Sunday School Material 11-29-15: Teaching God's Word

(Acts 18:1-11, 18-21a; 11/29/15)

Introduction: A key in today’s Sunday School material is that God used Paul to minister in a number of areas. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to let God use us in whatever way and in whatever place He chooses.

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Read Acts 18:1-4

I. New Connection. Paul went from Athens to Corinth. In Corinth, he met Aquila and Priscilla. They worked together as tent makers. In our Sunday School material Paul ministered in the synagogue.

Applications –

- Following God’s agenda. Notice in vss. 1-2 that Paul was on the move for the Lord. He ended up working with Aquila and Priscilla. First, we should be willing to move when the Lord says move and stay when the Lord says stay. Too many stay too long or move too soon.

Second, we should work on being relational. No person is an island. As Paul was able to interact with the couple, in the Sunday School material, we should be able to relate to especially other believers. Let’s work on being obedient to God’s agenda for our lives and being relational.

- Living in the real world. Notice in vss. 2-4 that the couple had to deal with the political issues of their day. Paul had a trade and was called to ministry.

First, as the couple in our text had to deal with Jews being kicked out of Rome, believers have to deal with the political issues of our day (e.g., taxes, laws, police issues, etc.). Being a Christian doesn’t remove us from the world. It calls us to be the light and salt of the world.

Second, as in the text, ministers ought to have a way to take care of themselves other than the ministry. Even though disciples should make sure their Pastor and staff are cared for, where there are no disciples, the Pastor and staff need to be able to work somewhere else.

Third, as Paul was able to work and do ministry, we are called to make some time to do the best that we can with ministry. In other words, having a job or a business is no excuse for giving no service to God. Let’s work on navigating the challenges of our day in ways that bring glory to God.

Read Acts 18:5-11

II. Renewed Connection. The Jews became abusive. Paul left. He ended up ministering next door. In our Sunday School material God assured Paul that He is still with him.

Applications –

- Leaving. Notice in vs. 6 that religious people can become abusive. This may be a great time to leave. First, the devil can turn people who cry “hosanna” into people who cry “crucify Him.” We should brace ourselves for the devil’s use of religious people, especially those who have more zeal than knowledge and maturity in God’s call for us to love people.

Second, we should make sure that we don’t allow the devil to us. A great way to keep the devil from using us is to give all of our time and energy to doing God’s will for our lives.

Third, as in the Sunday School material, there are times to leave. Sometimes we stay and suffer for God (e.g., Jeremiah and Hosea) and sometimes we leave.

We should seek God’s wisdom and courage to make and carry out the right decision. Let’s work on keeping the devil from using us and seeking God’s will about when to leave and when to stay.

- Right next door. Notice in vss. 7-11 that God did great things through Paul, right next door. In like manner, just because things don’t work out in one area doesn’t mean that it will not work in the next area. And the next area doesn’t have to be a great distance away. God can bless you and bless others through you, right next door.

Keep the faith and stay faithful. Think about how those who cannot sing anymore can still serve the Lord as an usher. Those who cannot usher anymore can still serve the Lord as a follow-up worker. And then we should make sure that we are “one of the people in this city.”

In other words, we should let God use us to support the great work that He is doing in the lives of others, as in the text. Let’s work on trusting God enough to obey Him with the opportunities that He gives us right “next door.”

Read Acts 18:18-21a

III. New Mission Field. Paul eventually left Corinth. In our Sunday School material he took Priscilla and Aquila to Ephesus. The people wanted him to stay, but he appears to have had a call from God to go.

Applications –

- No. Notice in vs. 20 that Paul essentially said “no” to the request for him to stay. It is important for disciples to know when to say “no.” We don’t have to say “yes” to every request for our time and energy. Let’s seek the wisdom and courage to know when to say “yes” and when to say “no.”

- “If it is God’s will.”Notice in vs. 21 that Paul talks about how he will return, “if it is God’s will.” It is important to understand that God has the final say on what we think we are going to do.

“If it is God’s will” allows us the opportunity to do something other than what we promised, if we discover that what we promised was not God’s will. “If it is God’s will” give us an opportunity to trust God with what appears to be interruptions to our plans. Let’s learn to trust that God’s will is best for us, even when it is different than our plans.

Conclusion: Let’s work on letting God use us in whatever way and in whatever place He chooses. God has much for those who obey His will.

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