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Thinking About Quitting Church? Paul's Mission in Corinth

March 21, 2021 Speaker: Scott Slaughter Series: Acts, Continuing the Work of Jesus

Topic: Suffering Scripture: Acts 18:1–18:17

Sometimes it’s hard to carry on. Have you ever felt that way? Overwhelmed and beaten down, you fight back thoughts of throwing up your hands walking away. David knew this kind of exhaustion; in Psalm 55 he writes, [1] Give ear to my prayer, O God, and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy! [2] Attend to me, and answer me; I am restless in my complaint and I moan, [3] because of the noise of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked. For they drop trouble upon me, and in anger, they bear a grudge against me. [4] My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen upon me. [5] Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelms me. [6] And I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest; [7] yes, I would wander far away; I would lodge in the wilderness; Selah [8] I would hurry to find a shelter from the raging wind and tempest.” (ESV) Perhaps Paul the Apostle of Christ was feeling this way when he entered one of the largest metropolitan cities in the Roman Empire of his day. He had had a short time of rest but in case we have gotten lost in Luke’s rapid-fire reporting of momentous events, let me remind you briefly of what the Apostle had endured being standing in the ancient world’s equivalent to “Sin City.” Since chapter 14 Paul has been stoned, dragged from the city and left for dead at Iconium (14:19-23), had a division with his close friend Barnabas (15:36-41), declared guilty of riot without cause, stripped naked, beaten, and thrown into the inner jail at Philippi (16:16-24), run out of Thessalonica (17:1-9), and Berea and laughs at in Athens (17:32). Now, he walks into the most affluent and sexually debased city in the Roman world. Is it any wonder that Christ spoke to him in verse 9 to reassure him that it was okay to remain in Corinth for eighteen months. [9] And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, [10] for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” [11] And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.