Here’s the outline for my sermon on Acts 18, preached at Cross of Christ Fellowship in Naperville, Illinois.
Acts 18 “Kingdom Advance through DISCIPLESHIP”
INTRO: Praying together and an older, more mature Christian instructed me on how to pray
-It was probably a 3-5 minute instruction, but it impacted me for the last 20 years, and helped me teach others.
-To intentionally come alongside another Christian to help them grow in maturity and understanding is discipleship.
-God calls all Christians to the good work of discipling others –Discipleship is a KEY way that God’s kingdom advances in this world.
-This was true in the first century Church and it is true today.
*If we want to see God’s kingdom advance in Naperville and around us, we must be committed to discipleship!
-We this truth in our text today in Acts 18.
CONTEXT: Book of Acts tells us how God brought about the establishment and expansion of his kingdom on Earth.
-Jesus Christ completed his earthly ministry (died, rose) and spoke about his kingdom to his disciples.
-The disciples were given a commission (Acts 1:8) to be fulfilled: Acts shows how this happened
-God gave his church the Holy Spirit to empower and lead them.
-God called a man named Saul—also known as Paul—to himself, to use him to preach gospel
-Acts records his 3 of his missionary journeys as he spread the gospel.
-Today, we see the gospel reach Corinth.
-Key idea: Discipleship is a KEY way that God’s kingdom advances in this world.
1 Paul’s Ministry in Corinth (1-17)
Paul’s second missionary journey continues, and in 1-17 we see beginning of the church at Corinth.
-Paul arrives at Corinth (1)
-Large city of 700,000 (Naperville x5)
-Known for its business, pride, and sexual immorality
-Temple for Aphrodite (1,000 prostitutes),
-Strategic city: many people moved there or went through for business.
-Priscilla and Aquilla (2-3)
-Luke records for us the beginning a beautiful gospel partnership of this married couple and Paul.
-They were Jewish believers who had a history of travel (Pontus, Italy)
-They were tentmakers like Paul
-Paul at times received his income from tentmaking, but also received gifts to support his ministry
-Gospel ministers are entitled to receive their income from those they serve, but
God calls some ‘tentmaking’ (some countries this only way to get in for missions)
-Paul disciples Priscilla and Aquilla: NOT stated explicitly, but certainly implied (Col 1:28-29)
-We’ll see later in the chapter how this time prepared them for ministry in another city.
-Paul Ministers to Jews and Gentiles (4-17)
-Paul’s ministry in the Synagogue (4-6)
–“reasoning…persuading…testifying”: DIFFERENT ways of proclaiming the gospel (4-5)
-Paul’s gospel ministry was rejected (6)
-Paul then went to the Gentiles (6b)
-Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles (7-8)
-Fruitful ministry: conversion, baptism. (“many of the Corinthians…believed…baptized”)
-Jesus Encourages Paul through vision (9-11)
-“Don’t be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you.”
-Further Reassurance: “I have many in this city who are my people”
-This is motivation for evangelism! (2 Tim 2:10)
-APPLICATION: Jesus encourages us today to continue on with the work of evangelism through the Bible.
-Read it and let it encourage you to press on in gospel ministry.
-Paul continued to minister and preach for another year and a half (11)
-Persecution and Deliverance in Corinth (12-16)
-Paul and the Christians persecuted and brought before “tribunal” (12)
-False charge against Paul (13)
-Deliverance comes in unexpected way (14-17)
-Gallio refused to listen to the charge and drove them out
-Commentators note this likely provided for religious freedom for Christians for next 12 years
-Beating of Jewish man Sosthenes and lack of deliverance by Gallio
-Commentators note: Opportunity to give in to antisemitism.
-Sadly, we see this today with what is happening today.
2 Travel to Ephesus and Back to Judea (18-23)
-Paul departs Corinth to return to Judea and Syria (18)
-Stayed many days longer first
-“Took with him Priscilla and Aquilla” (18a)
-Cenchreae ‘cut his hair, but he was under a vow’ (18b)
-Paul arrives at Ephesus with Priscilla and Aquilla for BRIEF Gospel ministry in Ephesus (19-21)
-Brief ministry in Ephesus at Synagogue (19-20) -Paul “left them there”=Priscilla and Aquilla (19)
-Paul hoped to return, ‘if it was the Lord’s will’ (and it was) (21)
-This is how we ought to talk about the future as well: ‘if it is the lord’s will’ (Jas 4:13-17)
-Paul begins his 3rd missionary journey (22-23)
-Note: “strengthening all the disciples”
-This is God design for our strengthening in the faith as well (23)
*QUESTION: How might we hear an apostles instruction and be strengthened today? BIBLE.
3 Priscilla and Aquilla’s Discipleship of Apollos (24-28)
-Apollos arrives at Ephesus (24-25)
-Gifted preacher: –SPURGEON of the 1st century (‘prince of preachers’)
-‘eloquent,’ ‘competent in the Scriptures,’
-‘instructed in the way of Lord,’
-‘fervent in spirit,’
-‘spoke accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John’
-Priscilla and Aquilla DISCIPLE Apollos (26)
-“explained to him the way of God more accurately”
-Beautiful picture of discipleship
-ALSO: Note appropriate context of woman instructing a man (private, not public context)
-Complementarian: God has called qualified men to office of elder/pastor (not women)
-Still, there is appropriate place for men to learn from women!
-My wife; women in this church; outside the church (Elizabeth Elliot)
-Apollos Heads to Corinth (27-28)
-Apollos heads to Corinth (Achaia)
-Wonderful ministry to Corinthian Christians
–“Greatly helped those who through grace had believed for he powerfully refuted the Jews in Public…”
-Today, we rejoice in apologists who in public sphere (books, debates) proclaim Christ.
Paul discipled Priscilla and AquillaàPris and Aqui discipled ApollosàApollos ministered to Corinthians.
Discipleship is God’s design for his kingdom advance in the world.
APPLICATION: If we want to see the gospel advance in Naperville and the world, we must be committed to discipleship.
–2 Tim 2:2.
1 HINDRANCES to Discipleship
-Fear; Lack of time; Feeling ill-equipped.
2 PRACTICAL WAYS TO DISCIPLE
-Utilizing common ground for gospel
-Family (children); School (classmates); Work (co-workers); Hobby; Neighborhood
3. SIMPLE APPROACH
-Read Bible together and ask questions.
4. ENCOURAGEMENT WHEN PEOPLE YOU DISCIPLE MOVE AWAY
-Conversation with Joe Thorn on people moving away.
-God’s kingdom continues to advance, and way you invested in them will help others.
***Discipleship is a KEY way that God’s kingdom advances in this world.