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Corinth — Worth the Troubles (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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January 1, 2024 6:00 am

Corinth — Worth the Troubles (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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January 1, 2024 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

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It would just be what God did not want it to be. And that's why there's such an emphasis on the body of Christ, which the Lord bought with his blood. And it is the local body. I'm so sick of people, the church is everywhere. Yeah, it is.

But that's your cop-out line. If you're not into understanding, there is to be a local assembly because there is power in that against hell. And if you don't believe it, just attend one of those assemblies and you'll find out that hell targets the church. This is Cross-Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the book of Acts.

Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross-Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. Now let's join Pastor Rick for part two of his message called Corinth, Worth the Troubles, in the book of Acts chapter 18. The rabbis taught, and Paul was a rabbi, the rabbis taught that if you did not teach your son a trade, you taught him to be a beggar. And what they meant by that is if he became the rabbi in a synagogue, many synagogues could not afford to pay their rabbis. How would he survive?

He needed to have a trade. Maybe he moved to a place where there were not enough Jews to have a synagogue. How would he support himself? I think any man entering into the pastorate should have a trade or profession to fall back on so that he never has to worry about, well, what if I get fired? What if there's no one comes back to the church and there's no money for a salary?

Well, he'd go to work. I think every pastor should have a trade or two. Anyway, verse four, and he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath and persuaded both Jews and Greeks. And so he's there, typical Paul, in the next verse we're going to learn that he gets stoked in doing this.

He gets inspired to do this again, more of an intense attack on the unbelieving Jews when Silas and Timothy show up, but we'll get there in a minute. But let's look at the synagogues that Paul reached out to just in the book of Acts. Damascus in Acts 9, Salamis, Antioch, Pisidia in Acts 13, the synagogues in Iconium in 14, Thessalonica in 17, Berea in 17, as well as Athens.

Well, there was no synagogue in Athens. Then Corinth, at least none mentioned, Athens, Corinth, where he is now, and then when he gets to Ephesus, and then in Rome. And so again, he's targeting the assemblies to share the message because that was just the wisest way to broadcast the gospel to a group of people who you relatively had their undivided attention.

It was very wise, and to this day it is a good idea. In verse five now, when Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ. So clearly, Luke words this as though Paul was at work before they got there. But when Silas and Timothy showed up, there was, you know, he just inspired on another level. Now, he summoned these two men when he was still in Athens.

We read that in chapter 17, verse 15. He asked for them to come, but he had to leave Athens, and he goes to Corinth. Well, they finally catch up, and these guys, man, Paul would say, go here, they go. Come here, and they come. With the exception of Apollos that we have in writing, and we'll get to Apollos soon, not this morning though.

It's just remarkable. Anyway, I think when they got there, I know when they got there, they're going to update Paul on where they were. Paul left them in, well, he left Luke in Philippi, maybe Titus.

He left these men at Thessalonica, and Berea, he left people. Well, they're going to come and update him on the Jews in Berea and Thessalonica, and they're going to tell him, they're following the Lord. Paul's going to write letters back to Thessalonians.

We have two of them. It's when he tells, when they tell Paul how well the work is going, yeah, he's inspired. Yeah, that ramps up his confidence to go at the Jews to convert them to their Messiah. Paul needed a man like Aaron and her, men of spiritual stamina to help hold his arms up, and here they are. These brave disciples were loyal to this ministry because they could see what Christ was doing, and they were a part of it.

And we read here in verse five, Paul was compelled by the Spirit. So they come and they see the churches are thriving. They're just following. They're going into the scriptures, the Old Testament scriptures. They're seeing that Christ is the Messiah. They're preaching it to people.

Gentiles and Jews alike. Paul gets this and says, I'm not going to back down here in Corinth. I'm going to ramp it up. And that's what he is doing. He's compelled by the Spirit. Now, there's a subtle contrast between here in Corinth and there in Athens. In Athens, we read, now while Paul waited for them at Athens, that's Silas and Timothy, his Spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols. Now, God was still part of that, but it's just a subtle thing. In Athens, Paul's Spirit moved him to action, resulting in slight success. In Corinth, the Holy Spirit compels him into action, and many believe that's how it's worded in verse 8. So just a little thing there. It's not a criticism.

It's a fact. And, you know, we all want to reach lost people, but when we're moved by the Holy Spirit, oh, man, things happen, and you have to learn to be sensitive to that. And how do you learn to be sensitive to the Spirit's leading? Well, you've got to get skin in the game. You've got to be part, you've got to do it. You have to start looking to share with people, and be ready to share with people your love for Jesus Christ and why you love him. You have to learn how to take the hits of the scoffers and, you know, those who are just trouble. And you learn after a while, okay, this is the Spirit's leading, and that was me leading.

And it is, again, you've got to be in it to win it kind of a thing. It testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ. He would talk to them about the virgin birth that Isaiah laid out in Isaiah chapter 7. He would talk to them about the birth in Bethlehem from Micah chapter 5. He would talk to them about the betrayal of Christ for 30 pieces of silver as said by Zechariah the prophet. He was saying, look, these things aren't a secret.

You can write your homies in Jerusalem and find out they were witnesses to these things. And many of them said, we don't want to hear it. Our mind is made up. We're going to believe in what we like. And others said, amen, brother, we believe.

And that is just a reality that we face. One outlaw on the cross didn't want to hear it. The other one wanted to be in paradise with Christ. Verse 6, but when they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them, your blood be upon your own heads.

I'm clean. From now on, I will go to the Gentiles. And Paul, he'd sing them with that. It provoked them to jealousy. He didn't mind saying, fine, you don't want to hear it? There's Gentiles that will hear it. That would anger them even more. But why should he continue his message? Not going to jam it down their throats.

It's not going to cast pearl before swine. Matthew chapter 10, Jesus said, and whoever will not receive you nor hear your words when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. And it's a gesture of saying, I'm done with you. I don't want any of that unbelief coming off on me. Where he says, your blood be upon your own heads.

I am clean. From now on, I will go to the Gentiles. He's saying, the doom is your fault. It's Ezekiel-esque. Ezekiel 33, 7 and 9, just the same kind of, you know, watchmen, you know, make sure you preach the gospel to them. So he will, now he will still preach in other synagogues in other cities. But here in Corinth, he's going to redirect his energy to the non-Jews. Verse, and how did humanity get divided into Jews and non-Jews?

Isn't that, isn't that a testimony to the scripture? The whole world plays along with that. There's no one on earth that says, I don't recognize Gentiles and Jews. I just say everybody has one.

No, they don't. There's Gentiles and Jews. Where did this come from? You got to go back to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, the patriarchs, and there you'll find it. Israel is a special, it's special. The whole history of Israel is a sermon to earth to this day. You can't explain it.

You can't account for it unless there is a creator who is intelligent, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, all of them together. And I like it that way. Verse seven, and we should tell the world, look, you might not like it, but I love it.

Because some people, you know, they'll see the genuine love and they want that too. Others are going to be who they are. Verse seven, and he departed from there and entered the house of a certain man named Justice, one who worshiped God, whose house was next door to the synagogue. Well, the fact is, one who worshiped God indicates he is a convert. He is a Gentile converted to Judaism. He's going to be a Gentile converted to Judaism and then to Christianity, to the Christ, to the Messiah.

He's going to believe that Jesus is, that the Messiah has come and it is Jesus. When a Gentile accepted the doctrines of Judaism, they became a proselyte at the gate. That's what the other Jews categorized them. To become a full Jew, you'd have to go through the circumcision rites, which many of the Gentiles wanted no part of. And being far away from Jerusalem, it was easier to get away with it.

So, anyhow, just a little background information. He says, whose house was next door to the synagogue? Again, the first century church wished they had synagogues that they could meet in, but they had to find people that had a large enough house to house visitors. And you know, it's just anyway, the Jews, they were allowed their synagogues by Rome, but Rome was pretty tight. There were some, some of the Caesars didn't want any parts of paganism outside of folk Roman religion.

Anyway, that's, that's just a whole other mess and really doesn't impact us too much. We move on now to verse 8. Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household and many of the Corinthians hearing believed and were baptized.

There's so much here. So, here Paul, who's in fear, comes to this decadent city and the people are being converted left and right. And from the synagogue, which a lot of the Jews didn't care for, Crispus is a high profile Jewish convert. He's a ruler of the synagogue. And now he's a Christian.

They're going to fire him. And, and we'll, you know, 1 Corinthians 14, it appears that, well, let me just a little background. 1 Corinthians 1 14. I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Caius. You see how messed up that church was?

Where you got a pastor saying, I'm glad I didn't baptize any of you, except these two guys. Because, so, because 1 Corinthians 1 is war. The first nine chapters, there's Paul slapping them around because they were guilty. They needed that spanking. And it's, it worked, incidentally.

It worked. That's why we have a second Corinthian letter and the tone has changed. But this is that Crispus. Paul baptizes him. He says here in, it says here in verse eight, and many of the Corinthians hearing believed and were baptized. This is not, this didn't happen in Athens, but it's happening here. What if he was just discouraged in Athens and said, that's it. I, you know, I laid it out intellectually, clearly, lovingly, to these Athenians and those high-minded dudes didn't want to hear it.

I'm done. No, that's not what Paul does. He moves on to Corinth. And notice the sequence here in verse eight. They heard, they believed, they were baptized. This is the Christian way. There's nothing about this that is outdated. There's nothing, well that was for them back then.

And it's for us now, right now. Again, you get the feeling that those early Christians were big on spreading the gospel and upholding the gospel at the same time. What good is it if you convert somebody to shallow Christianity?

Because they're likely not going to survive. Verse nine, now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision. Do not be afraid but speak and do not keep silent. Well, fear was either already working on Paul's mind or on its way. Whether it was such as with Abraham, when Abraham rescued his nephew Lot, and then he worried about the, you know, retaliation and God came to Abraham and encouraged him. And while here, Paul may be saying, listen, I've been down this road before. I'm hearing the threats.

I've preached the gospel. I've made converts and I was beaten and stoned and maybe he's afraid. He is afraid, no question about it, or else God wouldn't say, don't be afraid. You know, if you walk up to somebody and you're just, you know, as you're talking and you just say, don't be afraid.

They're going to say, what are you talking about? Unless they're afraid. So, you know, it's the same with Joshua, you know, fear not Joshua, you know, in Joshua chapter one because Joshua was afraid to task in front of him.

It's understandable. In First Corinthians, Paul writes to them, he says, I was with you in weakness, in fear and in much trembling. So, you know, to hear that, okay, Paul is miserable too in sharing the gospel. But Corinth was worth it.

And it was worth it because God had many people there. He happened to tell Paul that this time. Most of the time God doesn't say that.

Most of the time he says, be faithful. And Paul was victorious in other places where God did not have to tell him this, but he does here. So the Lord strengthens him in the midst of a decadent Corinth. Verse 10, the Lord says, for I am with you and no one will attack you to hurt you, for I have many people in this city. Well, they will attack him verbally, but they will not attack him to hurt him.

Even the Jews, they were attacking him. The Christian life is to be lived behind a shield, not within a bubble. And that's what we're seeing. And this is common.

Psalm 5 verse 12 talks about the Lord being a shield for us. A lot of folks don't want to go to church because they don't want the pain of interaction. They don't want their toes stepped on. They don't want the drama that comes with being around human beings and being plugged in.

And they're missing out because it is worth it. And what is the alternative? What if all Christians lived that way? What would happen if all Christians says, ah, we don't need to go to church?

What would you have? You would have a spastic body that could not control itself. That's moving in directions.

It shouldn't move in involuntarily. It would just be what God did not want it to be. And that's why there's such an emphasis on the body of Christ, which the Lord bought with his blood. And it is the local body. It's so sick of people. Oh, the church is everywhere. Yeah, it is.

But that's your cop-out line. If you're not into understanding, there is to be a local assembly because there is power in that against hell. And if you don't believe it, just attend one of those assemblies and you'll find out that hell targets the church.

Don't be so surprised. God said to him, for I have many people in this city. God always sees more than us, always more than his servants and everybody else. But again, these words to Paul would explain his readiness to be afraid, his readiness to suffer for the gospel. And these lives are held up next to our lives. And God says, oh, how are we doing? I don't care if it's Joseph in jail, if it's Esther facing death, if it's Paul going from city to city, these characters are held up next to us and we may not be able to be like a Paul, but we can grab a portion of it. We can fill our hands with as much of it as we can get and we will be better off and so will others. But you got to be willing to die to self or else it's not going to work well.

You have to be willing to get your feelings hurt or else it won't work well. Anyway, for I have many people in this city, verse 11, and he continued there a year and six months teaching the word of God among them. So this is the foundation of this church. Now, how did Paul feel when he invested so much into this church?

He taught them personally only to find out they're attacking him. An element in that church was fiercely attacking him and the behaving like just, you know, the incest that was, I mean, just the crazy things. You get to first Corinthians 5, you say, man, I can't believe this is in church.

But he didn't give up. The conceited Athenians, they were too self-impressed to be burdened in their hearts and receive the gospel, but the corrupt Corinthians saw their need for a savior. Paul had three extended stays in big cities that we know about. In Corinth, he stayed for a year and a half as we read here in verse 11. Ephesus, for three and a half years. Ephesus, he invested in Ephesus. John the apostle invested in Ephesus.

Apollos invested in Ephesus. All of these big guns, only to hear Jesus say, you left your first love. Discouragement is everywhere. Try not to pick it up.

It's on the ground like gravel. Rome, two years, Acts 28, at least. And there's repeat visits also with these. Verse 12, then Galileo was pro-counsel in Achaea. The Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him to the judgment seat. Well, this is the very thing the Lord was saying, don't worry about these guys.

I'm with you. Now this last, when the Lord says, said to him, fear not, I have people in Corinth. That was Corinth. What about Jerusalem and Rome? Because he's going to go to Jerusalem. Well, God's going to be with him.

But ultimately, God would just bring him home. Anyway, Galileo is the brother of Seneca, who was the tutor of Nero the Caesar, that butcher. Nero will order both of their suicides. Give them an alternative.

Kill yourself or we'll kill you for you. And he, first Seneca, the great teacher, and Nero was a good Caesar for a while there. And then he went off the rails. Seneca, when he did, he get rid of Seneca because that was just irritating to his conscience. And then Seneca's brother, this Galileo here, he too. Anyway, verse 13, they're continuing with their charges saying, this fellow persuades men to worship God contrary to the law. Here we go again. Well, again, the Roman folk religion was embraced and other, even pagan religions weren't tolerated by Rome.

They could fly beneath the radar. Here they're trying to get Galileo to just get rid of them. I think when Paul gets in front of Nero and he lays out, we're not Jews, we're Christians, Nero takes that and says, really? Then he had a scapegoat and he began to persecute the Christians to the favor of the Jews that were not messianic. Verse 14, and when Paul was about to open his mouth, Galileo said to the Jews, if it were a matter of wrongdoing or wicked crimes, oh Jews. It's interesting how Luke puts that in there, right?

He throws that emotion in there. He says, there would be no reason why I should bear with you. But if it is a question of words and names and your own law, look to it yourselves for I do not want to be a judge over such matters.

So Galileo saw that Christianity emerged from Judaism. And so he's thinking that it's just a sect of Judaism. And so he's saying, look, I don't want to hear it. The court's not here for that.

You got a traffic ticket or something you want to talk about? Otherwise, beat it. And that's essentially what happens. He wants no part of this. After all, Rome just chased out the Jews for the same thing. Crestus, arguing over Christ. So verse 16, and he drove them from the judgment seat, which implies they still argued. So he had to forcefully get them out. This irritated the court. Verse 17, then all the Greeks took Sosnes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat.

But Galileo took no notice of these things. Well, they had to drive him out. And in the process of their, once their blood got hot, they started hitting.

Sosnes evidently replaced Crispus as the ruler of the synagogue. And he became the target. They singled him out. And they gave him a beat down. It appears that he became a Christian. Doesn't always work this way. When Paul writes again to the Corinthians, Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sostenes, our brother.

You catch, you know, you just can't keep things that close and disassociate them. If Paul is in Corinth, there is a Sostenes there. He's directly related. Many people are coming to Christ, many of them Jewish. And then when he writes back to Corinth, he mentions Sostenes, and he points out he's our brother. So, as with most Bible teachers, this is very likely the Sostenes that gets converted. Because probably the only people that are showing him any love are the Christians. Because the deers are probably frustrated. You failed in court.

You blew it. But it says, but Galileo took no notice of these things. Well, Rome and Greece, they didn't really care for the Jews. They tolerated them.

They benefited from them. But the fickle mind of man and his concept of law. I thought you were a magistrate, a judge. I thought you were supposed to uphold justice.

But he looks the other way. That's just a little note that Luke puts in there. It says, remember where you are amongst the corrupt.

This is why salvation is needed. You've been listening to Cross-Reference Radio, the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel in Mechanicsville, Virginia. As we mentioned at the beginning of today's broadcast, today's teaching is available free of charge at our website. Simply visit crossreferenceradio.com. That's crossreferenceradio.com. We'd also like to encourage you to subscribe to the Cross-Reference Radio podcast. Subscribing ensures that you stay current with all the latest teachings from Pastor Rick. You can subscribe at crossreferenceradio.com or simply search for Cross-Reference Radio in your favorite podcast app. Tune in next time as Pastor Rick continues teaching through the book of Acts, right here on Cross-Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-01 09:40:25 / 2024-01-01 09:50:17 / 10

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