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January 20

Acts 18

1 After this, he left Athens and went to Corinth, 2 where he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul came to them, 3 and since they were of the same occupation, tentmakers by trade, he stayed with them and worked. 4 He reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath and tried to persuade both Jews and Greeks. 5 When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself to preaching the word and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Messiah. 6 When they resisted and blasphemed, he shook out his clothes and told them, “Your blood is on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” 7 So he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God, whose house was next door to the synagogue. 8 Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, along with his whole household. Many of the Corinthians, when they heard, believed and were baptized. 9 The Lord said to Paul in a night vision, “Don’t be afraid, but keep on speaking and don’t be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to hurt you, because I have many people in this city.” 11 He stayed there a year and a half, teaching the word of God among them. 12 While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack against Paul and brought him to the tribunal. 13 “This man,” they said, “ is persuading people to worship God in ways contrary to the law.” 14 As Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrongdoing or of a serious crime, it would be reasonable for me to put up with you Jews. 15 But if these are questions about words, names, and your own law, see to it yourselves. I refuse to be a judge of such things.” 16 So he drove them from the tribunal. 17 And they all seized Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal, but none of these things mattered to Gallio. 18 After staying for some time, Paul said farewell to the brothers and sisters and sailed away to Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. He shaved his head at Cenchreae because of a vow he had taken. 19 When they reached Ephesus he left them there, but he himself entered the synagogue and debated with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to stay for a longer time, he declined, 21 but he said farewell and added, “I’ll come back to you again, if God wills.” Then he set sail from Ephesus. 22 On landing at Caesarea, he went up to Jerusalem and greeted the church, then went down to Antioch. 23 After spending some time there, he set out, traveling through one place after another in the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples. 24 Now a Jew named Apollos, a native Alexandrian, an eloquent man who was competent in the use of the Scriptures, arrived in Ephesus. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately about Jesus, although he knew only John’s baptism. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. After Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained the way of God to him more accurately. 27 When he wanted to cross over to Achaia, the brothers and sisters wrote to the disciples to welcome him. After he arrived, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. 28 For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating through the Scriptures that Jesus is the Messiah. — Acts 18

Growing as God Directs

by Elizabeth Brown
Brentwood Campus

Acts 18 maps the growth of the young Christian church and its missionaries through the Acadian region of Greece. Luke plots the comings and goings of the disciples and their challenges along the way. Step by step the gospel of Christ is revealed to more and more of the world. Equally important is the personal growth of the major players of this book.

The Apostle Paul
Since his miraculous conversion in Acts 9, Paul was a passionate church planter. He wanted Jews across Greece to know the truth of Jesus as God’s Son. With the exception of a few fellow missionaries (Barnabas, Silas and John Mark, Acts 13-18) for brief periods, Paul traveled and preached alone. He was careful about allowing the teachings and experience of others in the Christian faith to influence his message of the truth. However, he began to relinquish some of his control as he served Christ. He grew to trust God more with the dissemination of His Good News to all people, Jews and Gentiles alike. He yielded to God’s will about how long to stay with each new church (Ephesus, Acts 18:21), and he trusted God to use other preachers, even those who were not under his tutelage (Apollos, 1 Corinthians 3:6).

The Tentmakers Aquila and Priscilla
As friends of Paul, Aquila and Priscilla enjoyed sharing their love for Christ and learning from Paul’s dramatic encounter with Christ. They had an immediate connection with Paul. Traveling with Paul, their roles were followers and strong supporters. When they met Apollos, a green but passionate preacher of Christ, they grew from being great followers to being encouraging teachers, furthering the young Apollos’ knowledge of Christ and increasing his credibility.

The Preacher Apollos
Apollos was a disciple of John the Baptist’s teaching. Full of the Spirit and concerned for the people of Greece, Apollos began preaching in Ephesus with only partial knowledge of Christ as Messiah. Upon meeting Aquila and Priscilla, he gained greater knowledge of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. As they shared the complete gospel with him, Apollos grew in his faith and became an even more effective preacher.

God gives each of us opportunities for growth. Most often growth is accompanied by discomfort. Accepting others’ contributions to ministry was hard for Paul. Moving from follower to teacher may have taken great courage for Aquila and Priscilla. Continuing to learn and share the complete Message required humility from Apollos. Our growth in Christ moves us forward, just as it did the early church. Let’s not underestimate the blessings of vitality and fulfillment as we keep growing in the Lord.

Praxis

  1. Where do you see God asking you to grow?
  2. Ask God to help you see your role in your world in a new way. Trust Him to change your approach or attitude toward your purpose.