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Matthew 28
posted August 9, 2012

Revelation 13
posted August 16, 2012

Gallio Cared For None Of These Things - February 25, 2007


Acts Chapter 18

Sermon of the Week #200709 February 25, 2007

The eighteenth chapter of Acts begins with a very startling statement. We are told that Paul went into business. He went into business with a man named Aquila, the tent-making business. Aquila and Paul; perhaps the sign over the door read: THE A AND P TENT COMPANY. I suppose they carried a full line of tents; everything from circus to pup tents. Likewise, all accessories were available; stakes, ropes, and mosquito netting. We know of course that Paul will do well in the tent-making business. If he uses the same zeal in business that he has used in the ministry, no doubt he will become a multi-millionaire in this business venture.

There is no doubt that if some folk had lived then, they would have tried to buy stock in the A and P Tent Company. But if they had, they would have lost money, because as we read on, we see that this is only an interlude. This tent-making business is only a means to an end. Jesus had said, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature, he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” Paul’s real business was preaching the Word of God. To Paul, this meant that he would do the Lord’s work the rest of his life, even if at times he had to make tents for a living. He reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath and persuaded Jews and Greeks. Paul spent more time preaching to the patrons, converting the customers, and baptizing those who were just browsing around, than he did making tents.

Now the fact that Paul and Aquila were making a house of skins, with their hands, reminds us of what Paul would later write to the Corinthians in his second epistle, fifth chapter, about a more solid house than a skin house not made with hands, “For we know that if the earthly house of our tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For verily in this we groan, longing to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven.” Truly in this house of skin we groan. How many times have you said, “Oh my aching back”? The song says it well, “This old house is going to crumble, this old house is going to fall.”

Not only is the earthly house of our body going to be dissolved, so is the house of our family going to be dissolved. We move into a new house, before long the children grow up, and they are gone, then the parents grow old, and gradually the old home place is gone, except for that which is enshrined in the memory of those who remain.

Now it must be remembered there is another house we have eternal in the heavens. Jesus promised it to the faithful in John 14 when He said, “In My Father’s house are many mansions.” A mansion is evidently a room in the Father’s house. Some may have a better room than others. Some may have a front room with a view down Praise God Boulevard, all the way down to the river of life that flows by the throne of God. Some, like me, who had an easier time of it on earth, will get a back room looking down Ebenezer Alley. But one thing for sure is the fact that in the sunset of life the Christian can look up and see the lights of glory, and there will not be a 'no vacancy' sign hanging out in the Father’s house, because our room is reserved.

Peter confirmed our reservation in the first chapter of his first epistle when he said, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy begat us unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, unto an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.” Your room is ready for you to move right in.

The same is true of the marvelous building we have on earth that we refer to as the House of God. We love our buildings; especially if that is the place we first met the Lord. Sadly some are more converted to a building than they are to the Lord. Any suggestion that the old building needs to be replaced, and howls go up to heaven as though such a suggestion is to deny the faith. But no matter how ornate that house of worship may be, like all buildings made with hands, it too shall be dissolved; not one stone will be left on another. While that is true we still, in nostalgia, like to think of the old building like it used to be. The day will come when you may think of the old building and say,

“These walls which now are crumbling lime

Could not withstand the urge of time.

The wood has rotted round the doors

The rain has ravaged roof and floors.

And yet because men worshipped here

Something holy and austere

Lingers on and fills the air

Like echoes of a quiet prayer.

But then again it is good to remind us there is a better house of worship in the Holy City not made with hands. In Revelation 21:22, John reveals that eternal House of God when he says, “I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are the Temple thereof.” We can be sure that eternal Temple not made with hands will ever need to be renovated. So Paul has come to Corinth, the sin capitol of the world. It was known as a sensuous city; it had a population of 700,000, 200,000 free citizens and 500,000 slaves. It was noted for its immorality. Over 1,000 prostitutes were in business at the Temple of Aphrodite. In the heathen temple, they prayed to the gods to increase the number of prostitutes, and such traffic was not considered disgraceful. A popular saying at the time was, “Live like a Corinthian”, which meant, live in luxury and immorality. Most Americans live like Corinthians today, and if I had not mentioned Corinth, you would have thought I was talking about many American cities.

When Silas and Timothy finally caught up with Paul at Corinth, Paul was constrained by the Word, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. Paul reminds us of the prophet Jeremiah in his twentieth chapter at a low point in his life, when he thought he would preach no more, and then he said, “But His word was in mine heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones and I could not forbear.” Paul would continue to preach regardless of circumstances because he had fire in his bones. We need more preachers today to preach the fiery bones gospel.

When the audience opposed what he said and blasphemed, he left and told them their blood was on their own heads. He left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titus Justus and continued to preach; then many of the Corinthians hearing believed and were baptized.

One of the converts at the house next to the synagogue was Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, and all in his house. This convert was so important that Paul personally baptized him. Later on when he wrote his first epistle to the Corinthians, he told why he rarely baptized anyone, but made an exception in the case of Crispus, lest they brag and say they were baptized in Paul’s name.

One time a preacher opened his Bible to Paul’s epistle to the Corinthians, and pointed out to me that since Paul rarely baptized it must not be all that important. I asked him to turn back to Acts 18 and read how the church at Corinth was established. He turned to it and read, “Many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.” Those who heard the gospel and believed it were baptized. That underscores the words of Jesus, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.”

Hearing, believing, and being baptized is the proper order in the steps of salvation. Some today reverse the order. Millions of people today try to baptize first in infancy, hear later on, and then they might believe. It was then that the Lord appeared unto Paul by night in a vision and said, “Fear not Paul, but speak and hold not thy peace, for I have much people in this city.” Jesus knew there were people in Corinth who would believe the gospel, if they ever heard it, so He told Paul to speak and hold not thy peace. The same is true today. There are people in your city today that would obey the gospel, if they ever heard it.

What kind of a message can be preached to such a culture as Corinth? Later on Paul would write a letter to the Corinthian Church reminding them of what he had preached. He said, “I determined to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” It was easy to see from that first epistle, that Christ was first and foremost in his message. He used the name of the Lord Jesus Christ 19 times in the first chapter alone. Ten of those times that he mentioned Jesus were in the first nine verses. That was the message that was needed by that hedonistic society then, and it is the only message that will change the same lifestyle today; Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

This reminds me of a preacher friend of mine whose wife told him to be sure and brings a dozen eggs home from the store. He forgot to bring the eggs. She asked him why he forgot. He said, “You know that I know nothing, but Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” We need more preachers like that. Jesus knew that if the gospel were preached, there were people, even in Corinth, who would become Christians. Jesus still has much people in every city that will accept His gospel, if they ever hear it. The same charge to Paul is given to us, “Fear not, but speak and hold not thy peace, for I have much people in this city.” In other words, there are people in the bars of your town; there are homosexuals, drunkards, drug pushers and prostitutes, who would become Christians if they ever heard the gospel message. So be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace. The Lord still has much people in every city. It is an encouragement to this ministry to know that the Lord has much people in any city where we preach the gospel. That would include London, Jerusalem, Baghdad, San Antonio, Richmond, Louisville, Nashville, Indianapolis, Waterloo cities in Liberia, Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt, and many other places. The Lord has much people in these cities. So fear not, but speak and hold not thy peace, for I have much people in this city.

Remember again what kind of a city Corinth was. Later on, Paul would comment on their former ungodly character when he said, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men, nor thieves, nor revilers, nor extortionists, shall inherit the Kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”

This was what it meant to preach Christ and Him crucified in a city known for immorality. If it worked then, the same message can work now, and it is the only message that will work now. The flower of the gospel of Christ can bloom on the manure pile of your life also. After a year and six months, Paul was brought into court. He had the assurance from the Lord that he would not be beaten, but there was trouble of another kind ahead. They rose up with one accord against Paul. It was a general uprising against the preaching of Paul, who arguably was the major writer of the inspired Word of God in the New Testament

It seems like that today. There seems to be an uprising with one accord of some who are referred to in the news as the elitist. That is a good term for them. They are the elitists of the Devil. They brought Paul before Judge Gallio with the charge, “This man persuaded men to worship God contrary to the law.” According to the elitist, the greatest criminal in America today is the conservative Christian. The name of Christ must be eliminated from all public prayer.

They want the name of God deleted from the Pledge of Allegiance, and whatever your view of Christmas, the objection of the name of Christ at that season is an effort to get rid of the name of the One who came to give His life for our redemption. It is with mixed emotions that I look upon Judge Gallio. As Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said, “Oh, ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you if it were a matter of wrong or wicked villainy. But, if they are questions about words and names and your own law, look to it yourselves, for I am not minded to be a judge in these matters.” He drove them from the judgment seat, and the mob got angry and beat Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue. We are told that Gallio cared for none of these things.

Now it was at the moment when Paul opened his mouth, that Gallio stopped him from speaking about words and names. He should have listened because the words and names he would hear would have been the inspired Word of God. But Gallio cared for none of these things. One of the names he would have heard would have been the name of Jesus. Can you imagine hearing Paul tell Judge Gallio, “God also hath highly exalted Him, and gave unto Him a name above every name in heaven, or on earth, that in the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow of things in heaven and of things on earth and things under the earth, and that every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” That should have been enough to get his attention, but Gallio cared for none of these things.

Paul may have told him as Peter said, “There is therefore none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” But none of these words would have made any difference to him because Gallio cared for none of these things.

We wonder what Judge Gallio would have thought if he would have heard what Paul told the Athenians, “God hath appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained, whereof he hath given assurance unto all the nations in that He hath raised Him from the dead.”

Perhaps it would have made some impact on his soul if he had heard Paul say, “It is appointed unto men once to die and after this the judgment.” But he never got to hear those words because Gallio cared for none of these things.

Gallio did not care for the proposition of eternal life. Gallio did not care for the propagation of the Church of Christ, and Gallio cared not for the proclamation of the Word of God. Many care for none of these things today; they belong to the Gallio Club; they care for none of these things. Pass a car on the highway; if three feet is all that separates you from a head-on collision, you are three feet from being able to hear the angels sing, or from hearing the shrieks of the damned. Most ignore the fact that we all are one second, one heartbeat from eternity and yet live as though we will live on planet earth forever. Like Gallio, they care for none of these things.

Many like Gallio have no concern for the ongoing of the Church either. All you have to do to close the Church for one month during the year is to miss four times during the year without a reason and as far as you are concerned, it is closed. This is a terrible responsibility when you think of it, but I don’t expect it to mean too much to most, because they belong to the Gallio Club. They care for none of these things. Many like Gallio are not concerned about the proclamation of the Word of God. What Paul or Peter, or any of the inspired men had to say means nothing. It is what my denomination teaches, what my preacher says, what the majority think is right. The inspired men don’t count. They are indifferent to their testimony.

There is an old illustration that says it well. Someone asked a woman what she believed. She said, “I believe what my church believes.” When asked, “What does your church believe?” She said, “My church believes what I believe.” Then she was asked, “What do you and your church believe?” She said, “We both believe the same thing.”

The saddest thing about Gallio and all those like him is the fact that one second after their soul and body is separated at death, like Gallio they will know the supreme importance of the gospel message they once thought was not worth hearing. There are several great messages in Acts chapter 18, but here is the saddest of all, “And Gallio cared for none of these things.”