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State of Mind Vs Peace of Mind


State of Mind Vs Peace of Mind

Text:  Acts 18:1-12  

It’s time to think about Paul and do an assessment of his Christian work so far. Let’s look at Paul’s own situation, from a human level, then let’s see how God intervenes to help, in times of need, to help us to remember God’s lovingkindness for us too, when our own lives seem fraught with difficulties.

Peace of mind

1 Paul’s Personal Situation

Geographically, of course, Paul is in Corinth, and if you’ve read the notes and listened to the lesson on the Podcast about the kind of place Corinth was, you will know that it would be great vexation to the soul to be there.  But there may be much in Paul’s personal circumstances that would give cause for concern.  Like:-

  • Opposition. The urgency to preach the word led Paul to declare to the synagogue congregation that the Messiah whom the Jews were expecting, as prophesied in the OT, is Jesus!  That brought him great opposition from the Jews.  
    • Look at their vehemence.  They gathered a concerted campaign to oppose Paul.  ‘They opposed themselves’ – a strange phrase.  Implying a concerted resistance. That involved blasphemy.   
    • Paul’s response.  VPaul has faithfully discharged his responsibility, that constraint in the spirit, to preach the word, – and having fully done his duty, he declares unto them their own fate for they have no-one to blame but themselves. There is no-one that will stand before God on judgement day and legitimately blame someone else.  Ezekiel 18:20  
  • Rejection. After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;   Paul had preached at Athens,.   But the Athenians did not repent, apart from a handful of souls.  The great city of Athens preferred to remain in its ignorance and had brushed aside the offered salvation in Christ. It must have wounded Paul’s soul, that people would be so careless about eternity.  
  • Loneliness.  Paul had been alone in Athens, and now he is alone in Corinth too.  Paul has Aquilla and Priscilla, and he’s in the middle of a big bust city, but he’s alone in doing the Lord’s work, and that’s never a good thing, and it may be why when Jesus sent out his disciples he sent them out in twos.
  • Impoverishment. Paul came to Corinth alone, and with nothing.  He found a job and more with two Christian Jews, Aquila and Priscilla.  V But it would be long days of work, and while Paul was determined not to be a burden on anyone, while you’re sewing fabric you are not preaching, and Paul’s mission was to preach. 
  • Apprehension.  What will happen next?  He’s bound to be wondering what lies ahead, wondering whether the Jews would try to have him beaten again, or thrown into a prison, or would they finally succeed and have him put to death?  

Wouldn’t it just be easier to give up and go home like Mark had those years before?    Why put himself through all this hassle?  But there is encouragement for Paul, and for us…

2 God’s Providential Succour

Paul didn’t go on a self help course, or become more assertive or look for inner strength.  He always relied on God to meet all his needs, Philippians 4:19.  And we can see in the text, how the Lord met those needs.   

  • He sent more labourers into the vineyard. V Do you remember that Timothy and Silas had been left in Macedonia, when Paul left berea to travel to Athens? Acts 17:14   Now they too have joined Paul in Corinth.  It was…
    • Encouragement for Paul.  Now there was a group of enthusiastic serving Christians, who could meet together and encourage each other.  That’s why we need the church!  That’s why we have fellowship, and why God never ordained for Christians to be solitary, religious hermits or monks.  God does not want his people be be socially isolated from each other.   Hebrews 10:25 
    • A pastoral responsibility.  What of those who can’t attend, because of age or infirmity?   I’m always worried when I meet ministers who think that they are appointed to ‘run a church’ and who see no role for pastoral visitation.
    • A small group.  Just Paul, Timothy, Silas, Aquila and Priscilla.  Five of them.  That’s enough to be a church.  Remember that Jesus promised us that he would with us when we meet in His Name, no matter how small in number we may be.  Matthew 18:20  
  • He provided financially.  Timothy and Silas didn’t just bring help and companionship, they brought money.  It seems that the churches in Macedonia were now well established and had heard of Paul’s lonely endeavours in Achaia, and the Peloponnese, and had gathered an offering to assist with the Lord’s work.  Paul later refers to this in a letter,  2 Corinthians 11:9  That certainly gave him more free time to preach and teach and evangelise. The financial aid from Philippi and Thessalonica and Berea helped and blessed Paul and furthered the work of the Gospel.  
  • He gave Paul fruit for his labours. v7-8 .   God blessed Paul’s ministry, and souls were saved, and the church grew.
  • He encouraged Paul through His word.  V9 T  The Lord spoke to Paul.  It was in the apostolic days, when God spoke directly to his apostles.  But there are no apostles nowadays, but he still speaks to us in his Word, and that’s something we can all benefit from.  God continually encourages us through reading his word, and hearing his voice in the Word.  
  • He reminded Paul that the Lord’s church is more than Paul’s little group!  The Lord knows those who are his! for I have much people in this city.    This is interesting, because up to this point there actually only are the five original believers in the whole city, added to now by those who have been saved and baptised and are meeting at the home of Crispus.  But where are the rest?  THere’s a clue in Romans 8:29-30   There were many of God’s elect in Corinth, and in His own time they would hear the word of God, and the Holy Spirit would convict them of their sins and bring them to saving faith in Christ.  God had many of these, chosen people, and soon the Corinthian church would grow and grow…. 

Paul remained at Corinth for 18 months.  It was his first long-term mission station, for up until this time he had been moving around on an itinerary.  While at Corinth he preached and taught, and under the influence of the Holy Spirit he wrote his 1st letter to the Thessalonians.  One commentator remarked that Paul’s stay in Corinth was a turning point in his ministry, and it influenced everything he did from that point on. 

© BobMcEvoy March 2021

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