Pressed in the Spirit

God Motivates Us in the Gospel Ministry

Acts 18:1-28


I.     Background (Acts 18:5)


A.   Acts 18:5  And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.

B.   There is a wonderful force that affects the life of the believer…

C.   That force is the influence of the Holy Spirit of God, that presses you – pushes you – motivates you to do the will of God – to care about the things God cares about


1.    If it was emotional pressure, it would be manipulation

2.    If it was a physical push, it would be man-handling

3.    But it was a pressing, a pressure, a squeezing, a pushing deep in Paul’s spirit


D.   Paul’s spirit was “pressed” upon – we would say, impressed upon to do what was hard to do – preach to the Jewish people their need to be converted even though they constantly rejected it and fought him every time he tried to preach

E.   What would Christianity be like if WE were influenced and pressed upon by the Spirit of God instead of by the nightly news, and friends, and social media influences?


II.   Message


A.   On to Corinth (Acts 18:1; 17:30,31)


1.    Acts 18:1  After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;…

2.    Paul just finished preaching that ALL men (philosopher, scientist, lawyer, judge, common man, ALL MEN) need to REPENT to be saved from the coming judgment of God!


a.     Acts 17:30-31 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.


3.    And then headed 60 km west to the large city of Corinth


a.     A very wealthy and large city in southern Greece

b.    It was famous for its many different cultures, AND vices – a lot like Cork is today

c.     But Corinth became filled with a huge church after Paul preaches there, with many people getting saved and living for God!

d.    Two letters of the New Testament are written to the Christians in Corinth


4.    Loads of problems in this church


a.     Big churches are filled with many people, which means, they bring many problems!

b.    Paul had to write two very long letters to correct a lot of wrong doctrines, and wrong practices by the believers there

c.     Thankfully, those two letters (First and Second Corinthians) are very helpful for all churches to deal with the major source of carnality amongst Christians still today.


5.    Yet with all its problems, the Corinthian assembly of believers was still a CHURCH


a.     So don’t be so quick to tear apart and walk away from your church when you find a flaw – too much hyper-criticism today. Christianity is tearing itself apart these days.

b.    Be careful how much of an angry spirit you may be picking up from all the conspiracies and nit-picking youtube preachers!


B.   Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18:2,3)


1.    Paul meets a Married Couple named Aquila and Priscilla in Corinth


a.     Acts 18:2,3  And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.

b.    They were Jewish believers in Jesus

c.     Had just been exiled / thrown out of Rome and Italy, along with all the Jews there

d.    Why? History records that the Jews were causing a huge problem with rioting in the city of Rome due to the Gospel being preached there

e.     Aquila and Priscilla probably were very discouraged (had left and lost everything), until they met Paul


2.    Paul Teams up with them


a.     He lives with them for a while – remember that Paul is on the move – has no camper van

b.    They have some things in common – actually FOUR things:


1)    The LORD Jesus Christ – what a great reason to get along! Christian family

2)    A great purpose – the preaching and teaching of the Gospel

3)    Their cultural background – ex-Jews

4)    And their common occupation – they were all tent-makers. They had a TRADE / SKILL. Paul was not independently wealthy. He often had to work to make money


c.     But the point is, God uses TEAMS more than He uses individuals


3.    Aquila and Priscilla are ALWAYS mentioned together as man and wife (Acts 18:2, Acts 18:18, Acts 18:26; Romans 16:3; 1Corinthians 16:19; 2Timothy 4:19).


a.     What a great testimony! How do people refer to YOU?

b.    A married couple should be together in serving God - not just the man, and not just the woman

c.     The ministry of a healthy Christian marriage is priceless, and POWERFUL! And that is why the devil works SO hard to destroy your closeness as a married couple ladies and gentlemen!


4.    They were true Christian friends to Paul (Romans 16:3-5)


a.     Romans 16:3-5  Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is in their house.

b.    They loved Paul – got along with him – weren’t fault-finders, but helpers

c.     They helped Paul kep preaching, and keep going in the Gospel ministry

d.    They even followed Paul all around southern Europe and Asia so that they could help

e.     And laid down their own necks (risked their own necks) to help Paul keep preaching


C.   Paul Continues to Evangelize the Jews First (Acts 18:4)


1.    Acts 18:4  And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.

2.    Persuading them, and also the Greeks about Jesus

3.    This is what evangelisation means


a.     He took the time to answer questions, explain the Gospel

b.    Helped them see Christ in every chapter of the Old Testament Scriptures!

c.     THAT is MY job too – to convince YOU of the things in this BOOK

d.    Don’t be afraid of pressing people to examine the facts about Jesus


D.   Silas and Timothy Arrive (Acts 18:5)


1.    Acts 18:5  And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, ...

2.    They travelled all the way down from Berea to Corinth (more than 200km)

3.    They were a great comfort and encouragement to Paul


a.     Paul, like Jesus, gave his life to help others find comfort in trusting in the Lord

b.    But Paul, also needed to be encouraged too!

c.     He got discouraged when preaching to the Jewish people


1)    The Gentiles were getting saved so much easier and quicker than the Jews

2)    Yet the very people of God were so hard, and so angry at the Gospel

3)    Paul needed a bit of encouragement by the brethren


4.    It is well-known that Leaders need to be:


a.    Self-starters

b.    Self-motivated

c.     Self-sufficient – not need anybody else

d.    Self-confident – sure of themselves


5.    But we aren’t.


a.     We pastors… we teachers, we husbands, we dads… well, we NEED encouragement

b.    And we preachers need MEN to be with us and serve along side us to keep us going!

c.     We were never meant to do the ministry alone – we are to work WITH the strengths of the entire body of believers who gather together as a church


1)    In other words, I need ALL of you doing your part, working with me, encouraging ME as I endeavour to encourage YOU to serve the living God today & every day!

2)    If you are married, your husband NEEDS encouragement, ladies

3)    If you still have your Dad around, he needs your encouragement, and prayers and love and your listening ear!


6.    I am so thankful for all that I get to do in the ministry – many times alone

7.    But I am just as thankful for the Silas’ and the Timothy’s and the Luke’s who know when to show up and help keep me going for God!


E.   “Pressed in the spirit” (Acts 18:5-12)


1.    Acts 18:5  And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.

2.    That means that Paul was easily influenced by the Holy Spirit


a.     He was SENSITIVE to the work of the Spirit in him and through him

b.    He was STIRRED / motivated by the Holy Spirit - Spiritually excited, affected. Motivated to do the will of God – to care about the things God cares about

c.     And he was SHOVED / Pushed by the Spirit to keep preaching that Jesus was the Messiah! He often gave up on them, but then would always try again

d.    He couldn’t help but keep preaching, keep loving his nation, keep soul-winning among the Jews, keep praying for their salvation, keep serving His Lord – he was faithful – persistent – all because of the pressure the holy Spirit put in Him


3.    Paul also was encouraged by the Spirit


a.     The Jews closed themselves off, and constantly blasphemed Jesus’ name


1)    Acts 18:6  And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.

2)    That would discourage anybody from continuing to care about the Jews


b.    And it caused Paul to walk away this time – but the Lord wouldn’t let him


1)    Acts 18:7  And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man's house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue.

2)    Jews still were getting saved!


a)    Acts 18:8  And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.


3)    Jesus personally encouraged Paul to keep witnessing to them


a)    Acts 18:9,10  Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.


4)    Acts 18:11  And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.


F.    Insurrection (Acts 18:13-17)


1.    Paul’s persistence got him into trouble once again!


a.     Acts 18:12  And when Gallio was the deputy of Achaia, the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat,

b.    This is what every politician fears most – the mob!

c.     Pilate was terrified of mobs as well – it was why he gave into them in the end when they were demanding that Jesus be crucified and a murderer, Barabbas set free!


2.    Why was Paul in trouble?


a.     Acts 18:13  Saying, This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law.

b.    Paul was not calling for riots, or to overthrow governments


3.    He was Persuading MEN (especially Jewish men)


a.     He wasn’t forcing anyone to believe – he convinced them by evidence and Scripture

b.    That… The Gospel is more important than the Law

c.     That Jesus was more important than Moses

d.    What Jesus said was better than what Moses said

e.     And it made the unbelieving Jews furious!


4.    Notice – Governments and judges should NEVER get involved in matters of faith and religion, and Gallio knew this! (Acts 18:14-17)


a.     Acts 18:14-17  And when Paul was now about to open his mouth, Gallio said unto the Jews, If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you: But if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look ye to it; for I will be no judge of such matters. And he drave them from the judgment seat. Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. And Gallio cared for none of those things.

b.    “He said something offensive to people!” “She believes something heretical!” “They won’t agree with me!” “He hurt my feelings” and so on!


5.    A Thought - Some people thrive on trouble – they go looking for it


a.     Usually end up in prison

b.    But, Wouldn’t it be great if those young men and women, even some who are here this morning, if you got thoroughly saved, and then got into trouble standing up for what is right, and for God, and for Jesus, and for souls?

c.     Wouldn’t THAT be wonderful? Wouldn’t THAT make an impact?

d.    Soul-winning is better than being sucked into climate activism, veganism, and politics!


G.   Heading for Jerusalem (Acts 18:18-23)


1.    They are now a Team of Six (Acts 18:18)


a.     Acts 18:18  And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila

b.    Paul

c.     Luke (he was traveling along, recording everything)

d.    Silas

e.     Timothy

f.     Aquila

g.    And his wife Priscilla


2.    On to Syria (Acts 18:18)


a.     Acts 18:18  … and sailed thence into Syria… having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.

b.    He has a new target in view – Jerusalem

c.     And he makes a vow, and shaves his hair off to mark the start of his vow

d.    His vow was to not get a haircut until he arrives in Jerusalem in hope of preaching the Gospel there again!


3.    By way of Ephesus (Acts 18:19-21)


a.     Acts 18:19-21  And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not; But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus.

b.    Paul could not abandon his people – the Jews!

c.     Paul also loved the gentile Christians in Ephesus – and they loved HIM

d.    Paul left Aquila and Priscilla in Ephesus to be a help there in that church

e.     Not knowing that a well educated man (named Apollos) was about to arrive into town who needed THEM to teach him New Testament doctrine


4.    Then briefly down to Jerusalem and then over to Antioch (Acts 18:22)


a.     He visited the churches in Jerusalem and then in Antioch

b.    Acts 18:22  And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch.


5.    Then throughout Galatia AGAIN (Acts 18:23)


a.     These are HIS churches that he helped start – they were precious to him

b.    Acts 18:23  And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.


6.    What were they all doing?

7.    Encouraging and strengthening the churches - “strengthening all the disciples


a.     NOT with entertainment and music – not with gym memberships…

b.    But with sound doctrine

c.     Correcting all the constant heresies blowing around that day

d.    They are STILL blowing around – more than ever!


H.   Apollos Gets an Upgrade (Trained) (Acts 18:24-28)


1.    Acts 18:24-28  And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace: For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.


2.    Who was this guy?


a.     Apollos was an “eloquent” speaker – very able persuader, a great and powerful teacher

b.    Highly educated. He was mighty in the Old Testament Scriptures


3.    Apollos preached boldly to the Jews in Ephesus:


a.     That they needed to REPENT because the Messiah was coming

b.    Told them to get BAPTIZED in preparation, as part of their repentance

c.     But that was all Apollos knew


4.    Many truths he was missing


a.     Limited in his understanding. He only knew the Scriptures up to Matthew chapter 3!

b.    He did not know the Messiah had come, taught, and then was crucified and rose again


5.    So, Aquila and Priscilla taught Apollos the New Testament!


a.     It takes a humble man to allow “inferior” teachers (not so educated) to teach them


6.    Apollos turned out to be a huge help to the church at Ephesus, winning the Jews!


III.         Conclusion


A.   Are YOU in motion? Doing something for the Lord Jesus? A serious question!


1.    Paul was always in motion. Going somewhere, talking to someone about the Lord

2.    It all started the day he discovered Jesus is alive, and loved him and could use him!

3.    Are you and your wife and kids all together in some ministry? Why not?


B.   And by the way, could you befriend someone, and encourage them to keep going for God?


1.    There are way too many pastors quitting the ministry

2.    So many Christian men, are staying home, fault finding, and letting the world go to hell


C.   Be careful of your attitude towards the Jews – care for them!


1.    It is so easy to judge them – seems to be a popular past-time amongst modern Christians

2.    They need the Gospel – they need people who care for their souls! God does!


D.   I hope more and more of us get “Pressed in the spirit” to keep serving!


1.    Easily spiritually influenced instead of hard and apathetic

2.    Let’s keep preaching the Gospel to “whosoever” we meet

3.    It is only going to get harder folks!