Share This Episode
The Bible Study Hour James Boice Logo

Many People in this City

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
September 11, 2020 8:00 am

Many People in this City

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 586 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

September 11, 2020 8:00 am

It was a cosmopolitan city. It was a commercial city. And it was a corrupt city. In short, it was very much like many of our big cities today. It was Corinth, a melting pot of people, a center of trade, and home to ten thousand prostitutes serving at the temple of Aphrodite. It was also a turning point in Pauls ministry.

A New Beginning
Greg Laurie
Moody Church Hour
Erwin Lutzer
Cross the Bridge
David McGee
More Than Ink
Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin
Encouraging Prayer
James Banks
Truth Matters
Dr. Cheryl Davis

It was a cosmopolitan city wasn't commercial city and it was a corrupt city. In short, it was very much like many of our big cities today. It was Corinth. The melting pot of people, etc. trade-in home to 10,000 prostitutes serving at the temple of Aphrodite. It was also a turning point in Paul's ministry and welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet program with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically. Paul arrived in Corinth alone and short of cash and found people unresponsive to his message. No one could blame him if he was a little discouraged that God had some very encouraging things in store.

Let's listen now to Dr. Boyce retracing the ministry of the apostle Paul on his second missionary journey.

And we've seen as we've begun to look at this in detail in these latter chapters of acts that it was becoming increasingly administrative cities is not entirely true in the beginning, Paul is described as having moved through areas of the country, presumably speaking to anyone.

As time went on tasks that he was engaged upon looms increasingly large and important. It is mind, he decided it would seem to focus on the strategic areas so about the middle of the second journey on throughout the third, and indeed throughout the rest of his life would seem that Paul spent most of his time of the great cities of the Greco-Roman world we've seen some of the last chapter, we saw his ministry in Athens today. In the 18th chapter of acts we find in working in the great Greek town of Corinth. Corinth was not like Athens.

Matter fact it was different for almost any other city. He had visited want to give you three words will help you to remember what Corinth was like. And because Corinth begins with a C. Each of these three words also begin with the letter say first of all, it was cosmopolitan beings that contain a mixture of many people and races. This was not entirely true of all the other cities of course in the Roman world of that day there was a mixture everywhere you went there were Romans and Greeks were Jews and virtually all of the cities. Paul visited. No doubt there were trainers from the Orient and other people as well, that was great converse with North Africa but they tended more or less to be the same is not quite true of Antioch in Syria, which he started out I was an amazingly cosmopolitan city blocks. Philippi was a Roman colony had been settled by retired Roman soldiers and some of the other cities bore their own more or less unique configurations. Athens was more or less the center of the intellectuals.

It tended to be the same lot, Corinth, Corinth had this tremendous mixture because of course it was a seaport was much commerce and as a result of that people came and went from all over the Roman world. I like Corinth in that respect because it's a lot like the cities we know our cities have great mixtures of people mixtures of races people around the world studying our major cities, people of various races, each trying to do their own thing. People of different intellectual abilities. People from different classes of society.

Corinth was cosmopolitan was like our cities. In that regard. Secondly was also commercial, which I just alluded to it was uniquely commercial. Every city has its commercial aspects. Of course it wouldn't be a city. Generally, cities are there because they are the focal point for the exchange of goods, but Corinth was uniquely this. It was situated on the isthmus between the main part of Greece of the Peloponnese in the South and it was a narrow Christmas and that meant the traffic across Corinth in two different directions across Corinth, from north to south along the land as per the Peloponnese up into the mainland and down in reverse, but it also brought Corinth east to west across the estimates.

We look at it today and we would say, well, that would be a difficult way to ship goods would be far easier to ship them around the Peloponnese to the south, yes, but that's because we have modern boats and modern means of transportation. In ancient times it wasn't quite so easy. The wages were hazardous. Therefore, it was common for ships to dock at that port on the Adriatic Sea and then unload slaves would carry the goods over the isthmus down the other side where they would be relocated on other ships and Ceylon in two the Aegean and ancient times was even an attempt to cut a canal across the isthmus.

It wasn't successfully tried it in the roast.eventually they gave up only in the last century that the canal was built through the isthmus by Corinth there today. I sailed through it once on a ship but nevertheless the same things that make Corinth port today center commerce were true the ancient world. So this great city was cosmopolitan and commercial.

And thirdly, this is 1/3 say corrupt is morally corrupt and everybody knew it. Ancient world.

They were Corinthian was a synonym with the most perverse form of behavior that was the center of the great cult of Aphrodite, Aphrodite, was the same goddesses, Venus, goddess of love and it was said by the agents that it integrates temple of Aphrodite and Corinth. One of the architectural wonders of the ancient world that were at the temple or in close connection with a 10,000 temple prostitutes who would service all of the sailors and other commercial personages that pass through town. If you were called Corinthian in the ancient world and what I actually from Corinth regarding that particular appellation as an insult electricity to which Paul next came a city like our cities. I wonder as I begin to read this chapter, what Paul's frame of mind was CK Malone Corinth. At this stage of his second missionary journey. I asked myself whether Paul great man of God, as he was great power of strength and faith is the is seen to be in his journeys of this great man was nevertheless discouraged when asked myself that question I tend to think he wants on a great deal is said about it. I think inside look at what happened the way in which he operated what he got here to Corinth that he probably was a very discouraged or at least hire very fatigued man of the things he had been through experience he had had them before he got there first of all, he got a very rough time both on the first and second missionary journey as he had been opposed virtually everywhere he went and did indeed, the opposition seem to be increasing very beginning when he started out across Cyprus were barely told the pastor of the island pulled a few of the incidences there's no mention of any special persecution of Paul when he crossed over into Pamphylia and came to Antioch in basidia told there he was approached so strongly that he had to leave the city after only being there a very short time, and when he got to Lycoming on the same thing was true.

He was opposed there as well. Time. He went on to listen and hear the opposition that had dogged his footsteps earlier became outright physical abuse. He was stone Lester, I suppose, because stoning was meant to kill the victim of the stoning that those who saw all fall down under the barrage of missiles must have thought that the missionary journey was over and Paul was dead were told in the accounts is that after his assailants had left and gone back into the city.

Paul rose up and then went back in with brother and himself.

It may suggest God healed Paul miraculously doesn't say that explicitly, but any rate very suffered physical abuse and we know on the second journey he went on to Philippi.

Mary was beaten long first of several experiences that particularly cruel form of Roman punishment was thrown into prison first time he was imprisoned for the faith and it was out of that kind of experiences he had passed from Philippi down from Thessalonica and Berea in Athens that he finally came to Corinth. I'm sure Paul didn't say this but if you and I had been through that experience.

We might have said is we tend to say when things go badly for us today who needs this.

I had a perfectly good life back home in Jerusalem. There I was somebody. I have turned my back on that serve Jesus Christ and he is said to me hello I am with you always, even under the end of the age. Yet here I am, abused, hounded from city to city stone beaten and imprisoned. I can do without this. Thank you all very much.

So I say, I'm sure Paul didn't say it surely didn't even think it, but knowing human nature as I do. I believe this undoubtedly had its effect upon them personally. Secondly, you just come from Athens. We studied account of his time in Athens and I said we have to be very careful how we evaluate certainly the sermon or to be more precise, the academic address that Paul gave therapy for the Areopagus is a marvel of communication in the ancient world chose is my work shows his ability to adapt to nearly any situation. He spoke to Josie spoke as a Jew, and he spoke to Greeks as a great many smoked intellectuals. He spoke as an intellectual, only somebody of Paul's great training ability acumen could do it. Yet the results were meager workday we come to the end of the story we find that if you believe it's as if you man became followers of Paul and believe one was by an ECS member of the Areopagus important man, but goes on today mothers it's is also a woman named Demarest doesn't even cite as Paul said on other occasions, very distinguished women as the woman Demarest and a number of others.

Nothing is said about the founding of the church in Athens. We know that in time the church was founded endured for many years but when Paul left, I went on to Corinth as we find it doing in his 18th chapter must have been with the sense least, if not a failure. Perhaps with an awareness that what he had just done. Certainly not born any particular evidence of the sovereign blessing of Almighty God. I think to that he may possibly have been discouraged with his address on medication. I say we have to be careful when we say that, but we do remember that when he came later to write to the Corinthians describes, in retrospect, his ministry among them, he said, remember that when I was with you I was not with you with learning or wisdom or in the power of speech that is all the forms of rhetoric are so common among the Greeks, the kind of things that people with long to hear though, we have to understand them to imply I am quite capable of doing that. If I should choose, but rather he said what I was with you I determined and known nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified by the same sort of thing here. Chapter 18 I'm sure it emphasizes the identical point when Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching that is the explanation in the application of the word of God.

I say yes.

He came to Corinth and look back on his experiences see what it had some grounds for discouragement. And again, he was long, he had left Silas and Timothy behind Macedonian with very good reasoning founded churches there they needed leaders had believed he hadn't been able to teach them for very long.

Obviously they needed teaching Silas and Timothy were for they were the leaders of the last having left them having gone on as he felt called to do. Paul did go on alone.

Some people apparently do well alone. We called loners know it's hard to be alone especially hard to be alone trying to accomplish some important work or tackle some particularly difficult assignments. It was all by the grace of God and the power of God and of the last service call trying to convert the Greek and Roman world was one man this day. I suppose it must've been just a bit down about that and I think Jewett was not only the experiences that he had had before he came to Corinth that must've weighed upon them, but there were also the experiences he had once he was there an awful lot about Paul's experience is disappointed. We read this chapter carefully. The first thing were told about right after the first verse were were told that he went there was that he met a Jew named Tukwila native upon us would recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla and that he teamed up with them because they were tentmakers stayed with him and he worked with them that is helping them in their business. No doubt in order to support himself for the Corinthian work. Now think about that.

I sent common idea with us today as a matter fact in evangelical circles missionary circles to hear very often today were tentmakers mean somebody who goes abroad to be a missionary.

But who supports himself or herself missionary work, not by receiving money from home by those who give to support the work abroad. By working in the economy of the country and then as it were witnessing or doing missionary work in the side. I tend to think that that's the direction missions is going for a number of reasons. Some countries, the only way you can get in today.

Also the world's economy is changing so much that it's become increasingly expensive support somebody entirely from homes or places where it has to be done.

It should be done that I will continue to be damaging think it's changing that way.

But the point I make here if you think about it is, although this is a very common idea with us.

This is the first time so far as we can tell in the missionary journeys of the apostle Paul where you found it necessary to support himself by his profession profession, making tents you say, without any manageable amount will no doubt those who sent them out gave them sufficient supplies of money. He was sent out from Antioch in Syria and that church in that prosperous city in the ancient world undoubtedly gave them the means to travel on his journey though because he writes about it in his letters that from time to time. The churches that he found when she later visited also supported here, here, I guess to Corinth. Apparently his money had run out apparently but it's really not in doubt because in the second of his letters to the Corinthians 2nd Corinthians chapter 11 verse nine eludes this period of financial material want when he was in Corinth I was complaining about it.

Second Corinthians as a matter fact making the point. He says that the Corinthian you know when I was there even though I had physical ones. I didn't make myself a burden upon you rather I work with my hands and also I was helped by gifts that came to me through the rather new game south of Macedonia is even though he's talking about it positively in an indirect way indicates that the was. Here when we arrived in Corinth that he didn't have sufficient funds all are lots of Christian works like that today.

I would go so far as to say best Christian works today seem to be lacking funds.

I often say something say it humorously, except I don't think it's very funny when I get to heaven is to be the first question I'm going to ask the Lord Jesus Christ. I know he's going to line up for question-and-answer period were all going to be able to come and ask the things of been on our minds and the puzzle listed in this Christian life and I am not going to sign. I wanted established in the record, I'm not going to say what is your view concerning eschatology that certainly divided the church and I'm not going to say, the Lord Jesus Christ. What is the proper mode of baptism of that has certainly divided the church I'm going to say Lord why is that when we were trying to do your work.

So many good solid struggling evangelical works almost operated hand to mouth so far as financial revision was concerned, while others others that offer the chaff of religion. If, indeed, is even proper to call it by that name hucksters seem to rake in millions of dollars, which they use quite lavishly and sinfully on themselves and their pleasures.

I don't know what is going to say to that is why when asked the question. I don't know what the answer that question is what I do know that the apostle Paul.

This first great missionary. This apostle is great, great man man of faith was, at least for a time here at Corinth in financial need and so we had to go to work in order to feed himself and carry on the ministry while that might've been discouraging. We read on that. He went into the synagogue and we find when we read that that he had very little success. There it strode her spine. Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews of Jesus was the Christ. But verse Jews opposed Paul and became abusive.

So much so that the time came when he actually shook out his clothes and adjust your protest and said to them, your blood be on your own heads unclear of my responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles. Think of that and its effect upon Paul Paul's policy had been to go.

First of all the synagogues all had articulated a principle of his missionary work, to the Jew first and also to the Gentiles. Moreover, Paul was addressing his own people for whom he had a special heart concern. And yet, in spite of his prayers in spite of his ministry in spite of his knowledge of the Scriptures very very few believed perhaps at this point, but all and then not only did he fail to have success that would have been bad enough.

But in place of the success he saw the actually got abuse from his people. If all had an excuse earlier to say I have had quite enough of this. I'm going home. Certainly they had an excuse to say that now all could've said, look, not only my rejected by my people not only that they turn away from Christ.

They are even abusive to me. I've seen it before. And here it is. It's starting all over again.

Now the abuse of the next thing they're going to do is start up the populace against me and then I'll be all in the court and pretty soon they'll have me thrown into jail, beaten I've been through that it will apply.

I don't need to go that again I'm going to quit his fears were not idle fears because the latter half of the story tells us that's precisely what his opponents in the synagogue tried to do well that's enough for the first half of the message.

I hope I show the Paul had ample cause to be discouraged. No doubt was just as we have causes to be discouraged. No doubt, or now comes the good news God intervenes, God intervened to encourage the apostle when you think of the things that God did first of all, God saw that Silas and Timothy came down for Macedonia is one of the things that Ted undoubtedly made it difficult for Paul as a Paul was alone trying to carry on alone.

He tried to carry on alone in Athens I was not inclined to try to carry on loan and car that I just gets to you after a while. Sometimes we think all I can do and I can carry on alone but can't carry on alone. We need one another.

That's why God is established the church is why God has established a plurality of leadership in the church. So one doesn't do it. It's supposed to be a team effort, and God knew that a course in a low, perfectly good reasons. Paul had gone and begun missionary work in Corinth, he did need help and so God saw to it that Silas and Timothy came I think of that when you see somebody who seems to be doing a good work to perhaps is carrying on without a great deal of encouragement. Remember that we need one another and what you can to encourage or help that kind of a Christian man or woman there is a sense in which anything that is worth doing if it's done by somebody is done in a way that makes it a lonely position for the one who is leading in the work. So I encourage you as Christians to seek out people were trying to do that. Get beside them, help them, encourage them speak a word in season because they know we all need to know that we need one another and there's a second thing and that's what I alluded to earlier, one of Paul's problems was that he had financial needs. When Silas and Timothy came down for Macedonia. They brought help.

Financial health of the Macedonian churches is what Paul is talking about. Second Corinthians 11. He says when the brethren came for Macedonia. Who were they really Silas and Timothy doesn't mention it there. But it's here in the story means that the church should still apply in the church at Thessalonica, and perhaps the church and Maria said Paul's out there and I wonder how is getting Lonnie's great preacher. He needs to have time to preach to the beach doesn't have enough money to live on again even by food in order to feed themselves and have to go to work yes go to work perfectly good work is good but you see, that takes time away from the preaching. We would rather he was preaching here let's take a collection and Silas and Timothy when you go down there and find Paul, you take it and see if this might not release him to do the work for which we believe God is particularly call them so they did. I think actually that that's the way verse nine should be taken. Silas and Timothy came down for Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively preaching. Why, because now he no longer had to work and I want to imply by that. The preaching is at work the hardest work you do and the pastors are always more tired after 1/2 hour 45 minutes or an hour preaching in any other corresponding to three or four hours in the day's work, but not the same kind here, their financial help release them to do what he was particularly called upon to do. And thirdly, although he had not had great success through his preaching in the synagogues, God began to give them some fruit for his efforts told in verse eight about this man Christmas Christmas synagogue ruler and his entire household believed in the Lord there was a Jew who you say Jewish name but he was a Jew because he was the ruler of the synagogue, the leader of the synagogue and this man believed and were told in the same verse – send many of the Corinthians who heard him also believed were baptized, so it is been a slow start been a discouraging commencement. Now you say the word of God was beginning to take effect. The Holy Spirit's was blessing man and women on here to there. I would hear were beginning to place her face. Jesus_thing the god damn first of all, he had sent Silas and Timothy second was financial aid. Third there was the beginning of response Christmas. The other people there. Corinthians in the city before thing is a God came to Paul in this great vision and the vision was meant to encourage them by telling them to carry on the work because God stood behind it and there would most certainly be blessing. I think each one of the things God says deserves attention and perhaps as you think about it, you can fill in the support material yourself.

First of all, God said don't be afraid. Paul we say all freight was Paul afraid Paul, the one who stood up to the stoning all allowed himself to be beaten until apply Paul, who sang songs of praise to God while in the stocks in the prison all afraid yes, afraid he must've been afraid because God doesn't waste words of God came to Paul and said Paul, don't be afraid.

It must be because Paul was afraid and unsighted.

Somebody don't be discouraged unless you think there discouraged. You don't say to somebody, don't give up unless you think they're going to give up and just in that same manner.

You don't say to someone, don't be afraid unless you know they really are afraid support was afraid he was afraid because of the hostility and what might happen. God said don't be second God said keep on speaking on speaking say to Pauline is what Paul did was his calling out Paul do anything else but keep on speaking.

I don't know what it might have been a temptation to him to say well this doesn't seem to be away which the work should be God it's not bearing fruit.

Perhaps I ought to seek out a different methodology. Perhaps you should try liturgical dance. Maybe we should get in the popular music. Maybe we should go on television and have talkshows we should have attract distribution. Maybe we should have a rock concert something different has to be tried. I find that the speaking is not particularly effective. God did not tell Paul to change his methods way been slow. Results of the meager God said to Paul, keep on preaching on teaching why because God has chosen to bring men and women to Christ through the proclamation of his word, Paul talks about in the 10th chapter of Romans saying there's no faith without hearing, and there's no hearing without a proclamation of the word of God. The third thing God said to Paul as repetition of what Jesus had said in the great commission. I'm sure Paul understood it to be such God said to him, I am with you, Paul ever find himself at times, wondering if God really was with him all I think probably deep in his heart he never did honor the God was with him just like you and I know God is with us.

Jesus said I am with you I will never leave you or forsake you a set of that's true the same time I wonder if in his discouragement he didn't occasionally occasionally, maybe only in a superficial begin to doubt it justice. We do find yourself trying to do what you think God wants you to do, bear witness in the office, live morally faced with temptation any of the other things that we find so difficult. It's so hard to begin to say is God really with me. Is it worth it all the right people on this wine that I just give up here what God said to Paul. God said, I am with you after you first of all said don't be afraid and keep on speaking before thing he said was particularly suited to Paul in a situation, God said no one will attack you or harm you.

That helped because earlier they had and they did that attacked him and they did hurt him, and the same sort of trouble was brewing here.

We read about it. As I said in the later versus the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him into court. They try, but as we find out they didn't succeed. Indeed, Galliano is a wise administrator recognize that this was not a matter for his own jurisdiction dispute among religious people and so we threw the case out of court and as it turned out, the people of the city actually turned on soft delays. The new synagogue ruler and beat him in front of the court instead of falls about honor his promise general I think of all the things that God said to Paul in this great vision. Undoubtedly, most important and the most significant for this apostle to the Gentiles was the last. God said, I have many people in the city what people wasn't the ones to whom Paul had already spoken and it would believed because they weren't many were only a few God said, I have many people in the city.

God alone is able to see the future and who determines what was looking ahead saying by the preaching of the word through your ministry. I am get going to bring many people to faith in Jesus Christ going to be my people are going to stand together as a church bears witness in this most corrupt city of the ancient world know the effect was Adam Paul. It's important to see that were told immediately after this in verse 11. After Paul had received the vision so therefore it means because of what God said so. Paul stayed on for a year and 1/2, teaching them the word of God understand that that's different yet done that before he moved from place to place. It's been a week here three weeks they are a month there, but he moved on. Soon as he is and convert the left somebody with them and he moved on God and told him don't be afraid no one will hurt you keep on speaking. I have many people in the city. Paul believed God, and he stayed on and he kept on preaching and you know what happened. Many people believed and came to Jesus Christ, moreover, seems to me that the turning point that Paul experienced here really affected everything he did.

From this point on the next great city visits his emphasis and he stays there two years and any Caesarea imprisonment is two years there eventually gets on the wrong several years there always in the gadfly anymore even though he recognizes that he still has the same call. That is to take the gospel throughout the Roman world, but it is as if he puts down roots teaches in depth over the period of time in order that those are one to Christ, might be faithfully rounded and the word I know perfectly well that you can't take a text like this vision spoken to Paul in a particular situation without any critical assessment whatsoever, just lifted up carrion overplay down and apply it to ourselves as if God would be saying – nobody will ever attack you but he will ever harm you just keep on speaking and there will be many people in the city. This sense, necessarily word directly from God to our own situations and I can help but think that God has placed us here is what you where he is what you do in your house in your neighborhood section of the city of East put us here at this church in Philadelphia. It's not because he doesn't have many people in the city because he does.

Our job same job that was given to Paul which is to keep on keep on keeping on. Bobby afraid that he is with us.

Keep speaking may be in our day. We will see the fruit much fruit for the blast may be that we will not see it frugal, I do notice her say that when the door of the synagogue closed on Paul.

The next house down the block, opened its door to him and he went to the house to the justice worshiper of God, who undoubtedly believes your one arch appear because God is providing an opportunity there is closing one door here is because he's opening one door there somebody here, was rejecting the gospel. That's because over here is another person is willing to receive our challenge is to take that word, we don't know the hearts that is prepared to take that word teaches the Sheriff's allow God to bless and knowing that in his own time for his own ends. He will most certainly bring fruit spray father said to Paul, I have many people in the city believe that you have many people in our city a people here in Philadelphia. Your people people to need to hear the word who, when they hear it's will believe Lawrence just three workers of the beginning was only one we are hundreds of people does it take to win a city just takes a few were willing to speak boldly the gospel of justification through faith in Jesus Christ, amen.

You are listening to the Bible study hours with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview.

Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. Alliance broadcasting includes the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Reich, God's living word with pastor, the Rev. Richard Phillips and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Barnhouse. For more information on the alliance including a free introductory package for first-time callers or to make a contribution. Please call toll-free 1-800-488-1888. Again, that's 1-800-488-1888. You can also write the alliance at Box 2000, Philadelphia PA 19103, you can visit us for Canadian gifts mail those 2237 Rouge Hills Dr., Scarborough, ON M1 C2 line 9 asking a free resource catalog featuring books, audio commentaries, booklets, videos, and a wealth of other materials from outstanding reformed teachers and theologian. Thank you again for your continued support and for listening to Bible study hour

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime