Pastor Barry/ The Gathering Church Acts # 15: RIOT (Righteous Invasion Of Truth) To hear this message get our free app @ the App Store. Search The Gathering Connect.
In Corinth Acts 18:1-17
After Paul preached at the Aeropagus he left Athens and went to Corinth where he met Aquila and his wife Prisilla. They were Jesus believing Jews who were ordered out of Rome by emperor Claudius. All Jews were ordered out of Rome by the emperor because of their constant rioting over Christianity (recorded by the Roman historian Suetonius).
Corinth during Paul’s day had a population of about 250,000 free men and as many as 400,000 slaves. The seaport city contained at least twelve temples. One of the most famous was dedicated to Aphrodite, the goddess of love, whose worshipers practiced religious prostitution. At one time 1,000 sacred prostitutes served in that temple. Immorality was so rampant in Corinth that the Greek verb “to Corinthianize” came to mean “to practice sexual immorality”.
Silas and Timothy finally came back from Macedonia and joined Paul again where he was preaching to the Jews about how Jesus was their Messiah. The Jews became so abusive that Paul proclaimed to them that from that point forward he would speak only to the Gentiles. This Paul did and had great success with the Corinthians. God told Paul not to be afraid but too “keep on speaking” because He had “many people there”. “Many believed” and Paul began a church in Corinth (1 and 2 Corinthians are letters that Paul would later write to that Church) but it would have many problems.
The riots that were caused in Rome by the Jews against Christians had now begun in Corinth too. Gallio, the Roman proconsul, refused to judge such religious matters and so the Jews turned on the Synagogue leader and beat him up for allowing the Christians to share there. Gallio did nothing and so the Jews continued their abuses; however, Paul did what the Lord said: He was not afraid, for God was with him and he kept right on speaking…so should we!
Why People Fear Sharing the Gospel (Share with unbelievers)
- I do not know what to say. If you feel unprepared to do evangelism then the Bible tell us to get prepared (1 Peter 3:15-16). If you are not sure how to share your faith, you can get training by more experienced people. Ask your pastors, elders, or more mature believers in your congregation for help. Don’t over complicate evangelism. It is just a conversation about what you believe with those you care about.
- I feel unconvincing, and powerless when I think of evangelizing. You are not alone when you evangelize. Jesus said He will be with you always (Matthew 28:19-20). Through His Spirit, Jesus is with you wherever you go. The Biblical pattern of evangelism does not encourage a “Lone Ranger” approach, but spreading the gospel in pairs or groups of believers. Remember Jesus sent His disciples out two by two. We also must remember that it is the Holy Spirit who draws people to Himself. He saved us not because of our righteousness but because of His mercy.We must believe that for others as well as ourselves (Titus 3:4-7).
- I might get mocked, upset people, or create conflict. Yes, you may. Rejection, ridicule, and anger come with the territory in evangelism. Yet we know we are told by Jesus to “fear not” (Luke 12:32). His Spirit does not make us timid, but gives us power to share the gospel unashamedly (2 Timothy 1:7-8). In fact, you will never know this power until you step out on faith and trust Jesus to deliver what He has promised. So Christian… ”Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For, as Jesus said, I am with you” Acts 9:b-10a
Educate Believers Acts 18:18-19:1-7, 1 Timothy 4:7-16
Paul eventually left for Syria with Priscilla and Aquila after having his hair cut off at the completion of a Nazarite vow that he made to God. (The Nazirite vow, which appears in Numbers 6:1-21, was voluntary, had five features, had a specific time frame and had specific requirements and restrictions. At its conclusion a sacrifice was offered and the hair was cut off). Wherever Paul went he shared truth with both unbelievers and believers.
We read an interesting thing in Acts 18:18-19:7. Priscilla and Aquila met a believer named Apollos who spoke and taught about Jesus accurately but only knew the baptism of John. The couple invited him to their home and “explained to him the way of God more accurately”. In other words they educated a believer on Jesus’ teaching about the Holy Spirit. We understand this passage better as we read on: There were believers in Christ (baptized by John) who were unaware of the promise of the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-20, 26-27). Paul met more of these uneducated Christians in Ephesus. You will meet many uneducated Christians today. Some were poorly taught and have poorly sought the scriptures. We too must educate them according to the truth that we have studied. John the Baptist had only baptized people to repent of their sin and to announce the one who would save them, Jesus. They were not baptized in Jesus’ name although they were followers. They had not heard the teaching on the Spirit of God being always with them. On hearing this they were baptized in Jesus name and asked for the Holy Spirit to come upon them. Both the unbeliever and the believer must hear truth. That is why we must study it and live it out (1 Timothy 4:7-16). The Holy Spirit comes upon the believer at conversion yet we need to know what that means to experience it.
The Real Deal (“sheep” or “goat”) Acts 19:8-22
There is a difference between those who love God (and the power He works through them) and those who have other motives. The seven sons of Sceva illustrate for us the folly of not having a personal relationship with Jesus and yet trying to ward off demons which are very real. Only God’s children (“sheep”) are protected from such harm and God knows His children and so does the Devil! (John 10:27-28, Matthew 25:31-33) Are you a “sheep” or a “goat”? Be the real deal. Christianity is not a social club, a dating engagement or a program for profit.
R.I.O.T. Acts 19:23-41, Matthew 25:31-40
A R.I.O.T (Righteous Invasion Of Truth) broke out in Ephesus and threw haters into disarray. In the same way the truth of God shared will always stir up something. Those wanting to hold on to the things of this world will become furious, others will join in and “not even know why they are there”—these just want to be popular at any cost. Some, however, “the sheep”, will share the gospel and educate the believers, feed the hungry and walk in the Spirit until Jesus calls us home. Like Paul and his companions let us be on a R.I.O.T. together until He comes!