Acts 18 (3)

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Dealing with Discouragement

How many of you have ever been ready to quit and walk away?
I mean maybe it’s your job. There something about that dream of walking in and being like i’m done see ya later alligator...
I mean just to get to that point of I’ve had enough with you people....
Or maybe you get to that point with life in general where you’ve just had enough and you want to go crawl in a hole somewhere and never come out.
Like sometimes Josiah will want to wrestle with me. He’ll come home from Nana and Papa’s all worked up with confidence because Papa goes easy on him and let’s him win too easy.
so he’ll be like come dad let’s wrestl and i’ll be like I’m not papa son i’m not sure you want to go there.
but he insists and it usually ends up with me holding him down and him crying for his momma...
almost never is it me crying for momma…just kididng.
of course he always wants more…he’ll be like i give up dad them pop here he comes again....
But I think that’s how life works sometimes we give it our all but discouragement just comes over and keeps knocking us back down until we get to the point where we feel trapped and like we’re being held down can’t get back up.
You ever feel like that? Like you’re down in a hole and you just can’t see a way out?
Guess what you’re not alone.
You remember that guy named Paul? That guy who seems like he is more than human and can do anything and everything that God asks him to?
Well guess what he got to the point he wanted to quit. He got to the point he just wanted to walk away.
He was afraid...
in God is going to tell paul to not quit to not be quiet to not be afraid.
why? cause he was he was in one words in fear and trembling.
he was discouraged and wanted to quit.
So let’s start with talking about some of the...

The Causes of Discouragement


Acts 18:1–4 ESV
1 After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. And he went to see them, 3 and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade. 4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks.

Imagine constantly being busy and never getting a break.
Now the reason for overworking is sometimes our fault whether we take on too much or mis manage our time or whatever...
but then there’s other times where it just can’t be helped. For Paul this couldn’t be helped.
He had to have money to pay for his stay and he didn’t want to ask the Corinthians to help him because he was afraid they would not listen to him and judge him as being in it only for the money.
so he didn’t ask them for a dime.
but he had to work and he did alongside this ministry power couple Aquila and Priscilla who maybe we’ll have more time to look at next week.
but Paul goes to work making tents. now there’s all sorts of theories on what kind of tents was he a leather worker or the word can also refer to doing something with goat hair…eww.
Who knows all we know is he is making a living with his hands hard word tedious word long work
and then he is going and preaching in the evenings and on the weekends telling people about Jesus.
not many coffee breaks for ole Paul..
So first off you have this constant strain to be working. He’s giving his everyhting to these people so that they can hear the good news about Jesus.
Let’s add to this Exhaustion rejection...


Acts 18:5–6 ESV
5 When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. 6 And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
So verse 5 tells us that by the time Silas and Timothy showed up Paul was 100 percent focused on the Word. Apparently by this time the people from Phillipi had sent their money to him so that he could give up tent making and get back to preaching the gospel full time.
So now he is immersed in preaching and teaching the word.
but then verse 6...
He is rejected again by the Jews and gives up and leaves.
He says here you’re blood is on your own head. they have made the choice to reject the gosple so Paul is done with them.
He has doen all he can do...
Now we need to remember something
Paul is not a robot. We don’t need to assume here that he enjoys getting rocks thrown at him everywehre he goes.
or that he enjoys people constantly criticising him everywehre he goes.
and especially in this city. these people he was totatlly unable to please. they complained no matter what he did.
he wrote them letters and they made fun of him for not showing up.
he showed up and they made fun of how he looked and talked.
Paul is tough when he writes a letter but when he shows up he reminds us of danny devito....
He’s no Peter that’s for sure...
So he is rejected yet again and yet again he feels like a failure…k
So we have exhaustion
we have rejection and then we have


Acts 18:7–8 ESV
7 And he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. His house was next door to the synagogue. 8 Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household. And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized.
So This is sort of funny right?
I mean he walks out of the synagogue and just goes next door to this guy who was someone who sorta believed not quite there yet but he’s close.
then this guy becomes a christian and Paul basically plants a chuch next door to the Jewish center.
apparently there was no non compete clause in his resignation.
Anyway not only that but the guy who used to run the synagoge goes with him and because a believers.
now why would this be discouraging for Paul?
well first off the gentiles who are becoming Christians are nuts.
Like in the first letter Paul writes to them he has to address the fact that they won’t stop fighting with each other over everything.
Like who baptized them just anything and everything they are true blue baptists right?
but it’s not just that
apparently one guy was sleeping with his step mom and they were encouraging him in it just ingnoring the sin and patting themselves on the back for being tolerant.
And to top it off they are getting drunk at the Lord’s Supper.
Like amen preacher another round for everyone...
it’s bad in Corinth so these people would be a struggle to invest it.
it’s going to be tough on him.
and then there’s the fear of what comes after success.
So if you go back to Chapter 16 Paul preaches people are saved and he gets beat up and thrown in prison.
!7 he preaches in Thess…people become believers he gets beat up and thrown out of town
Berea same thing....
Athens is not as bad they just laugh him out of town there
so what’s he expecting?
to get beat up and have rocks thrown at him till he dies of leaves.
You see Satan is not a fan of God working in people’s hearts so when a church or a ministry starts growing he is going to do whatever he can to stop it.
so sometimes the scariest thing for a misisonary or pastor or church leader is to see God start working cause we know Satan is going to come after us...
So Paul is like I’m done i’m out of here I’m ready to quit.
I’m tired.
I’m hurt from all the stuff people keep saying
and I’m afraid of what comes next....
and maybe that’s where you are this morning.
You’re tired you’ve put in long hours hoping that if you tried harder things would get better.
You’re hurt the thing speople have said or not said have you just on the brink of walking away from it all
or maybe you are looking into the future like what is next what do i not know about and what is going to happen?
so you’re trying to duck because you’re afraid of the rock coming at you...
what do you do?
Let’s talk about how we deal with Discouragment.

The Remedy for Discouragement

You see our struggles will do one of two things they will either pull us toward God or push further down away from him.
But God has given us several tools to use to pull us up out of the pit of discouragement if we will just grab ahold of them.
Look again at verse 9 with me.
Acts 18:9–11 ESV
9 And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” 11 And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

Remember God has a Purpose for You

Go on speaking and do not be silent.
Ephesians 2:10 ESV
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
When you remember your purpose getting through the tough stuff is not necessarily easier but it is worth it.
Think about having babies
Two a days
Working out
Training for a marathon
Raising kids....Grandkids
When you remember you have a real life purpose that goes beyond even this world
1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV
58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
Whatever you do for the Lord is worth it because it is all that lasts past this world.
The Author of Ecclesiastes said everything under the sun is pointless and meaningless because we’re all gonna die some day and it’s all going to vanish everything except what you do for the Lord.
If you want your life to count beyond this world then do it all for his glory then everything counts everything has purpose and meaning.
your job that you hate
those bills that you hate
on and on we could go. Purpose is so important guys.
That’s why mid life crises are so hard to overcome for so many poeple they get to that point in life where they start thinking what am i doing and why?
i have done everything i wanted to do i have accomplished all my goals and i don’t feel better than i did before.
that’s when you have to do decide are you the point of your goals or is serving God for all eternity the point of your life.
Find purpose and meaning in bringing glory to God as you share Christ through the way you live and what you say.
God is getting Paul’s mind off of him and putting it back on the mission.
The problem with a Woe is Me attitude is that one word…ME....
When it’s all about me i’m never getting up out of that pit of discouragment because i need a greater purpose than me to move on and be strong.
When you are down in the hole of discouragement the purposes of God will pull you out.
Not Just the purposes of God look on with me...
at the first part of verse 10...
For I am with You here we see another tool God uses to pull us up out of the pit...

The Presence of God

He is telling Paul that he is not alone. He may have felt like he had this huge burden to carry all by himself.
Ya’ll ever get in that mode? where you feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders and all these people’s problems are your problems to solve?
and all the problems you are facing your problems to solve and if you don’t figure out a way to make things work no one will and if you don’t do something quick it’s all gonna come crashing down on top of you?
Have you ever been there?
I’ll be honest I live there. Like that’s where I stay a lot of times. I forget constantly that I’m not alone. That God is right there with me walking me through those issues.
It took me forever to really get the footprints in the sand poem and if I’m totally honest I still don’t like it.
Ya’ll know the poem i’m talking about.
Where this guy is having a dream of his life like it’s a beach...
And he looks back down and he sees footprints through all the times in his life and he is talking to Jesus about those footprints and then he’s like hey man what is up with that?
He notices that ever time life got hard there were only one set of footprints and he’s like Jesus what’s up? When life was at it’s hardest you left me to fend for myself?
and Jesus is like no bro, where you see one set of footprints that’s where I picked you up and carried you.
Now let’s be real, I’m a grown man and I don’t like the idea of being carried but that’s exactly the mindset that keeps you down in the hole of discouragment when God is reaching down to pull you up out of it.
And I really think Paul the apostle struggled with the same thing, in fact I know he did.
He tells us in that in order to keep him from thinking too much of himself God sent him a thorn in the flesh to keep him from becoming conceited.
In other words to remind him that he was human. we don’t know what this thorn is, I kinda feel like he’s talking about the Corinthian church but…who knows for sure.
Either way he suffered alot becasue of this thorn and he begged God to take it away. Well just listen to his own words...
2 Corinthians 12:7–10 ESV
7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
You see Paul had to be reminded nope you’re not God bro. But God is with you and as long as you remember that you are not able to do it on your own you’ll be fine.
You fall back into the pit of discouragment though when you start thinking you can make it without the prescense of God.
Jesus gives us the same promise guys He says that he will be with us even to the end of this age until the end of time.
as long as old men sit and talk about the weather and as long as old women sit and talk about old men...forever and ever amen...
He will be with us. You’re not alone so stop pretending you are and let him pull you up out of that hole you’re in this morning.
So the Purposes of God
the Presence of God
Then he says for i have many people in this city…Paul not only do you have God with you, you have his people. Now in once sence I think God is talking about the people that will become believers but in another since he is also talking about the fact that he has other believers already around him that will help him and support him...
When you are down in the pit of discouragement look to the People of God.

The Promises of God

The People of God

Now just like we don’t like to ask for help from God we sure don’t like to ask for help from other people...
At least I don’t…again I don’t want to put my issues off on you but I’m terrible at admitting that I need help...
When we moved to Southeastern Seminary over in NOrth Carolina we knew no one there. Like not one person in the whole state...
Now the school had told us call us when you are getting close and we’ll send some guys over to help you unload your truck.
I was like nah…I got this. I don’t need no help I’m a man....
Crystal who is the more wise person in our marraige was not as convinced and was quite sure I was going to put her to work...
she was like John you need to call…nah I got this…John you need to call...
so finally I did call once we were really close…now did anyone show up?
Well I think they did eventually but that was after we had everything off the truck and took in.
Now did i have help?
Actually yes I did our next door neighbor who turned out to be one of the best friends i’ve ever had saw us pull up and came to help us.
Which was really nice because we have this couch it’s a sleeper couch you know with a bed in it. It is maybe the single heaviest object in our home.
We were able to wrestle that thing in our little townhouse we moved into but i’ll be honest i was looking forward to seeing if i could get that thing in by myself...
Just kidding…sorta...
anyway the point is there are times when we all need help.
and when we go through hard times we have a choice allow the the tough stuff to pull us closer to God’s people or push us away from them.
to go to God’s people and say listen i’m hurting i need help or to push them away and say i don’t like them anyway they’re just going to judge me...
Now the hard part is after you ask for help you have to actually listen and recieve the help you asked for.
You can’t dismiss the help if you don’t like what you hear.
That’ll push further down into the hole.
Lean on God’s people guys.
You’re not alone, Paul wasn’t alone he had Aquilla and Pricsilla he had Timothy and Silas and he had a bunch of others as well however messed up they were.
Lean on God’s People.
Focus on God’s Purpose.
Rest in God’s Presence
and Trust God’s Protection...
And no one will attack you to harm you is God’s promise to Paul.
He’s finally going to get a break from all the attacks people have been laying down on him....
The Protection of God

The Protection of God

Look at what happens in verses 12-17...
Acts 18:12–17 ESV
12 But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal, 13 saying, “This man is persuading people to worship God contrary to the law.” 14 But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrongdoing or vicious crime, O Jews, I would have reason to accept your complaint. 15 But since it is a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves. I refuse to be a judge of these things.” 16 And he drove them from the tribunal. 17 And they all seized Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal. But Gallio paid no attention to any of this.
Now this looks like the only time God ever does this for Paul but he takes care of him here. For once it’s not Paul getting beat up it’s someone else.
I love verse 14 as Paul is about to give his defense Gallio, the guy in charge cuts him off with I don’t care.
Can you imagine the smile that crept across his face when this happens.
Can you imagine the smile that crept across his face when this happens.
Like this guy is nah nah na boo boo you’re gonna get in trouble and the guy in charge is like ehh. I don’t really care about this. it’s not important to us. I mean if he had killed someone or hurt someone then I’d probably do something about it.
but since this has to do with your own religion i could care less...
So this mob that had been worked up and ready to beat up Paul is like well fine then we’ll beat up the guy who got us all worked up.
and again the guy in charge is like ehh mind over matter i don’t mind cause you don’t matter.
Now to be honest we really don’t know why Sosthenes took this beating was it because the jews were disappointed they didn’t get to beat someone up or did they think he was about to become a Christian like the last ruler…who knows.
all we know is that Paul was protected and he was able to stay on in Corinth for a long time and actually disciple these people.
they needed a lot of quality time cause they were crazy.
But when you know you are protected you’re alot more bold and able to do alot more without fear...
Like our dog lulu…coons...
uh huh that’s what i thought...

Acts 18:18–23 ESV
18 After this, Paul stayed many days longer and then took leave of the brothers and set sail for Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had cut his hair, for he was under a vow. 19 And they came to Ephesus, and he left them there, but he himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to stay for a longer period, he declined. 21 But on taking leave of them he said, “I will return to you if God wills,” and he set sail from Ephesus. 22 When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church, and then went down to Antioch. 23 After spending some time there, he departed and went from one place to the next through the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.

The end of all of this is Paul is no longer discouraged no longer contemplating qutting he is reenergized and ready for the work at hand.
Acts 18:24–28 ESV
24 Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. 27 And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, 28 for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.
He Committed Himself to God’s Purpose
He Rested in God’s Presense
He relied on God’s People
He Trusted God’s Protection.
Now we may not get the same promise Paul got in fact we probably wont.
but for everyone believer in here one day we will see what happened with Paul happen for us.
the Devil who has been trying to beat us down and destroy us will finally get what is coming to him. We won’t have to lift a finger because God will take care of him for us.
He calls us to trust in him and depend on Him.
In the mean time let’s grab hold of the Word of God and allow HIs Word to pull us up out of the pit of Discouragment and put us back on the path of His purposes.
Paul devoted himself to the teaching and preaching of God’s Word to these people.
If you are discouraged this morning start with his word that’s where you are reminded of of his presence and his promise of protection and where you learn to depend on his people.
Don’t let your discouragment push you away from his word allow His Word to Pull you up out of this pit you are in.
and if you are doing good if you are marching on with all your ducks in a row look for the people in our church that are down in the pit right now and pray for them.
and ask the Lord to show you how you can best help them out of that pit ask the Lord to show you how you can best pull them up and encourage them.
And if you are not a believer this mornign i want to remind you of a warning we see here in this passage.
Paul the apostle called by God to preach the word of God said to these people who rejected the gosple.
That’s enough. I’m not going to give you another chance. It’s over. I’m going go tell someone who will listen to the gospel.
If you have been rejecting the gosple over and over don’t think that you have unlimited time to recieve thee salvaiton that Jesus offers.
You are not guarunteed another second of another day. If you are considering putting your faith in Jesus Christ would you do that this morning? Don’t put it off one more second.
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