Scripture reading for May 29th: Acts 18
Paul had left Athens and went on to Corinth. There he joined up with Jewish believers Aquila and his wife Priscilla, who were tent-makers like he was. Paul devoted himself to preaching exclusively to the Jews, proclaiming Jesus as the Christ. This caused dissension and the Jews became abusive. Paul shook out his clothes and warned them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” (Acts 18:6)
Paul moved his preaching base to a home in Corinth and had many converts who were baptized. “One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid: keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.” (Acts 18:9-11)
The Holy Spirit brought a vision to Paul on this missionary journey. This vision gave some specific instructions. First of all, Paul was not to be afraid of any opposition or persecution that might come his way. The Lord promised that he would be kept safe! He also told Paul to keep on preaching! This was no time to be silent or shrink back or even to move on to another field! God had many more people that would be reached in this city where he was now placed.
Are you worried about persecution or opposition? Do you keep silent when you know the Good News is needed? Let this Scripture and vision to Paul encourage you today to be bold and strong! Fear not! Open your mouth and share the Gospel! God will bring in the harvest!
Scripture reading for June 27th: Acts 18:1-21
The apostle Paul always seemed to get in trouble as he preached about Jesus Christ in the synagogues. After leaving Athens and the confrontation with the intellectuals on Mars Hill, Paul went to Corinth and again went to the synagogue. There he encountered some interest at first, but soon was being opposed by some abusive Jews. Paul did as Jesus instructed, shaking out his clothes and stating, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles!” (Acts 18:6)
He went next door to the house of a man named Titius Justice, who was a worshiper of God. This means that he was a Gentile seeker who had attended the synagogue. Paul used his house to preach and the synagogue ruler Crispus and his entire household was saved! Many others were saved and baptized! (Acts 18:7-8)
Sometimes leaders need fresh vision and encouragement. Even though we are living life one day at a time, we need to know that we are in line with where God wants us. Sometimes we can feel His pleasure, but other times we feel the opposition and even fear. God knew that Paul needed encouragement to stay in Corinth for a more extended period of time so He gave him a vision. “Don’t be afraid; keep on speaking, don’t be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” (Acts 18:10) Many of God‘s mighty saints struggled with fear. The Holy Spirit gave them great boldness anyway and a vision and word of encouragement could keep them on track. Paul stayed in Corinth teaching for a year and a half.
As Paul left there, he went back to many of the churches he had started and preached to them. He had a ministry of encouragement and disciple making. He was particularly sensitive to the leading of the Lord. When asked by some Jews at Ephesus to stay and spend more time, he declined. He told them that he would come back if it was the Lord’s will. (Acts 18:21) God knows how to direct His disciples. We are all on a directed journey to accomplish God’s will and must finish our course! Are you listening to the Holy Spirit today?