Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament scriptural account of the spiritual body of Jesus the Christ which is the body as it was written by Luke in the book of Acts. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first seventeen verses of the eighteenth chapter. When you come to this particular passage of scripture you will find the second missionary journey of the apostle Paul transitioning from the three cities which were mentioned in the seventeenth chapter. It’s actually quite unique and interesting when you consider the events which took place in the latter portion of the sixteenth chapter of this book of Acts, for in these verses you will find the apostle Paul and Silas in the Grecian city called Philippi where they would ultimately be imprisoned after the apostle Paul cast out an evil spirit from a girl who brought great gain to her masters by soothsaying. After realizing that they’re hope for any financial and monetary gain was now gone the masters of this girl falsely accused Paul and Silas of teaching false and contrast doctrines, and evening acting and operating contrary to Caesar himself. Ultimately, the apostle Paul and Silas would be beaten with many stripes and placed in prison where they were secured and had a certain jailer who was in charge over them. The beloved physician Luke writes and records concerning Paul and Silas that in the midnight hour they were not only found praying unto the living God, but they were also found praising and giving thanks to God. What’s more is that the beloved physician Luke writes and records that while Paul and Silas were praying and praising the living God the prisoners heard them. Immediately there came a great earthquake uh shook the very foundations of the prison. What’s more is that this earthquake not only shook the foundation of the prison, but it also loosened and opened the prison doors of all the prisoners which were in the prison. Even more than this we find that more than the prison doors being opened the shackles and fetters which bound each of the prisoner was loosed. What an incredible thought it to think about and consider the fact that all the prisoners heard Paul and Silas praising the living God and praying unto Him, and all were the recipients of their prison doors being opened and their shackles and fetters being loosed. When the jail or realized what had happened and supposing the prisoners to have escaped he prepared to strike himself dead with his sword until Paul intervened and declared unto him that they were all there and none had fled or escaped. Upon hearing the word of the apostle Paul the jailer asked them what he must needs some to be saved and not only heard the word of the Lord but also believed on the name of the Lord Jesus the Christ. Even more than this, the jailer and his entire house heard the word of the Lord, believed on the Lord Jesus, and were baptized before Paul and Silas were ordered to leave the region and city of Philippi by the magistrates and sergeants.
If you continue reading the words which are found in the book of Acts and transition to the seventeenth chapter you will find the apostle Paul, Silas and Timothy departing from Philippi and moving on to another Grecian city called thessalonica. It would be there in the city the apostle Paul would enter into the synagogue of the Jews which was his custom and reasoned with them that Jesus did indeed suffer, that He died, that He rose from death to life on the third day, and that this Jesus was indeed the Christ. While the apostle Paul was in the city of Thessalonica, however, you will find the Jews of that city being moved to envy when they saw many Jews believing on the name of the Lord Jesus, and evening many Greeks and prominent women. Acting upon their envy they gathered unto themselves men of the Nader sort to incite the city into a riot and an uproar against the apostle Paul, Silas and Timothy. What’s more is that they assaulted the house of Jason intending on bringing the apostle Paul and Silas our and usher them before the people. Ultimately Paul and Silas and Timothy would be sent forth from Thessalonica and would move next to Berea where they would once more enter into the synagogues of the Jews and preach concerning Jesus the Christ. Luke writes concerning the Bereans that they were more notable than those which were in Thessalonica, for they searched the scripture to see if that which the apostle Paul preached was indeed true and accurate. Luke goes on to write that the same response which took place in Thessalonica took place in Berea as many believed the words which Paul preached, and even many Greeks and prominent women believed in the Lord Jesus THR Christ. When, however, the Jews which were in Thessalonica heard that the word of God was being preached by the apostle Paul in Berea as well, they came from Thessalonica unto Berea in order that they might once more incite a riot and uproar against Paul and his companions. Here now within two cities we find the Jews not only seeking to disrupt the work of the Spirit among Jews and gentiles, as well as seeking to silence the word of God concerning Jesus the Christ. We must not and cannot miss and lose sight of this reality, for it is this reality which reveals what took place during the days of Jesus, as well as what was taking place during the days of the apostles. Here in the seventeenth chapter of the book of Acts we find the Jews on two separate occasions seeking to disrupt the work of the Spirit, as well as silencing the word of God, and not only do we find Paul and Silas moving to Berea, but after the events in Berea the apostle Paul was brought forth from Berea where he would ultimately end up in Athens.
The entire second half of the seventeenth chapter of the book of Acts describes the apostle Paul in Athens, for those who attended to him brought him unto this capital city of Greece. It’s worth noting that the apostle Paul found himself in Athens, for I would dare say the apostle Paul found himself in this unexpected place which he perhaps had no intention of entering or coming into. It’s worth noting that it was while the apostle Paul was in this undeclared place that his spirit was troubled within him because the city was wholly given to idolatry. What’s more, is we find the apostle Paul waiting for Silas and Timothy there in Athens, and while waiting for them he reasoned with the philosophers as well as the Jews and any who would meet with him concerning Jesus the Christ and His suffering, His dying and resurrection from the dead. Eventually the words which the apostle Paul spoke would cause him to be brought unto Mars Hill which was the highest court in the city of Athens. It would be there at Mars Hill the apostle Paul would be asked to speak concerning this Jesus whom he preached and the doctrine which he taught and preached there in the city. It’s interesting and worth noting that not only did the apostle Paul not see himself in Athens, but he also perhaps didn’t have any intention of standing in the highest court there in the city of Athens. It’s worth noting that it was in this place of waiting and troubling the apostle Paul would end up resining with the philosophers there in Athens—both the Stoics as well as the Epicureans—and would reason with them concerning Jesus being the Christ and His suffering, death and resurrection. Ultimately the apostle Paul would stand in the highest court in Athens and would speak unto them concerning the UNKNOWN GOD whom they worshipped in ignorance, and how this god whom they worshipped was the living God who as Lord of heaven and earth. What’s more, is the apostle Paul would declare of this living God that He did not dwell in temples made with and by human hands, and was not worshipped by and without the hands of man as though He needed anything. The apostle Paul would go on to speak of this living God as being nearer to them than they even thought or perceived, and how this living God could not only be felt but also found. In essence the apostle Paul was echoing the words of the prophet Jeremiah when the prophet declared unto the captive Jews that if they sought the living God they would find Him. Essentially and ultimately the living God desires to both be felt and found is not some distant God who concealed Himself from those who would diligently seek Him and seek His face. The apostle Paul would speak unto the philosophers, the rulers and leaders there within Mars Hill in the capital city of Athens and declare concerning this living God that it is in Him we live and move and have our being and that He created absolutely everything that is before us in this life. Ultimately that which the apostle Paul sought to do was reveal unto them that this UNKNOWN GOD was not some distant and foreign God, but was in all reality a God who desired to be sought, and a God who desired to be felt and found. The apostle Paul sought to declare unto all those who were within the sound of his voice that this living God whom they worshipped in ignorance as a god who was Unkown actually desired to be known and desired to be manifested among them in their midst. What’s more, is that the apostle Paul would go on to speak concerning this God that He was not like gods which were formed and fashioned from gold, silver and stone by the art and devices of men, but was the eternal and living God who created the heavens and the earth.
When you come to the eighteenth chapter of the book of Acts you will find the apostle Paul departing from Athens, but not before those who heard him speak of the resurrection of the dead either mocked and ridiculed his words, or believed in what he was speaking in their hearing. The seventeenth chapter of the book of Acts concludes with the beloved physician Luke writing and declaring that of those who heard the words which the apostle Paul spoke there at Mars Hill clave to him and believed—among those which were Disnysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them. As the eighteenth chapter of the book of Acts opens it does so with the apostle Paul departing from the Grecian capital city of Athens and moving on toward the city of Corinth. What we find and what we read in the eighteenth chapter of the book of Acts is actually quite astounding and unique, for thus far we have seen the apostle Paul preaching and teaching concerning Jesus the Christ in two of the cities which he would later write epistles and letters to. If you read the epistle found in the New Testament bearing the title of Philippians you will understand that this epistle was written unto the saints and believers which were in the congregation and church which was there in Philippi—the city where coincidentally the apostle Paul and Silas were beaten with many stripes, imprisoned and fastened in stocks and fetters before the Lord caused a great earthquake to open prison doors, as well as to cause the shackles and fetters of the prisoners to be loosed from their physical bodies. Furthermore, in the seventeenth chapter you will find a second city which the apostle Paul would write an epistle to, for you will find the apostle Paul teaching and preaching in the city of Thessalonica. If you continue reading in the New Testament you will find two distinct epistles which were written unto the saints which were at Thessalonica—epistles which were meant to strengthen and encourage them. Here in the eighteenth chapter we find the apostle Paul journeying and making his way to the city of Corinth—a city which he would spend a considerable amount of time teaching, preaching and investing in the people which were present. It would be the city of Corinth which the apostle Paul would later write two distinct epistles and letters to in an attempt to correct their thinking, their actions and behaviors. By the time we come to the eighteenth chapter we find the apostle in three of the main cities which he would ultimately write at least one epistle unto. What we find in the eighteenth chapter of the book of Acts is quite remarkable, for what you find as you begin reading the words in this chapter is actually quite unique, for when Paul came unto Corinth he found a certain Jew named Aquila, who was born in Pontus, and was come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla because Claudius Caesar had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome. Having departed from Rome because of the command and decree of Claudius Caesar Aquila and his wife Priscilla made their way to Corinth where they would make their living as tent makers. It is unclear whether or not simply Aquila was a tent maker, or whether his wife Priscilla was also a tent maker, but we can be sure that at least Aquila was a tent maker—a reality which actually formed a unique bond and relationship between the apostle Paul and Aquila.
BONDING OVER TRADE! RELATIONSHIP IN THE PRESENCE OF LABOR! As I sit here this morning I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated with and by the fact that there is something to be said about bonds which are formed—not in the pews of the church, nor even found in prayer meetings, nor even bonds which are found in home and small groups, but rather bonds which are found in that of labor and work. I think back to the life of the apostle Peter, as well as James and his brother John, and how it was in the context of working and labor that they not only formed a bond and relationship between the three of them, but it would also be in that context that Jesus would come unto them and call them to forsake everything, walk with and follow Him. It would be in the context of labor that the apostles Peter, James and John would be found of Jesus the Christ as he would appear unto them and call them to follow Him, for He would from that day forward make them fishers of men. Oh, I cannot help but be absolutely gripped and captivated with and by the fact that more often than not it can be in the context of labor and work that bonds and relationships can be formed. What’s more, is that it is in the context of work and laboring with each other that relationships and bonds with Jesus the Christ Himself can be formed and created, as He calls men and women unto Himself to walk with and follow Him. It would be while the apostle Peter, James and John were fishing and engaging themselves in their daily living that Jesus the Christ appeared unto and manifested Himself unto them calling them to forsake everything and follow Him. I have long been fascinated with and by the fact that it was while the apostles Peter, James and John were in the place of working and laboring that Jesus appeared unto them calling them to forsake everything and to walk with and follow Him. It is this same reality which I can’t help but find in the eighteenth chapter of the book of Acts—not necessarily Jesus finding others while they moved and operated in the place of labor and work, but rather the bonds and relationships which could be formed in the place of labor. I read the words which are found in the opening verses of the eighteenth chapter, and I am confronted with and by the fact that there is something about laboring with others around us—perhaps not even laboring in that which pertains to and with the kingdom of God, but laboring in general in a trade which any associated party is connected to—and the bonds and relationships which can be formed as a result. In all reality, I would dare say that labor if it is done correctly and if it is properly understood by men and women in this generation can and ultimately does have the awesome and incredible transformative power of relationship and connection, as labor has the ability to unite men and women and to foster a wonderful sense of community and relationship. I find myself absolutely drawn to the fact that Luke was sure to mention and include the fact that both Aquila and the apostle Paul were tent makers, and how it was because they were of the same craft the apostle Paul dwelt and abode with Aquila and his wife Priscilla. Oh we dare not, we cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this awesome and incredible reality, for to do so would be to miss something truly remarkable and astonishing when you think about the bonds that connect and unite us as the saints and disciples of the living God.
UNITING OVER LABOR! UNITING OVER WORK! I have to admit that I find it absolutely wonderful and amazing when I read the opening verses of the eighteenth chapter, for within the opening verses of the eighteenth chapter we find the context of relationship found and formed in the context of labor and work. While I do in fact believe that more often than not there are times when the living God can indeed find us in the place of work and call us to forsake everything to walk with and follow Him, I would also declare that I firmly believe that it is in the context of laboring together with someone else that has the unique ability to foster relationships that wouldn’t otherwise be formed. In all reality, I would dare say that there are some things that simply can’t be experienced outside and apart from the context of laboring—and even laboring with others—for it is the labor and work itself that creates and forms the bond that is necessary to sustain relationships. Years ago I wrote concerning there being something about being in the trenches sweating, laboring, crying and fighting with others that has the unique ability to foster relationship and bonds between men and women, and while I am sitting here this morning I can’t help but be confronted with and by the reality that there is something about laboring together with others that has the unique ability to unite the hearts and minds of those who perhaps might not otherwise be connected. There is something about laboring together with others—regardless of what that labor is, and even if that labor has nothing to do with the kingdom of God—that has the ability to create lasting bonds and relationships with others. Oh, I firmly believe with all my heart that there is something about laboring together with others in a work that perhaps has nothing to do with the kingdom of God that has the ability to foster unique bonds and relationships that wouldn’t otherwise be formed. There is something about laboring, toiling, and perhaps even struggling together with others in a work that has nothing to do with the kingdom that has the ability to unite the hearts and souls of men and women. Much like the souls of David and Jonathan were knit together and connected because David ministered in the house and court of Saul, so also do the hearts and souls of men and women have the ability to be knit together while they labor together in a work that has absolutely nothing to do with the kingdom of God, nor even with the church. Would it completely and utterly shock you to think about and consider the fact that I am convinced that there is something incredibly wonderful and powerful about laboring together with others in a work that has nothing to do with the kingdom of God, for while the focus might not be on the kingdom of God—at least not initially—the focus is on relationships and connecting with that one, or those others whom you are laboring together with in the work. .
LABORING TOGETHER IN A WORK OUTSIDE THE KINGDOM OF GOD! A couple weeks ago I had a conversation with a brother who is part of the same church where I attend and worship together with the corporate body. While we were talking before the service we began speaking of the work that goes in to getting everything ready for service on a Sunday morning, and how he and others arrive at the location where service is being held by 6:00 AM to begin setting up chairs and everything else needed for the service to function and run smoothly. During the course of the conversation this brother mentioned that more often than not he finds it compelling to bond with and fellowship with other brothers as they labor together in seemingly mundane tasks such as setting up media equipment, chairs, and the like. Throughout the course of the conversation this brother spoke of it being easier for him to fellowship and create lasting bonds with other brothers as they labor together in setting up everything that was needed for the service, and how more often than not it is easier for him to bond in that context rather than bonding in the context of coffee, or lunch, or perhaps even dinner. I have to admit that while I understood what he was speaking about as we talked together, I didn’t fully understand or comprehend how bonds and relationships could actually be created in the context of laboring together. I sit here this morning and I can’t help but come face to face with the awesome and incredible reality that it is quite possible that greater bonds, greater relationships, and greater connections can be found in labor than could ever be found over meeting at a local café for coffee, or even meeting for lunch or dinner. I have to admit that for the longest time I have always thought that bonds could only be formed in the context of one on one relationships—perhaps even in the context of small groups, perhaps in the context of corporate worship on Sunday mornings, perhaps in the context of prayer meetings and the like. I have long believed that relationships and bond could only be formed in the context of one on one settings over coffee, or lunch, or dinner, or perhaps over some other means of connecting with each other. I sit here this morning and I can’t help but find myself rethinking what I believe concerning connecting with others, and even forming bonds and relationships with others who are before and around me. I am finding myself encountering the tremendous reality that it is possible that greater bonds can be formed and created in the context of laboring together—perhaps even laboring in something that has absolutely nothing to do with the kingdom of God and the church, and is something that is a part of this world. I do believe we can connect with others and form bonds and relationships with others in the context of laboring for and within the kingdom of God, however, I firmly believe that there is something absolutely wonderful and powerful about connecting with others in the context of laboring together in a work that has absolutely nothing to do with the work of the kingdom of God, nor even the church of Jesus the Christ.
I fully realize and recognize that when and as you read the words found within the opening of the eighteenth chapter of the book of Acts this reality might not jump off the pages to you, however, I am convinced that if you truly take the time to read the words which are found and contained here, you will immediately be confronted with the fact that it is possible for relationships and bonds to be formed in the context of laboring together with others. More often than not many men and women have been naïve and even jaded into thinking and believing that relationships can only be formed in the context of prayer meetings, and even in small groups, and within the corporate setting of worshipping together with other saints, and yet the truth of the matter is that while these realities can indeed foster and create relationships, they are only the tip of the iceberg. I am firmly convinced and believe with all my heart that it is absolutely and wonderfully possible for relationships and connections to be made while we labor together in a trade or work with others, and it is in that context of labor when we have the ability to simply be brothers with each other, or even sisters with each other. There is something about laboring together in a common work and common trade that seems to remove all cliches and even the need to put on any type of mask and act in the company of others and simply frees us to be who we are in this world. There is something about laboring together outside of and apart from the corporate context and setting of worship, prayer meeting, and small group that seems to remove any and all stigmas and the need to perform in the company and presence of others. In all reality, I would dare say that more often than not—even in the corporate context and setting of worship and prayer—we find the need to perform for others, and even put on masks in the company and presence of others in order to hide who we truly are. It is very easy to enter into the corporate setting and context of worship and prayer and to allow ourselves to get caught up in performance and works that we completely close ourselves off to relationships as they were intended on being. In all reality, I would dare say this was what the garden of Eden was all about, for it was in the context of laboring together that relationship was formed. Remember that it was the Lord Himself who said and declared that it is not fit for man to be alone, and that He would create for him a help mate and one who would come alongside him to help. I am convinced that even as early as the garden we come face to face with the reality of the context of relationship running side by side and parallel with laboring together with others, for there is something about laboring together with others that fosters and creates relationships like nothing within the corporate context of church worship and prayer can ever do. Oh, please hear my heart and please note and understand that I do not for any reason believe that relationships cannot be formed in the corporate context of prayer, worship and in seeking the face of the living God together with others. That particular reality is not at all what I am speaking of, and I would caution you against thinking for one moment that that is what I am speaking of. What I am speaking of is the context of laboring together with others, and how laboring together with others has the ability to foster unique relationships and bonds that might not otherwise be formed in the context of corporate prayer, corporate worship, and even corporate fellowship.
The more I sit here and concussed the words which are found in the opening verses of the eighteenth chapter the more I come face to face with the awesome and incredible reality that there is something unique and special about laboring together with others that simply frees us to be ourselves, and even takes and removes the pressure from our hearts and lives to perform and potentially be someone we were never intended or created to be. There is not a doubt in my mind that laboring together—even in a work and trade that has nothing to do with the kingdom of God—has the ability to remove any need to feel as though we have to perform and be something and someone we are not and were never intended and created to be. There is something about laboring together with others in a work that frees us to be who we truly are without any expectations within our hearts, or the hearts of those we are laboring with. As we engage ourselves in laboring together with others in a common work and trade, there is something spiritual and supernatural that takes places when we truly allow ourselves to be who we are and remove any need and desire to perform and pretend. IN THE CONTEXT OF LABORING TOGETHER THE PRESSURE TO PERFORM IS REMOVED! IN THE CONTEXT OF LABORING TOGETHER THE PRESSURE TO PRETEND IS REMOVED! Oh, how many times have you entered into the house of the Lord and have done nothing more than pretended to be someone you are not, and someone you were never intended or created to be? How many times have you entered into the house of the Lord and have performed in a way and manner you were never intended or created on performing? What’s more, is how many times have you entered into the house of the Lord carrying your Bible and yet carrying something even greater and even heavier than your Bible—namely, the mask you have created, formed and fashioned to give a certain appearance within the house of the living God? Oh, I would dare say there are times when the corporate setting and context of worship is nothing more than theater in which we perform and pretend to be someone we were never created and intended on being. There are times within the corporate setting of our churches and gathering together when we might give the impression and appearance that we are worshipping the living God, and yet that which we are actually doing is performing and pretending to be something and someone we are not and were never intended or created on being. There are times when we enter into the house of the Lord—and although we might carry our Bibles with us—we are actually carrying something that is unseen and invisible to the natural and naked eye, for we carry with us a mask which we put on to conceal who we truly are. What’s more, is that we enter into the house of the Lord and the image we convey and present to others is nothing more than a caricature—a façade—of who we truly are. Oh, there are men and women who worship together with us in our houses of worship, and yet who we see and who we interact with is not the true person who is sitting next to us, for what is before us is nothing more than a false image they have created and crafted of themselves—much like Jacob who pretended he was Esau in the presence of his father, and actually went so far as to put goat skin on his body to give the appearance of Esau. What’s more than this, is that his mother even dressed him in Esau’s clothes so when he entered into the presence of his father—not only would his body feel like that of Esau, but he would also have the scent of his brother Esau.
The eighteenth chapter of the book of Acts is actually quite powerful when you take the time to think about it, for more often than not we don’t think about the fact that it is possible that what we convey and what we present to others in the house of God and in the corporate context of worship is nothing more than a caricature and façade of who we really are. There is not a doubt in my mind that there are countless men and women who enter into the house of the Lord and rather than be free to be who they truly are, they give the false impression that they are someone who they were never intended or created to be. Oh, there is something about laboring together with others that has the ability to remove the masks and facades we think we have to put on and wear in the company and presence of others in order to somehow gain the approval of those we were never intended on impressing. I read the words concerning Aquila and the apostle Paul and how they were both tent makers by trade, and how it was this common thread of being tent makers that seemed to unite them together, and even cause the apostle Paul to lodge and dwell with them. There is something truly wonderful and powerful in this passage of Scripture concerning our willingness to labor together with others, and doing so in the context of a work and trade that perhaps has absolutely nothing to do with the kingdom of God. With that being said, I do firmly believe that it is possible to labor together with others in the work of the kingdom of God, and how laboring together in that context has the ability to foster and create relationships between brothers and sisters who give themselves to a specific work. I have to admit that when I was recently asked to be a part of the set up team for the church and congregation I worship together with, I could not and did not understand the true significance of it, however, as I read the words which are found in the eighteenth chapter of the book of Acts I can’t help but come face to face with the incredible and tremendous reality that there is something absolutely wonderful and marvelous about giving ourselves to laboring together with others in the context of something where we are completely free to be ourselves and be who we were meant to be without the need to perform or pretend. There is something about laboring together in something which seems as simple as setting up for a church service—and even doing so before most others would even think to be awake that has the ability to foster a unique and wonderful relationship with others whom we have been called and created to be in relationship with. I firmly believe that as early as the garden of Eden we come face to face with the fact that relationship and fellowship takes place in the contexts of laboring together with others, and how Eve was created so that Adam would not be alone, yes, but she was created to come alongside him as a help mate who would help in the work of the garden of Eden.
What I so love and appreciate about what is found within the eighteenth chapter of the book of Acts is that not only do we find fellowship and relationship in the context of laboring together with others, but we also find something entirely different taking place within the apostolic ministry and calling of the apostle Paul. In the previous two chapters you will find that whenever trouble and opposition arose around the apostle Paul and his companions because of the envy of the Jews, the brethren would send him away—perhaps in an attempt to preserve and protect him from the dangers and threats before and around him. If you read the seventeenth chapter alone you will find that as a direct result of the opposition of the Jews in the city of Thessalonica the brethren sent Paul, Silas and Timothy away from that place and unto Berea. Berea would prove to be susceptible to the same trouble and opposition that was found in Thessalonica, for when the Jews of Thessalonica heard that the word of God was being preached by the apostle Paul in Berea as well, they came to Berea and stirred up trouble, confusion and chaos there as well. When, however, we come to the city of Corinth, however, we come face to face with the incredible reality and concept that the apostle Paul experienced trouble and opposition there in Corinth as well, as the Jews opposed themselves, and blasphemed against the apostle Paul and against this Jesus whom He preached as being raised from the dead and being the Christ. In response to the Jews the apostle Paul shook his raiment, and declared that their blood be upon their own heads, for he was clean and would from that moment forth preach the gospel to the Gentiles. When you come to the ninth verse of this chapter you will find something truly remarkable, for it is something that did not and had not happened in any of the previous cities which the apostle Paul had ministered and labored in. What you find in the ninth and tenth verses is Jesus the Christ speaking to the apostle Paul in the midst of the trouble and opposition and instructing him to be not afraid, but speak, and hold not his peace, for He was with him, and no man would set on him to hurt him, for He had much people in the city of Corinth. What took place in Corinth was something much different than any of the other cities the apostle Paul ministered and labored in, for there in Corinth the apostle Paul would hear directly from Jesus the Christ, as Jesus would instruct him to continue to speak and hold not his peace there in the city, for He had many people in the city, and no man would harm him. What an incredible and unbelievable reality this truly is when you think about it, for while we found the apostle Paul being sent away from previous cities by the brethren, we find him being instructed to remain in the city of Corinth, and to do so because the Lord had many people there in the city. What’s more, is that as you read the words which are found in this passage you will find the apostle Paul continuing in the city of Corinth for a year and six months teaching the word of God among them.
It is safe to say that up until this point within the apostolic life and ministry of the apostle Paul this would be the longest time and tenure the apostle Paul would spend in a single place. It would be safe to say that a year and six months—eighteen months total—was the longest time and tenure the apostle Paul would spend in a single place. In all reality, I would dare say that that which caused the apostle to remain within this city was the word of Jesus Christ speaking unto him instructing him to be not afraid, and instructing him to continue speaking the word with boldness, for He was with him, and he had many people within that city. In all reality, that which the apostle Paul was revealed was not only that he would and could not depart from this city yet, but also that there was still a great work that was left to do in the city. The apostle Paul would and could not depart from this city as he did previous cities, for the Lord had spoken and instructed him to remain and abide within this city and to speak the word with boldness and authority, for the Lord had many people there in the city. Oh that we would recognize and come face to face with this reality, and that we would truly understand the significance of the appearance of Jesus the Christ within the life of the apostle Paul, and even the words which He spoke unto him, for it would be a direct result of the words which Jesus spoke unto him that would cause the apostle Paul to remain there in the city of Corinth. There is no indication that the apostle Paul sought to leave any of the previous cities he had labored and ministered in, however, when it came to the city of Corinth we find the apostle Paul spending a year and a half there according to the work of the Lord. In all reality, I believe this is directly linked and connected to the fact that the Lord had much people in the city, and because he had much people in the city there was a great work and labor which needed to take place. In all reality, I would dare say that not only did the apostle Paul labor together with Aquila and his wife Priscilla in the context of tent making, but they also labored together in the context of the kingdom of God, as a church was being established there in the city of Corinth. I am firmly convinced that the entire setting and context that is found in this passage is around the context of laboring together with others—not only laboring in a work and trade that is outside and separate from the kingdom of God, but also laboring together with others in the work of the kingdom of God, and how not only are relationships formed in the context of laboring together, but so also are churches established when men and women labor together in the work of the kingdom. WHEN RELATIONSHIPS ARE FOSTERED & CHURCHES ARE FORMED WHEN WE LABOR TOGETHER! LABORING TOGETHER! THE CONTEXT OF RELATIONSHIPS AND CHURCHES BEING CREATED IN THIS LIFE!