I. AND HE DEPARTED FROM THERE.
A. Paul had been teaching for some time in the synagogue no doubt showing in their scriptures the prophecies that spoke of the suffering of the Messiah, and His being rejected by the people.
B. Now that Silas and Timothy have joined him, Paul took the next step and declared to them that Jesus was the Messiah.
1. This created an uproar as some began to blaspheme.
2. In a symbolic gesture, Paul shook his garment and declared himself free from the guilt of their blood, and announced his intention of going to the Gentiles with the good news.
II. HE DEPARTED FROM THERE; I.E., THE SYNAGOGUE, AND WENT TO THE HOUSE OF JUSTUS WHICH WAS RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO THE SYNAGOGUE.
A. Justus is described as one who worshipped God. Beyond that we do not know anything more about him.
B. But that is quite enough, isn't it.
1. What a wonderful thing to have said about you. "They worship God."
2. When Paul wrote the letter to the Colossians from his prison in Rome, he mentions Justus being with him there, but if it is the same Justus, we have no way of knowing.
III. ANOTHER NOTABLE CONVERT WAS CRISPUS WHO WAS THE CHIEF RULER OF THE SYNAGOGUE.
A. As the chief ruler of the synagogue, it was his duty to preside in all the assemblies, interpret the law, decide concerning things lawful and unlawful, punish the obstinate, excommunicate the rebellious, solemnize marriages, and issue divorces. It is likely that on the conversion of Crispus, that Sosthenes became the chief ruler of the synagogue. Verse 17.
B. When Paul wrote his first letter to the church in Corinth, as he addressed the schisms that had developed through their carnality, for some were saying, "We are of Peter," others were saying "We are of Appolos," while still others were saying, "We're of Paul." As he rebuked them for this division that was developing, he said, "I thank God that I did not baptize any of you but Crispus and Gaius, and if there be any others I cannot remember for God did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel." This no doubt was the same Crispus.
1. Crispus believed on the Lord with all his house.
2. It is interesting how that so many times the work of the Spirit within a family begins with one becoming converted.
3. We hear of so many where they were the first in the family to become born again, but then parents, uncles, aunts, and the work seems to go through the family.
C. We read that "Many believed and were baptized."
1. This also is interesting in light of Paul's saying to them in his letter that the only ones he could remember baptizing were Crispus and Gaius. Later he remembered that he also baptized the household of Stephanas.
2. It is quite probable that Timothy and Silas were doing the actual baptizing.
IV. "THEN THE LORD SPOKE TO PAUL IN THE NIGHT BY A VISION."
A. Paul had several occasions where the Lord met with him and spoke to him.
1. At his conversion.
2. In his experience in Arabia. Talking of the gospel that he preached he said:
For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught [it], but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
3. In his first visit to Jerusalem after his conversion.
And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance;
And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me.
a. Here Paul describes the Lord speaking to him in a trance.
b. The word trance in Greek is ekstasei.
c. Peter was described as being in a trance in Joppa when he received the command to take the gospel to the Gentiles.
d. It means to be in great ecstasy. I have had those ecstatic experiences with the Lord.
4. When Paul was in the Roman custody after the riot in Jerusalem after Paul had attempted to witness of his conversion to the Jews.
And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.
5. When he was in the severe storm and all hope was lost.
For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,
6. It is very exciting to have the Lord come and speak directly to you. I can remember it happening just once in my life, and I still look to that moment as one of the greatest experiences of my life.
7. I have had the Lord speak to me through His word, this happens on a daily basis.
8. Many times the Lord has spoken to me through others, through the gift of prophecy or word of knowledge.
9. But to have Him stand beside you and speak to you is an unforgettable experience.
V. THE LORD'S MESSAGE TO PAUL.
A. "Be not afraid." You do not say to a person, "Be not afraid," unless they are afraid. It is perfectly possible and highly likely that by this time Paul was becoming a little fearful. Paul had not been received in Europe with open arms.
1. In Philippi he was beaten and imprisoned.
2. He had to flee Thessalonica under the cover of darkness.
3. Again he was more or less expelled from Berea.
B. He is now in Corinth, notably one of the most wicked cities on the face of the earth.
C. The Lord told him to speak, and not to hold his peace. It would seem that this is what Paul had been doing up until the time Timothy and Silas joined him.
D. The thing that the Lord offered to him to dispel his fear was His promised presence to be with Him. "For I am with thee."
E. Whenever I forget to put God into the equation is when I get afraid.
1. When I see the problems in the light of my ability I tremble.
2. When I look at how much needs to be done, I panic.
3. When I consider how much it is going to cost, I am frightened.
F. "No man will set on thee to hurt thee."
1. As the result of Paul's preaching he had been hurt many times.
2. He wrote to the Corinthians about those who were critical of him: I have labored more than any of them, I have had so many stripes I can't count them, I have been in prison more frequently and have often faced death. Of the Jews five times received I forty [stripes] save one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once was I stoned, three times I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; I have often journed often, I have experienced the perils of water, and the perils of robbers, [in] perils of my own countrymen, [in] perils by the heathen, [in] perils in the city, [in] perils in the wilderness, [in] perils in the sea, [in] perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
3. This promise was made concerning his stay in Corinth.
G. "For I have many people in this city."
1. If we were looking for a city to start a new work in, Corinth would probably be the last place we would consider.
2. We would probably have shaken the dust off our shoes before ever entering the city.
3. Looking at it from a practical standpoint you would have decided to just pass on.
4. The Lord sees the city differently. As He looks at this wicked city, He says, I have many people in this city.