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Matthew 28
posted August 9, 2012

Revelation 13
posted August 16, 2012



Acts Chapter 18

Sermon of the Week #200811- March 16, 2008

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 in the tent-making business. Aquila and Paul; perhaps the sign over the door read: THE A & 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 of us had lived then, we would have tried to buy stock in the A & P Tent Company. But if we had we would have lost money, because this tent-making business is only a means to an end. It seems that Paul spent more time preaching to the patrons, converting the customers, and baptizing those who were just browsing around than making tents.

It is more than just a coincidence that Paul, a tent maker, would refer to our bodies as a tent when he wrote to these same Corinthians in his 2nd epistle in the fifth chapter, “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.”

Perhaps there is a greater significance to that than at first-glance, when we remember that ancient Israel lived in tents for forty years in the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. In Deuteronomy 6:10-11, Moses in his farewell address, told the people, “And it shall be when the Lord thy God shall have brought thee into the land which He swear unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob to give the great and goodly cities, which thou buildest not, and houses full of all good things which thou fillest not, and wells which thou digest not, vineyards and olive trees which thou plantest not.” When they crossed over Jordan, they moved right in to houses already built, and waiting for them.

And shall not the Christian who crosses over Jordan after wandering through the wilderness of our earthly lives in a skin tent, a skin tent that is so fragile it can be torn apart by the smallest germ or accident, shall he not inherit a house eternal in the heavens not made with hands.

But until that day when we cross over Jordan we can live in this world like Abraham. Abraham was a rich man, but Hebrews chapter eleven tells us, “By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city that hath foundations whose builder and maker is God.”

Then Luke says Paul reasoned in the synagogue and persuaded Jews and Greeks, but when they opposed themselves and blasphemed, he shook out his raiment and said unto them, “Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I go unto the Gentiles.” Later on he said to the elders of Ephesus, “I am pure from the blood of all men: For I shrank not from declaring unto you the whole counsel of God.”

At the trial of Jesus in Matthew 27:25, Pilate had taken water and washed his hands before the multitude saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this righteous man; see ye to it.” And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.” What a terrible curse to put on one’s descendants! But actually the blood of Christ as far as we can tell is on every person who rejects the blood of Christ. In Hebrews 9:22 it is written, “Apart from the shedding of blood there is no remission.”

Jesus told the Pharisees in Matthew 23:35-36, “Upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of Abel the righteous and unto the blood of Zachariah son of Barachiah, whom ye slew between the sanctuary and the altar. Verily I say unto you all these things will come upon this generation.”

Apparently the blood of others can be on the heads of the ministry of a church that does not declare the whole counsel of God. In Revelation 18:24 there is a statement about the apostate church, which is not merely one church, but any church that rejects the proclamation of the whole counsel of God? John records these words concerning her judgment, “And in her was found the blood of the prophets and the saints, and all that have been slain upon the earth.”

Many years ago a young preacher told me of a family in the church where the children were Christians and the parents were not. One day during school hours the father came home and shot his wife, and then killed himself. The preacher and other officials hurried to the scene and in the process of cleaning up, the preacher looked out the window and saw the son and daughter coming home. The preacher rushed out and told the kids they could not come in just now, and as he held up his hands, the young man saw the blood on the preacher’s hand and said, “Brother Joe, is that my daddy’s blood on your hands?” Joe told me he felt the cold chills run up his spine as he wondered, “Could it be that his blood is on my hands?” Ladies and Gentlemen, the preacher and the church must be careful in the matter of proclaiming the whole counsel of God.

So Paul has come to Corinth, the sin-capitol of the world. It is known as a sensuous city; it had a population of 700,000—200,00 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 the audience in the synagogue opposed what he said and blasphemed, he left 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 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.” Obviously all the conversions were those who heard, believed, and were baptized; underscoring the words of Jesus when He said, “Preach the gospel to every creature, he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.”

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 am with thee, and no man shall set of thee to harm thee, for I have much people in this city.” Evidently, Paul had the same problem many of us have today; Paul was afraid, because he realized the preaching of the gospel would be offensive to many, and he had good reason for being afraid. He remembered being stoned at Lystra, beaten at Philippi, and being sent out of Thessalonica by night, just ahead of the lynching party; and he figured he might be in for it again here in Corinth.

The same is true for those of us who preach today; some are afraid the gospel message at the point of how to be saved will be offensive, and so they hold their peace, and tone it down, or leave it out altogether. The antidote for this fear is in what the Lord told Paul, “Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace, for I AM WITH THEE; for I have much people in this city.” There are people who need to hear it. The Lord has much people in your city. The words of the Lord to Paul are an encouragement to us also; when we are afraid and hold back on a doctrine that we know is unacceptable, Jesus said, “Fear not, for I am with thee.” And then remember James 3:1, “Be not many of you teachers, my brethren, knowing that we shall receive heavier judgment.”

Now 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. That was the message that was needed by that hedonistic society then, and it is the only message that will change the same life-style today; Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

This reminds me of a preacher friend of mine whose wife told him to be sure and bring 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, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”

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.

In other words, there are people in the bars of your town; there are sex deviates, 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.

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 the American life-style also.

Then 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.

There is a statement of God in Jeremiah 12:9 that speaks to this situation when it is written, “Mine heritage is to me as a speckled bird, the birds round about are against her.” God’s heritage today is the speckled bird of the Church and all the other birds are against her. The political bird is against her in their efforts to remove every reminder of God from the foundation documents. 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.

The educational bird is against her in the teaching of godless evolution. The public opinion bird is against her, led by what is called the elitist, as they sneeringly refer to the conservative Christian as a red-neck. All the birds have ganged up on the Speckled Bird of the Church.

Now it was at the moment when Paul opened his mouth, that Gallio stopped him from speaking about questions, words, and names; and Luke says, “And Gallio cared for none of these things.” He should have listened because there were answers to questions that Gallio needed to hear. He needed to hear the question of Jesus in Matthew 16:26, “For what shall a man be profited if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul, or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” And then that follow-up question to the rich fool in Luke twelve, “And the things which thou hast prepared, whose shall they be?”

And what would Gallio have thought if he could have heard the questions Jesus asked as a boy of twelve, and amazed the doctors of the law in Luke 2:47? Many today would be amazed at the answers Jesus would give now about salvation if the preachers ever told them. How about that question of the multitudes, when they heard of the story of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, resurrection, and ascension into Heaven, and believed it said, “Men and brethren what shall we do?” Peter gave them the answer of the Holy Spirit when he said, “Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” There are many today who belong to the Gallio club, and they care for none of these things.

But Gallio cared for none of these things. He cared nothing about names. One of the names he would have heard would have been the name of Jesus. Can you imagine Judge Gallio hearing Paul tell about the name of Jesus as he said in the second chapter of Philippians, “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, especially if Paul had reminded him that Jesus said, “No man cometh unto the Father but by Me.” However, Paul was not given a hearing that day, because Gallio cared for none of these things.

Gallio cared not for names, and questions, and neither did he care for words. If Gallio had only heard that great word of Jesus when He said to those who believe on him in John 8:32, “If ye keep my word ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” From what shall we be made free? Paul tells the Christian in Romans 6:17-18, “But thanks be to God, that whereas ye were servants of sin, ye became obedient from the heart to that form of doctrine whereunto ye were delivered; and being made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness.” The form of doctrine Paul referred to is what he said a few verses before concerning buried with Christ in baptism and arising to walk in the newness of life. Some say baptism is nothing but a form. They are right. When we are obedient to that form of doctrine we are made free from sin.

Free at last, free at last, Thank God Almighty free at last. What a sad statement in Acts 18:17, “And Gallio cared for none of these things.”