Speaker: Jerry Cisar
Imagine yourself in Paul’s shoes: This ministry trip began by Paul suggesting a return trip to the churches they had planted in the first ministry trip to south Galatia. Having completed that, they attempted to reach into neighboring areas only to have the Lord repeatedly stop them. Then Paul had a vision of a Macedonian man calling them to come. “The Lord must be calling us to preach the Gospel there!” and off they went.
In the first city, Paul and Silas are beaten, placed in stocks, singing praise at midnight, and are miraculously freed…only to trade their freedom for the freedom of the jailer. Leaving town they go to Thessalonica, where they are run out of town through intense persecution. Off to Berea, where again Paul is run out of town. Then to Athens, where Paul is brought up on charges before the religious authorities, has limited success, and then leaves.
Is there any question why he would arrive about 50 miles up the road in Corinth as he described, “I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling.” (1Co 2:3) Is there any wonder why Paul wrote, “It seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena…. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world…. (1Co 4:9, 13)
As a Christian, one who serves in Gospel ministry (whether as a preacher, a deacon over a community group, or serving faithfully in a Gospel preaching church), have you ever felt weak or as if you were being made a fool of? Are you discouraged by opposition, in need of renewed courage, or assurance that what you are doing matters?
In Acts 18:1-18, we can see that though Paul was affected by difficulty, mistreatment, weariness, and rejection, he was not defeated by them. How was Paul’s courage renewed? What allowed him to stay centered on the mission despite his weariness? In this text we will discover how Paul was renewed and received assurance that the mission of Christ was being accomplished. I believe we will also discover truths through which we can be renewed and receive the same assurance.