I. AFTER THESE THINGS, PAUL DEPARTED FROM ATHENS AND CAME TO CORINTH.
A. From Athens, Paul had sent a message for Timothy and Silas to join him with all speed.
1. Before they could arrive, Paul left Athens for Corinth.
2. Corinth could be thought of as the capital of evil in that day. It was like Hollywood, Las Vegas, and San Fransico combined.
3. Almost every wicked vice was practiced in that city.
B. Corinth was on a very narrow isthmus that almost divides Greece.
1. It is just over two miles from the Ionian Sea to the Aegean Sea.
2. A canal has been created where the ships today can pass from the one sea to the other, but in the days of Paul, the ships taking cargo from the east to the west, would unload the cargo in the Aegean port where it would be transferred and carried overland and loaded into another ship on the other side. And thus, they could escape having to go the long and dangerous journey around Melea to get to Rome.
3. Also any traffic going from south to north in Greece would have to pass through Corinth.
4. It thus became the hub of commerce and evil.
5. Whenever they would seek to portray a Corinthian in the plays, they would always portray him as drunk.
6. The proverb "He lives like a Corinthian," expressed a person who lived a licentious, debauched life.
7. On the acropolis above the city of Corinth was a large temple dedicated to Aphrodite that was attended by 1000 priestesses who were nothing more than prostitutes, and each evening they would come down to the city to ply their trade.
8. Into this totally heathenistic culture came the apostle with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
C. You can now understand better some of the things that Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians.
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor, male prostitutes, nor homosexuals,
Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make [them] the members of an harlot? God forbid.
What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for the two, saith he, shall be one flesh.
II. HE FOUND A CERTAIN JEW NAMED AQUILLA WHO WAS BORN IN PONTUS, WHO WITH HIS WIFE PRISCILLA HAD RECENTLY COME FROM ITALY, BECAUSE THE EMPEROR CLAUDIUS HAD EXPELLED ALL THE JEWS FROM ROME.
A. It was in the year 49 that Claudius had expelled the Jews from Rome, so we can closely estimate the time that Paul came to Corinth.
B. Aquilla and Priscilla are an interesting couple.
1. They are tentmakers by trade.
2. It would appear that they hired Paul to work for them, for Paul also was a tentmaker.
a. Rabbis did not receive a salary for their work, so each one needed a trade by which they could support themselves.
b. The Jews placed great stress on seeing that their children had a trade that they could always fall back on.
c. They used to say that if you did not teach your son a trade, you were preparing him to be a thief.
3. It seems that there came a very close bonding between Paul and this couple.
a. When Paul left Corinth, they went with him to Ephesus where they set up shop while Paul continued his journey to Jerusalem.
b. When Apollos came to Ephesus they ministered to him. Vs. 24-26.
c. When Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians from Ephesus in about 59 AD, he told them that Priscilla and Aquilla send their greetings along with the church that was in their house.
d. When a year later Paul wrote to the church in Rome, he told them to greet Priscilla and Aquilla who were his helpers in Christ Jesus.
e. About five years later when Paul wrote his second letter to Timothy, who was the pastor of the church in Ephesus at the time, he asked him to greet Prisca and Aquilla who were his helpers in Christ Jesus.
4. They were evidently people of means who were able to freely move about the world. First in Rome, then in Corinth, later in Ephesus, then back to Rome, and finally back to Ephesus.
5. These are special people, and they are on my list of people that I am anxious to meet when I get to heaven.
6. They had a church in their home in Ephesus, and were no doubt just influential witnesses for our Lord.
7. There are many people like them today, you do not hear about them, but what a great influence they have on others and what a wonderful work they do for the kingdom of God.
C. Paul would often work at his trade as a tentmaker so that he could freely bring the gospel to others.
For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.
Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:
Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?
I robbed other churches, taking wages [of them], to do you service.
And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all [things] I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and [so] will I keep [myself].
I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel.
Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.
I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
1. When Paul was in Ephesus they would take his sweat bands and put them on the sick.
III. HE REASONED IN THE SYNAGOGUE EVERY SABBATH AND PERSUADED THE JEWS AND THE GREEKS.
A. It would appear that his reasoning with them from the scriptures was limited to just showing them that the Messiah would be rejected, suffer and die.
B. This seemed to be the modus operandi of Paul, first to show them in their own scriptures that their concept of the reigning Messiah was only partially correct. That there were other scriptures that spoke of the suffering and death.
1. It was important that they see this first.
2. Once they could be convinced of this, then he could take them the next step and declare that Jesus was the Messiah.
3. It seems that he was still on step one.
C. When Timothy and Silas arrived from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in Spirit to take them to the next step and declare that Jesus was the Messiah.
1. The deep prejudice that many people have against Jesus can only be explained by understanding that Satan has blinded their eyes.
2. I do not know what a person can object to as to the teaching of Jesus.
a. He taught that we were to love one another as we loved ourselves.
b. He taught us to be merciful towards those were opposed to us.
c. He taught us to pray for our enemies.
d. He taught us to forgive people their trespasses against us.
e. They taught us to help those who are in need.
f. What could you possibly have against the teaching of Jesus?
3. Jesus said the reason men would not come to Him was that they loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.
a. That is the real reason. The rest are flimsy, irrational excuses.
D. Note the irrational result. They opposed themselves and blasphemed.
1. It is interesting how with so many people you can have a sane and rational conversation on about any subject in the world, but bring up the subject and the gentility and friendliness suddenly is gone and they begin to rave and blaspheme.
2. This is only a witness of the powerful hold that Satan has on their lives.
E. Paul shook his garment and said, your blood is on your own head.
1. God said to Ezekiel:
Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.
When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked [man] shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
Again, When a righteous [man] doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous [man], that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.
2. Paul had delivered his soul. They are now responsible for their decisions.
3. Later Paul will say to the Ephesian elders:
Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I [am] pure from the blood of all [men].
For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
4. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.