Monday, April 10, 2017

April 10 - Acts 18

Today's reading in our daily plan is Acts 18. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • After preaching in Athens, Paul goes west to the city of Corinth. There he meets Aquila and works with him as a tentmaker while preaching in the synagogue on the weekend. Paul almost gives up and leaves town because the Jews were being very abusive, so he decides to share about Jesus in people's homes. At this point, God gives Paul a vision that he needs to stay and God will keep him safe. Accordingly, Paul stays in Corinth for a year and a half, and just as God promised, he keeps him safe when the Jews try to throw him in jail.
  • Paul later sails for Ephesus with his new friends Priscilla and Aquila. While in Ephesus, he continues to preach in the synagogues. They beg him to stay but he continues on to Israel and then back to Antioch. This ends his second missionary journey.
  • Paul then sets out a third time to strengthen the churches throughout the region. At this point another apostle, Apollos, shows up in Ephesus. Apollos knew the scriptures and could speak with great depth about Jesus, but he only knew of the baptism of John. This means he had repented of his sin, believed in Jesus, and had been baptized in water as John the Baptist preached, but he had not been introduced to the the Holy Spirit yet (see Acts 19:1-7). So, Priscilla and Aquila explained this in detail to him. He then went out debating the Jews publicly, proving that Jesus was the Savior.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Priscilla and Aquila are forced to leave their home in Rome, which must have been very difficult. But, as a result, they get to meet Paul, who helped strengthen their faith. 
  • Paul did all he could to help people know about Jesus and to advance God's Kingdom. We need to do the same. At one point we see Paul discouraged, so God speaks to him (verses 9-10) re-assuring him and building up his resolve. We need to learn to go to God when we're discouraged rather than feeling defeated.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • What is a negative "event" in your life right now? How might God be able to use it for good? How can you seek the good in it and have a better attitude about it?
  • In what ways are you feeling discouraged or like you want to quit? What have you done with those feelings? Take them to God and seek his encouragement.
  • Are you doing all you can, like Paul and Apollos, to share Jesus? Both men were fearless and bold. They knew their God and they knew their scriptures. As a result, they could stand up to the toughest critic. Can you say the same thing about yourself? If you can't, make sure that you are spending time with God and in the Bible everyday, so that you can be prepared to share Christ with the critics in your life.
  • Apollos realized that he didn't fully understand baptism when he was baptized. If you were baptized as a baby or child, but it was someone else's decision, not yours', perhaps you should get baptized but this time because you understand it and are making the decision for yourself.