Saturday, October 06, 2007


Acts 18:1 How To Witness For Christ.

After this, he left from Athens and went to Corinth, 2 where he found a Jewish man named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul came to them, 3 and being of the same occupation, stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade. 4 He reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath and tried to persuade both Jews and Greeks. 5 When Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with preaching the message and solemnly testified to the Jews that the Messiah is Jesus. 6 But when they resisted and blasphemed, he shook out his clothes and told them, “Your blood is on your own heads! I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” 7 So he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God, whose house was next door to the synagogue. 8 Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed the Lord, along with his whole household; and many of the Corinthians, when they heard, believed and were baptized. 9 Then the Lord said to Paul in a night vision, “Don’t be afraid, but keep on speaking and don’t be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to hurt you, because I have many people in this city.” 11 And he stayed there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
"And it came to pass in Iconium that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and SO SPAKE that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed." (Acts14:1.)

The city of Corinth was destroyed by the Roman legionaries under Mummius in 146 B. C. And in the triumphal march, granted to Mummius through the streets of Rome, he carried with him hundreds and hundreds of wagons filled with the art treasures that he had plundered from Corinth. In 46 B. C., Julius Caesar re-built the city and it flourished immediately. It was a meeting place between the west and the east. Corinth had a port on both seas, the western sea and the eastern sea. It was a city of about two hundred thousand free men and five hundred thousand slaves, which is a proportion that you would find in all of that ancient empire.
It was Corinth and not Athens that was the capital of the Roman province of Achaia. And although Athens was the cultural center of that ancient world, Corinth no less had a place in the sun, in the arts and dramatics and treasures and sculptors and paintings of the time. For example, Corinthian bronze was famous throughout the world. And to this day, the most beautiful column that has ever been constructed, we called the Corinthian column.
But the city worshiped at the altars of vice and debauchery and degradation. On the Acrocorinthus was the temple of Aphrodite. And there were one thousand prostitutes dedicated to the worship of Aphrodite. And the practice just deepened the sad vice and immorality of that Greek city.
So Paul coming from Athens, walks across the Corinthian isthmus and comes to that famous ancient Greek metropolis. While he was there, he found his way into the Jewish community which seemingly was rather large in Corinth. For Dr. Luke writes that Claudius Caesar had just promulgated an edict, expelling all of the Jews from Rome.
The Latin historian Suetonius speaks of that Claudine edict. Suetonius says that the edict was promulgated because of the tumult and riot of the Jews in Rome over Christes, with an "e" Christes. Many scholars think that Suetonius did not hear the word correctly but should have written Christis; with an "i" referring to the Messiah Christ. There was such trouble and turmoil in the community of Jews over the Jesus of Nazareth that finally, Suetonius says Claudius just expelled all of them from the city. Whether that is true or not, the edict was signed and all of the Jews had to leave Rome, consequently many of them being merchandising people came to the great merchandising mercantile center in the world. They came to Corinth.
And Paul found his way into that community. And in the community, he found two Jewish Christians. The name of the husband is Aquila or "Eagle." And the name of his wife is Priscilla which is a diminutive of Prisca. Prisca is the name of one of the noblest of ancient Roman families. And almost is certainly, she belonged in some way to the circle of that family, though a Jewess. And in the providence of God, this couple became so a part of the early Christian church.
Well there is the background.
Paul began to make tents to keep himself fed, and to stay in that city. But his real job was winning people to Christ.
There are no two ways about it. Two weeks ago, Bobby Welch challenged us to the depths of our hearts about winning souls for the Lord Jesus Christ. He reminded us of the lostness of people who are without the Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:132 with no hope and without God in the world.
He reminded us how the Lord Jesus craves those who are lost to come to Him: The Lord Jesus said Matthew 23:37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem! The city who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her. How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, yet you were not willing!
He reminded us of the eternal lostness souls of without the Lord Jesus.
Matthew 25:46 46 “And they will go away into eternal punishment,
We as a church now have a greater desire to win those who are lost. To see them have eternal life. To see their lives put back together again, as the live reconciled to God. But as always the problem becomes “How?” How do I win the lost? Acts 18-28 is heavily laden with the how you can win your friend or your neighbour to the Lord Jesus Christ, and over these next few weeks we will discover the how to of winning people to the Lord Jesus.
"The question is, How do we win the world to Christ ... with a minimum of fuss and bother?" --
The approach of too many Churches and Christians with evangelism is to minimize it, or relegate it to a small group of gifted people. Nothing could be further from the truth however!
Evangelism is so important that every Church, every Christian, should be passionate about the lost and reach them … if we can be so passionate about other "lost" things less valuable, surely the most important thing in life should demand our attention … the eternal soul of the lost!
In 1990 newspapers reported that city workers in Newport Beach, California, were sifting through two and one-half tons of trash, looking for $42,500 mistakenly discarded at the Great American Bank and hauled away by garbage trucks. That's a significant loss of money, but it is only money. The loss of human lives and souls is infinitely more significant. Evangelism deserves our very best efforts. -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).
If people will wade through garbage to find $42,500 dollars that is lost, how much more should we be willing to do to recover the lost souls of men and women?
During the days of World War I, the United States was having trouble with German submarines. Military leaders were perplexed as to how to deal with this constant threat to allied shipping. The philosopher/comedian WILL ROGERS offered a solution to this problem. He said, “What we need to do is boil the ocean. This will create such a pressure that it will force the submarines to the top. Then it will be as easy to destroy them as shooting ducks in a pond.” A reporter replied, “That’s a good idea, Will, but how are we going to boil the ocean?” Rogers answered, “I’m just telling you what to do. It’s up to you to work out the details.”
This passage uses several terms to describe the earnestness with which Paul sought to win souls.

1. Use Appropriate Ways To Speak For Christ
Teach the word of God verse 11 seems to be a summary of how Paul communicated the Word of God. He taught the Word of God among them. What is teaching? Its imparting knowledge. That is primarily what Paul was doing. He was imparting knowledge about the Lord Jesus Christ to mthose who don’t know it.
Young nervous preacher. Time for first sermon before the entire faculty and student body. Nervouxly he got up into the pulpit. He looked down on the audience. “Do you know what I’m going to say?” they said “No.” “Well neither do I!” And he sat down.
Principal told him he had to get over his nerves. He ahd to give a full sermon.
So the next week. He got up in the college pulpit. He began his sermon the same way “Do you know what I am going to say?” this time the congregation said “Yes!” “Well if you already know then I don’t need to say it. “ And he hurriedly sat down.
This tiem the principal was furious. “You have to give a message! You must preach a sermon!”
So they called a special chapel the next day.
The nervous young preacher began the same way. “Do you know what I am going to say?” This time one half of the congregation nodded their heads yes, and the other half nodded no!
He looked down at them and said, “Well those that know tell them that don’t!” The Principal took him aside afterwards and said “that was one of the most profoundly direct sermons I have ever heard. You have passed your preaching course.”
People don’t know. They have never heard about the Lord Jesus Christ. And we must tell them what they don’t know.
They don’t know that He is God manifest in the flesh.
They don’t know He can take their guilt away today!
They don’t know He died in theoir place at the cross.
They don’t know He was truly resurrected from the dead as proff to all that He is the only Saviour.
They don’t know they will be lost eternally if they don’t trust Him as their Saviour.
They need someone to tell them.
Will you tell them what they don’t know!
Andre Crouch sang:
Tell them even if they don’t believe you Tell them even if they don’t receive you
Tell them for me tell them that I love them and I came to let them know.
When it seems you are forsaken Though it seems your earth is shaken
Tell that lonely man who walks the cold streets all alone
Tell that crying child who does not have a home
Tell those hungry people dying lost in a death span
They don’t even know that I came.
Oh wont you tell them on the streets and on the highways
Compel theme and even on the by ways
Tell them I can mend the broken hearted
Restore the ones who have parted and I came to let them know
And I came to let them know.
ReasonedStart where they are. End with the proofs that Jesus is the Christ.
There is a struggle between Christians and the world over world view. We need to win the world to Christ. Sometimes we use methods that are worldly to win the world.
Paul shunned manipulative oratory. He didn’t do what many preachers do today; he wasn’t into manipulating his crowd. In fact, he says in 1 Corinthians 2:1, “I didn’t come with superiority of speech” (that’s oratorical ability), I didn’t come to bowl you over with my oration, I didn’t come with “wisdom.”
He says further in verse 4, “My message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom” (I didn’t use technique; I didn’t use manipulation). I didn’t want your faith to “rest on the wisdom of men” (literally, the wisdom of their information or their approach). He said, I came to you with God’s wisdom; I came to you in God’s power; I came to “you in weakness in fear and in trembling.”
He didn’t use techniques that excite and stir, and move people’s emotions to achieve results. He wanted to address their minds!
Try to persuadePreachers who are gifted communicators — who are articulate, and who use emotional techniques and sad stories and tear-jerking approaches, and who get the mood music playing behind the scene, and who can create a manipulative environment – can effect in people behaviour changes and even alter their basic values, yet never need to use the Word of God.
But what is the result? What is the ultimate result? Is it true regeneration? Of course not! The only legitimate tool is the Scripture. The only legitimate bridge to change is the mind.
But according to the Scriptures, God has said that his work is to be accomplished “not by might nor by power but by my Spirit” (Zech. 4:6). The psalmist wrote, “Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it” (Ps. 127: 1). Paul later applied this principle to preaching when he avowed to the Corinthians that “my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in the demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God” (I Cor. 2:4,5). Paul obviously understood that persuasive words of wisdom” so highly prized in the rhetorically oriented Corinthian culture, could never bring men and women to Christ. Only the straightforward presentation of the Gospel could do that. The use of persuasive techniques might indeed win a response, but it would be a response based upon the wisdom of men” and not the “power of God.” Paul had the insight to see that such results would inevitably “make void” the very Gospel he preached.
It is said that D.L. Moody was accosted on the streets of Chicago one day by a drunk who exclaimed, “Aren't you Mr. Moody?" Why, I’m one of your converts!” Said Moody in reply, "That must be true, for you surely aren't one of the Lord's.”
J. 1. Packer has analyzed this error perceptively in his book Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God. He says: to proclaim salvation, we must never forget that it is God who saves ... Our evangelistic work is the instrument that He uses for this purpose, but the power that saves is not in the instrument: it is in the hand of the One who uses the instrument We must not at any stage forget that. For if we forget that it is God’s prerogative to give results when the Gospel is preached, we shall start to ddi* that it is our responsibility to secure them. And if we forget that only God can give faith, we shall start to think that the making of converts depends, in the last analysis, not on God, but on us, and that the decisive factor is the way in which we evangelize. And this line of thought, consistently followed through, will lead us far astray.
Let us work this out. If we regarded it as our job, not simply to present Christ, but actually to produce converts to evangelize, not only faithfully, but also successfully our approach to evangelism would become pragmatic and calculating. We should conclude that our basic equipment, both for personal dealing and for public preaching, must be twofold. We must have, not merely a clear grasp of the meaning and application of the gospel, but also an irresistible technique for inducing a response. We should, therefore make it our business to try and develop such a technique ... We should regard evangelism as a battle of wits between ourselves and those to whom we go, a battle in which victory depends on our firing off a heavy enough barrage of calculated effects. (Inter-Varsity, 1961, p. 27).
Emotion is involved.
Don’t manipulate, but be in earnest.
They must have won the multitude by the sweetness and grace and persuasiveness and earnestness of their manner. They certainly did not offend and shock them by coarse, vulgar, uncouth speech, or by a weak and vacillating, light and foolish, or boisterous and domineering manner. They wanted to win men, and they suited their manner to their purpose.
Solomon said, Prov 22:11 The one who loves a pure heart and gracious lips—the king is his friend.
This "gracious lips" is not a thing to be despised. It is rather something to be thought about and prayed over and cultivated. It was said of Jesus, "They wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth," and a police captain said of Him. "Never man spake like this Man;" and doubtless this graciousness was not only in what He said, but also in the way He said it. His manner was authoritative, yet gentle; strong, yet tender; dignified, yet popular and familiar. You can say to a little child, "Come here, you little rascal." in such a sweet manner as to win its confidence and draw it to you; or you can say, "Come here, you darling child," in such a rough, coarse way as to fill it with fear and drive it from you. It is largely a matter of manner.
Garrick, the great actor, was asked why he could so mightily move men by fiction, while preachers, speaking such awful and momentous truths, left them unmoved. He replied, "They speak truth as though it were fiction, while I speak fiction as though it were truth." It was a matter of manner. A woman so far away from Whitefield that she could not hear what he said, was weeping. A bystander asked her why she wept, since she knew not what he said, "Oh," said she, "can't you see the holy wag of his head?" His manner was matchless. Lawyers pleading before judges and juries, and political speakers seeking to win votes cultivate an ingratiating manner. Why, then, should not men who are seeking to save souls and win men to Jesus Christ seek from God the best manner in which to do this?
Preaching the messagePreaching may not be your gift, but communicating the content of the gospel is so important.
Their matter. I judge that not only was their manner agreeable and attractive, but their subject-matter was interesting, grave, and unspeakably important. They preached the Word; they reasoned out of the Scriptures; they declared that the prophecies were fulfilled, that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, of whom Moses and the prophets wrote and spoke, had come, was crucified, was buried, but was risen again, and that through obedient faith in Him men might have their sins forgiven, their hearts purified and their whole being sanctified and filled with God. It was not stale platitudes they preached, or vain babblings about the Seventh Day, about baptisms and feet-washings and incense and vestments, or harsh criticisms of authorities and "powers that be," or divers and strange doctrines, but it was "repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." (Acts 20:21.) This was the substance of their message.
It was a joyful message. It was good news; it was a declaration that God was so interested in men -- "so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life; for God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." The war-worn, sorrowful old world needs such a joyful message.
It was an illuminating message. It showed them how to be saved from sin and made acceptable to God. It also threw a flood of light into the grave and beyond, and "brought life and immortality to light." Jesus was "the first fruits of them that slept." It robbed earth of its loneliness, and the tomb of its terrors. It turned the world into a schoolroom and preparation place for the Father's house of many mansions, and made heaven real.
Solemnly testify
Speak for yourself.
It was a solemn and searching message. It called men to remember their sins and repent of them, forsake them, and surrender themselves no longer to the pleasures of ease, but to the service of God. They must take sides. If they would be saved, they must follow Christ crucified. "Every road leads two ways." If they would put away sin and follow Jesus, He would lead them to heaven; if they rejected Him they would surely go their own way to damnation, to hell.
The manner may be acceptable and the message true, but if the spirit of the speaker be not right there will hardly be a "great multitude" of believers. The cannon may be a masterpiece and the powder and shot perfect, but if there be no fire, the enemy need have no fear. The manner may be uncouth and the message fragmentary and faulty, but if the spirit be right, if it be humble, and on fire of love, believers will be won.
Cataline, a Roman citizen, conspired against the State, and Cicero, the matchless Roman orator, delivered a series of orations against him. The people were captivated by the eloquence of Cicero. They went from the Forum praising his oratory, lauding his rhetoric. extolling his gestures and his graceful management of the folds of his toga.
Philip, of Macedon, was planning to invade the States of Greece. Demosthenes, the Athenian orator, delivered a series of orations against him, and the Greeks went from his presence saying, "Let us go and fight Philip!"
Doubtless the manner and matter of the two orators were equally above criticism, but they were as far apart as the poles in spirit. One sent the people away talking glibly, prettily about himself; the other sent them away filled with his spirit, fired with a great impulse to die, if needs be, fighting the invader.
After all, I imagine it was this right spirit, this white heat of soul, this full-orbed heart-purpose which was the principal. factor in winning that multitude of believers in Iconium that day. These apostles were great believers themselves. They were full of glad, triumphant, hell-defying and defeating faith. They were not harassed by doubt and uncertainty. They did not preach guesses. They knew whom they believed (2Tim 1:12), and because they believed they spoke (2Cor 4:13), and "so spake" that the faith of a multitude of others was kindled from the fire of theirs.
This faith had also kindled in their hearts a great love.
They believed the love of God in giving His Son for them, and their hearts were in turn filled with love for Him. They believed the dying love of the Saviour, and their hearts were so constrained with love for Him that they were prepared to die for Him. (Acts 20:24; But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
Acts 21:13.) They believed the love of God for all men, until they loved like Him, and felt themselves debtors to all men (Rom 1:14 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.), and were ready to be offered as a sacrifice for the salvation of men. (Phil 2:17.)
Oh, it was a bright faith and a burning love that set on fire the spirits of these men! And I think this Christlike spirit moulded their manner and made them natural and gentle and strong and true and intense with earnestness, with no simper or whine or affectation of false pathos; no clang of hardness; no sting of bitterness, and no chill of heartless indifference. What school of oratory can touch and train the manner of an actor so that he shall for an instant compare with the untrained, shrinking mother who is suddenly fired with a quenchless impulse to plead for the life of her child? The best teacher of style in public speech is a heart filled to bursting with love to Jesus, and love and hope and fear and faith for men. A love that makes a man feel that men must and shall be won from hell and turned to righteousness and heaven and God. will surely, in due time, make the manner effective.
And it will also shape and control, if it does not make the message. It is marvellous the message men get whose hearts are afire. Someone asked why Mr. Bramwell could say such wonderful things. The reply was, "He lives so near the heart of God and the Throne that he gets secret messages, and brings them down to us." It is pitiable, the flat, insipid, powerless, soulless messages men manufacture when their faith is feeble and their hearts are cold!
Can we not, then, sum up for ourselves the secret of these men in the words of Solomon, "Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life?"
The preacher must not refrain from urging, entreating, exhorting, or beseeching his listeners to follow Christ The very essence of the Gospel is invitation, and some of the terms used in Scripture for example, parakaleo (Acts 2:40) and deomai (H Cor. 5:20) clearly portray ft aspect of the preacher’s ministry. Nothing I have said is meant to deny the validity of straightforward encouragement or exhortation to receive the Gospel, and of an opportunity to respond.
And it says Paul was pressed in the spirit and testified of the Lord Jesus.
In the 17th chapter of the Book of Acts, the word describing Paul as he stood in the midst of the great cultural academic center of Athens. When he saw the idolatry of the city it says he was moved in a paroxysm of emotion. The Greek word is "paroxysm."
Just everything inside of him moved as he saw the idolatry of the city.

2. Trust In Christ
9 Then the Lord said to Paul in a night vision, “Don’t be afraid, but keep on speaking and don’t be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to hurt you, because I have many people in this city.”

The work in the city is hard and laborious and disturbing and difficult. The reason the
Lord appeared to Paul in the night in Corinth was because of the immeasurable, illimitable, indescribable discouragement of the missionary as he sought to build the work of Jesus in the city. In Athens, he left discouraged and in Corinth the prospects were no easier, nor the future any brighter. And after laboring there in the great city of Corinth, Paul purposed in his heart to leave. It was then that the Lord appeared to him in the night in a vision saying, "Paul, not so, not so. You're to stay in this town in the heart of this vast city, for I have much people in it." The discouragement of the city are not peculiar nor are they local. They are vast. For the spirit of those who work for Christ in any place, in any state and in any country, in the sixteenth chapter of the First Corinthian Letter, Paul, writing to this person from Corinth, said: "I have determined to stay in Ephesus—the great capital city of Asia—I have determined to stay in Ephesus unto Pentecost. For a great door, and effectual has been opened unto me and there are many adversaries" [1 Corinthians 16:8. 9]. And it is always true. And there are many discouragements—many despairs, many adversaries.
In the city people pass you by the thousands and the thousands. They are in a rut. They are busy. They are building empires. They are making fortunes, or losing them. There is always entertainment. There is a show. There is a brothel. There is a wrestling match. There is the beach. There is the Bathurst 1000. There is the Mattara. There is the Darby Street coffee festival. There is a theatre production. There is an opera. There is everything. And the people in the city are engrossed. And the poor preacher and the poor missionary and poor Paul, the work in the city is difficult. And the Lord appeared unto Paul in the night saying, "Paul, you are not to leave. You are not to despair. And you are not to be discouraged. For I have much people in this city."
But the Lord calls us and reminds us: He has many people in this place.
When as a young man Robert Morrison had first sailed to China, he was asked, "Do you really expect to make an impression on the idolatry of the great Chinese empire?" In reply, Morrison spoke more prophetically than he knew: "No, sir, but I expect God will."

But you may say,
“I am old, God can’t use me.” If He thought your work were finished He’d have taken you home by now.
He hasn’t! You have people to win to the Lord Jesus Christ.
“But people are not interested in coming to Sunday School or such like” Then you and I better find another way to win them> I don’t think they had Sunday schools in New testament days. They went out and sat people down, adults, young people, children, and shared with them the Good News about the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Oh but if I could teach a scripture class” Oh you can! There are so many scripture classes waiting for a teacher. Lorelle has openings at the Junction she would just love to have you teach a few classes there.
If this world is going to be reached, I am convinced that it must be done by men and women of average talent. After all, there are comparatively few people in the world who have great talents. -- D.L. Moody,

Choose I must, and soon must choose, Holiness, or Heaven lose.
If what Heaven loves I hate, Shut for me is Heaven's gate.
Endless sin means endless woe, Into endless sin I go,
If my soul from reason rent Takes from sin its final bent
As the stream its channel grooves, And within that channel moves;
So does habit's deepest tide Groove its bed and there abide.
Light obeyed increaseth light; Light resisted bringeth night.
Who shall give me will to choose, If the love of light I lose?
Speed, my soul, this instant yield, Let the light its sceptre wield
While thy God prolongs His grace, Haste thee to His holy face.

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