians
Sermon: Introduction to 1 Corinthians
Bible Passage: Acts 18:1-17

I. Background

“After these things” (18:1): Paul was in Athens for a short period of time (cf. Acts 17:16-34 show photograph of Athens)

II. Corinth is about 60 miles west of Athens

1. Athens was the ground zero for philosophies and philosophers
2. Unlike other places, Paul did not face any opposition in Athens
3. A small number of people like Dionysius and Damaris became believers after hearing Paul (17:34)
4. Corinth was located on the isthmus (neck) between Greece and Peloponnese: to the west, Gulf of Corinth; to the south, Saronic Gulf
5. From Periander of 7thC BC, Julius Caesar, Tiberius, and Nero tried to cut a canal between Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas (between the gulfs of Saronic and Corinth)
6. The “Corinth Canal” was finally dug in 1830 BC after Greece became independent from Ottomans (Show the photograph of Corinth with the Canal)
7. From ancient days until the digging of the canal, big ships and boats were rolled through rails calls “Diolkos” (Show the photograph of Diolkos)
8. This brought a lot of revenue to Corinth
9. Other sources of revenue: religious pilgrimage, Olympic, and Isthmian game (Show photograph of Acro Corinth, Apollo, and the market)
10. Due to the worship of Aphrodite, Corinth was known for sexual excesses—“Corinthianize” metaphor
11. Aquila and Priscilla probably were leather workers; around Isthmian sports field
12. It was part of the territory of Achaia during Paul’s time
13. The presence of a synagogue highlights the importance of the place

III. Emperor Claudius expelled Jews from Rome in 48 AD (Acts 18:2)

1. Paul visited Corinth about 50/51 AD
2. Paul met with Aquila and Priscilla and started working with them (Acts 18:3)
3. Paul supported his ministry by working in tent-making industry—this is where we get the term “tent-making” (Acts 18:3)
4. This gave Paul opportunity to be with them almost 24 hours (living missional)
5. Timothy and Silas joined him and then Paul did not have to work so that he could concentrate fully on the preaching of the Gospel (Acts 18:5)

IV. Paul taught the Gospel in the synagogue (Acts 18:4)

1. Some like Sosthenes, Crispes, etc., became believers from Jewish background (Acts 18:8, 17); a church was born
2. The Jewish community of Corinth started opposing Paul and his message (Acts 18:6)
3. Jesus appeared to Paul and asked him to continue in Corinth (Acts 18:9-11)
4. As usual, Paul left the Jewish community and went to the non-Jews where he found many believers like Titius Justus (Acts 18:7, cf. Rom 16:24)

V. Paul faced opposition (Acts 18:12ff)

1. Paul was brought before Gallio, the Proconsul (Acts 18:12)
2. Paul was dragged before the BEMA (Acts 18:12)

a. Condemnation
b. Commendation

3. God continued to protect Paul, without harming him

VI. Observations from Acts 18:1-17

1. Paul was missional among non-believers

a. He influenced people around him—tent-making
b. Though Corinth was a sinful city, Paul lived differently
c. He did not segregate himself from the society; in other words, there was no mission compound lifestyle

2. Aquila, Priscilla, Timothy, and Silas supported the Gospel work by releasing Paul to preach
3. The BEMA and the pillar of condemnation and commendation reminds the Gospel

a. The Law condemns us
b. The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ freed us from condemnation
c. When we stand with Jesus, no one can accuse us

4. Though Corinth was such a large city, God had elected some people to believe (doctrine of election)

Take Away

Find ways to influence your neighborhood

Speaker: William J. Subash

Born and raised in south India, William J. Subash became a follower of Jesus Christ in 1983 at the age of nineteen. After a brief career in a tea and coffee plantation, Subash decided to spend rest of his life to preach about Jesus and his life-transforming message of God, which is popularly known as “the Gospel.” Subash teaches New Testament Studies at two institutions: SAIACS in India and Liberty University Online, VA, USA. Currently, Subash serves as the chief point person for GROW Gospel Initiatives and the Lead Pastor of the Crossroad Church, Bangalore. Write to him at wjsubash@crossroadbangalore.org