Our live class on Acts 18 actually went on longer than almost any of the other classes before that. Which is only fitting as Paul wrote more to the Corinthians than to any other church. And there’s just really a lot there, in Acts 18, in the books of Corinthians and in our live class. The audio recording of our Acts 18 live class can be heard here.
And it says Paul stayed there a year and a half, the longest he’d stayed in any one place till then. But it must have been a special time and place as the Lord did something He didn’t usually do, specifically instructed Paul to stay on there in Corinth. Act 18, verses 9 & 10 say, “Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, ‘Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.’”
One of the things we talked about for a while is where Paul said, “Your blood be upon you, I turn to the Gentiles” (Act 18:6). This It’s a very big and sober subject about our responsibility to “deliver our souls”, something that is never taught in church but is definitely in the Bible. Paul may have been thinking or referring to something that is found in Ezekiel 3:17-19, “His blood will I require at your hand.” Paul evidently felt he had that much responsibility to deliver his soul and to preach the whole council of God to those he met.
Another aspect of Christian discipleship that we talked about was how Paul, almost more than anyone else, was able to blast off from the “gravitational pull” of his own background, his own heritage and cultural and even his own religion, to truly follow God into a new “universe”, delivered from his old “planet” and way of life.
Jesus said “If you love father or mother more than me…”(Matthew 10:37), or even “your own land” (Matthew 19:29), then He said you are not worthy of Him. Not the kind of thing you’ll hear in church on Sunday, is it?
And we talked somewhat about some strange web sites and folks who will tell you that Paul “was not really an apostle of the Lord”. Why would they say that? Well, they figure that “Paul didn’t respect the laws of Moses enough”. “He went astray from the laws of Moses. So that Light he saw on the road to Damascus?? Well, …. Maybe… “
So it’s pretty far out and delusional what some folks get into in order to preserve the necessity of keeping the old Mosaic Law. Even to the extent of sowing doubt about the Godliness of the Apostle Paul. Like we said in our class, if Paul hadn’t followed the Lord into all the world, witnessing faithfully to the Gentiles, Christianity might have been just another sect of Judaism and would have perished with the crushing of Israel and the scattering of the Jews in 70 AD.
We talked about that and if (and how much) the Early Church leaders had really obeyed the Lord to “go into all the world and to preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Obviously they were doing that some, as we can read about Peter witnessing to and converting the Gentiles in Acts 10. But the impression is that Paul took the whole thing much further and much more rapidly than had been happening up till that time.
And we read about Apollos in Acts 18 and how he “knew only the Baptism of John” (Act 18:25). We talked about how, when we witness, that sometimes we meet people who really love the Lord and are doing what they can to walk according to the light they have. But like Apollos in this case, they sometimes are missing some major pieces of the puzzle when it comes to the things of the Lord.
So like the Aquila and Priscilla did here with Apollos, they built upon what was really a partial foundation in him and he became an even stronger Christian and worker for the Lord from it. It can happen that we run into similar situations in our witnessing and ministering to people.
In relation to this, I shared a personal story of a good friend of mine from 30 years ago who flew in to Moscow in the early 80’s, at a time when Russian Communism just couldn’t have been more serious, and he there just happened to met up with a strong young leader of a budding “Jesus people” movement in Moscow. My friend and this Russian hit it off completely and my friend told him and taught him everything he could in the days he was there. But this all was similar to how these ones in the book of Acts found Apollos who went on to be even much more a witness than he had been up until the time the early church brethren met him in Alexandria.
So, the Book of Acts. It’s an incredible study but many people really have almost never read it. What we see there of how the early Christians were powerfully led of the Lord, as they gave their lives to Him, should inspire us to do the same in our generation. The audio recording of our Acts 18 live class can be heard here.