Acts #21: Where are you with God? (Acts 18); Stefan Schmid

Acts #21: Where are you with God? (Acts 18); Stefan Schmid

sermon Acts 18 : Stefan Schmid, 2022_11_26, AB Lausanne church

title : Acts #21: Where are you with God? (Acts 18); Stefan Schmid


Key Verse: Acts 1:8. Acts tells of the gospel journey from Jerusalem to Rome.

Strategy: Paul goes from town to town and preaches in the synagogue, some accept Jesus as the Messiah, and others oppose him. He then preaches the gospel to the other inhabitants

1. Is your name written in God’s book?

Verse 1: Paul goes from Athens to Corinth.

The chapter tells a lot about the couple Aquilas (meaning eagle) and Priscilla (meaning ancient).

  • Original Jews despite their Latin names like Saul whose Latin name was Paul.
  • Originally from the Province of Pontus (north of present-day Turkey)
  • Lived in Rome for a while, before they were expelled by Emperor Claudius
  • Were tentmakers like the apostle Paul who worked to earn a living. Today “tentmakers” is an expression used for missionaries who go to countries where they continue their profession.
  • They accompany Paul to Ephesus (to the west of present-day Turkey) and stay there

Read Acts 18: 1-4 and 18

After that, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 There he found a Jew named Aquila, originally from Pontus, who had just arrived from Italy with his wife Priscilla because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. He bonded with them; 3 as he had the same trade, he stayed with them and they worked together, making tents. 4 Every Sabbath Paul discoursed in the synagogue and persuaded Jews and Greeks.

18 Paul stayed a long time in Corinth. Then he took leave of the brothers and sisters and sailed for Syria with Priscilla and Aquila. He had his head shaved at Cenchreae because he had made a wish.

Then in the epistles, their names appear several times. The wife is no longer named by the diminutive (Priscille – little eve), but by Prisca (ancient):

They greet the Corinthians from Ephesus (1 Cor 16: 19). The Churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla, together with the Church which meets in their house, greet you warmly in the Lord.

Paul greets them in Romans 16 :3-5. So they returned to the capital. 3 Greet Prisca and Aquila, my co-workers in Jesus Christ. 4 They risked their heads to save my life. I am not the only one to be grateful to them, it is also the case for all the Churches of the non-Jews. 5 Greet also the church that is in their house. Salute Epainete, my beloved, who was the first fruit of Christ in Asia
Then they returned to Ephesus. Paul greets them from Rome (2 Tim 4:19). Salute Prisca and Aquila.

In our chapter, they help the orator Apollos to better understand the Gospel and commend him to the Church of Corinth.

Read Acts 18:24-28 (Read the entire chapter at home)

A Jew from Alexandria named Apollos had arrived in Ephesus. He was an eloquent man versed in the Scriptures.

25 He was instructed in the way of the Lord, and full of earnestness he preached and taught accurately about Jesus, although he only knew the baptism of John.

26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. After having listened to him, Aquila and Priscilla took him with them and explained to him more exactly the way of God.

27 As he wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him there and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. As soon as he arrived, he made himself, by the grace of God, very useful to the believers.

28 Indeed, he strongly refuted the Jews in public and he showed by the Scriptures that Jesus is the Messiah.

What a privilege! Their names are written in the Bible, the Word of God.

Is your name also registered with God, in the “book of life” in heaven?

Your name absolutely must be there. Being registered as a member of a church is not enough. The book of life is often mentioned in the Bible:

Luke 10:20

However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Daniel 12 :1

At that time will rise, Michael, the great leader, the one who watches over the children of your people. It will be a time of trouble such as has not been since a nation existed until that time. At that time, those of your people who are found written in the book will be saved.

Phil 4 :3

You too, my faithful colleague, I ask you to help them, those who fought for the Gospel with me as well as with Clement and my other collaborators whose names appear in the book of life.

Heb 12:22-24

On the contrary, you approached Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and its tens of thousands of feasting angels, 23 the assembly of the firstborn who were written in heaven. You have drawn near to God, who is the judge of all, to the spirits of the perfected righteous, 24 to Jesus, who is the mediator of a new covenant, and to the purifying blood bearing a better message than that of Abel.

Rev 20:12

I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne. Books were opened. Another book was also opened: the book of life. The dead were judged according to their works, according to what was written in these books.

Rev 3:5

The winner will be dressed in white clothes; I will not erase his name from the book of life and I will recognize him before my Father and before his angels.

Are you sure your name is on it?

Whoever believes in Jesus has eternal life ( John 3:16).

Indeed, God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Ask Jesus to forgive you, and your faults and entrust your life to Him. Thus you receive eternal life and your name is written in the book of life in heaven. What a privilege! As with Aquila and Priscilla, God has a good plan for your life too.

Eph 2:8-10

For it is by grace that you are saved, through faith. And it’s not from you, it’s God’s gift. 9 Not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 In fact, he is the one who made us; we were created in Jesus Christ for good works that God prepared in advance for us to do

2. Are you in touch with God?

Let’s go back to the apostle Paul in Corinth. As in other cities, his message created a division among the Jews. Some believed that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah, while others were strongly opposed. Paul had to fear persecution. In this situation, Jesus spoke directly to him.

Read Acts 18:9-10

The Lord said to Paul in a vision during the night: “Do not be afraid, but speak and be not silent, 10 for I myself am with you and no one will come to you to harm you. Indeed, I have many people in this city.”

First, Jesus opened his eyes to His presence. Yes, Jesus had promised His presence to the disciples even before ascending to heaven. Matt 28:20 – ” and teach them to put into practice all that I have commanded you. And I am with you always, until the end of the world.”

If you are in a difficult time, this reminder is excellent.

Furthermore, Jesus encourages Paul to stay in the city for a long time because he wanted many Corinthians to become children of God, to experience conversion and new birth. In short, so that their names would be inscribed in the book of life.

In his life, Paul had this experience several times – God speaks to him this way, for example:

  • Already during his conversion on the road to Damascus (Acts 9: 1-8) As for Saul, he always breathed threat and murder against the disciples of the Lord. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters for the synagogues of Damascus so that he could arrest and bring to Jerusalem any adherents of this teaching he found, male or female.3 As he was on his way and that he was approaching Damascus, suddenly a light which came from heaven shone around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 He answered, “Who are you, Lord?” And the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 Get up, go into the city, and you will be told what to do.” 7 The men who accompanied him stopped, dumb with amazement; they heard the voice well, but they saw no one. 8 Saul rose from the ground. Despite his open eyes, he saw nothing; they took him by the hand to lead him to Damascus.

  • Later in the storm, before the ship was lost (Acts 27:21-26) We hadn’t eaten for a long time. So Paul, standing in the midst of them, said to them: “My friends, you should have listened to me and not left Crete, in order to avoid this damage and this loss. 22 But now I invite you to take courage, for none of you will lose your life; only the boat will be lost. 23 Indeed, an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve appeared to me that night 24 and said to me, ‘Paul, do not be afraid! You must appear before the emperor, and behold, God, grants you the life of all who sail with you.’ 25 Therefore, my friends, take courage! I trust in God: everything will happen as it was told to me. 26 However, we must end up on an island.”

In his experience, Paul should have left town after a few weeks. But he obeyed what Jesus told him. Indeed, Paul stayed for a year and a half without major problems before continuing his journey.

What touches me in this event is that God is not silent in heaven and Paul alone on earth. To be a Christian means to be in contact with God. It is not a dead religion. Even without a cell phone or smartphone, the Christian is in contact with the heavenly Father and He speaks to us. We bring our worries to God (Phil 4:4-7).

Always rejoice in the Lord! I repeat: rejoice!

5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is near.

6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything make your needs known to God by prayers and supplications, in an attitude of gratitude. 7 And the peace of God, which passes all comprehension, will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.

And God speaks to us in many ways, for example through a verse from the Bible. The Christian life is exciting because of this direct contact with God.

Do you live it?

Instead of nurturing this contact with God and asking him for help, I see that some Christians are beginning to criticize others. Suppose you are the only Christian in your building. Ask God to direct you on how to be a witness. I’m sure He will direct you, on how to invite your neighbour for coffee, bring him a meal when he is sick, etc. But don’t criticize your siblings. Do not come to worship as an expert to count the faults of the preacher. In the end, you score yourself. Today, you may say, “Yes, yes, that’s fine. Let’s say it deserves maybe 5 francs that I will put in the offering at the exit”. God did not make us to criticize others, but to live a personal relationship with him and to use the gifts he gave to each one of us. Are you in touch with your God like Paul?

3. How do you react to life’s challenges?

Paul, therefore, stayed a year and a half in Corinth before continuing his journey. At Cenchreae, the port of Corinth, he made a vow. According to Acts 18: 18, he had his head shaved when he fulfilled this vow.

Read Acts 18:18-20

18 Paul stayed a long time in Corinth. Then he took leave of the brothers and sisters and sailed for Syria with Priscilla and Aquila. He had his head shaved at Cenchreae because he had made a wish.

19 They came to Ephesus where Paul left his companions. He himself entered the synagogue and spoke with the Jews, 20 who asked him to stay longer. But he refused

The details of this wish are not known. Probably, he had to accomplish it in the temple in Jerusalem, that’s why he was in a hurry to go there. But in the city of Ephesus, the Jews begged him to stay and better explain the Gospel to them. Paul must have been torn. Should he take advantage of this great opportunity or first accomplish his wish as promised? He remained faithful to his first engagement while saying that he wants to come back, God willing. Indeed, in the next chapter already, he returns to Ephesus.

Also in this tension between this new open door and his promise, Paul is an example. Many nowadays react according to circumstances and throw their promises overboard. They are like a shell on the water and let themselves go according to the wind of the day. I am thinking, for example, of marriage. Shortly after the happy event, the young man realizes that he has married a “budget” girl. But now he finally meets his desired “selection”. He forgets his promise, starts an affair, divorces and attaches himself to his new happiness. Others pray to God to show them the church where they should join. But from the first conflict, they leave it to seek the perfect church elsewhere.

How do you react to the challenges in your life? Are you really counting on God, while respecting your commitments? Challenges abound, even in your lives, I’m sure. God wants to test our confidence, and use it to grow our faith.

I guess we have today (October 31) a common challenge: Halloween. How will you react when the kids ring your doorbell tonight? Would you urn off the lights like you’re not there? Open the door and insult the kids for participating in this pagan thing? Or do you post a sheet on your door at children’s height: “Halloween / I’m not afraid / Jesus is stronger than fear”? When the kids ring the bell, you explain to them that on Halloween you don’t give out candy, but they should come back during the week. How do you react? I am sure you will find even better solutions so that the children will recognize that you are a Christian. It is through love, said Jesus, that all will know that you are my disciples (John 13: 35). It is by this that everyone will recognize that you are my disciples: if you love one another.”


In short, I encourage you all to read this chapter of Acts 18 quietly at home. As for me, I mainly remembered three things:

  • The names – Aquila and Priscilla have great importance in the Word of God. Are you sure your name is written in the book of life in heaven? If not, tell me when you leave so we can pray together.

  • The Christian life does not consist in observing a thousand and one laws but in direct contact with God the Father. We talk to Him in prayer, He directs us and speaks to us. Do you live this personal relationship?

The challenges are not lacking even in Switzerland. Count on the Lord.

Bible Passages

Acts 18 / ASV Bible

1. After these things he departed from Athens, and came to Corinth.
2. And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, a man of Pontus by race, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome: and he came unto them;
3. and because he was of the same trade, he abode with them, and they wrought, for by their trade they were tentmakers.
4. And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded Jews and Greeks.
5. But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul was constrained by the word, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ.
6. And when they opposed themselves and blasphemed, he shook out his raiment and said unto them, Your blood [be] upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.
7. And he departed thence, and went into the house of a certain man named Titus Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue.
8. And Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.
9. And the Lord said unto Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak and hold not thy peace:
10. for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to harm thee: for I have much people in this city.
11. And he dwelt [there] a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
12. But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him before the judgment-seat,
13. saying, This man persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law.
14. But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said unto the Jews, If indeed it were a matter of wrong or of wicked villany, O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you:
15. but if they are questions about words and names and your own law, look to it yourselves; I am not minded to be a judge of these matters.
16. And he drove them from the judgment-seat.
17. And they all laid hold on Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment-seat. And Gallio cared for none of these things.
18. And Paul, having tarried after this yet many days, took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence for Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila: having shorn his head in Cenchreae; for he had a vow.
19. And they came to Ephesus, and he left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews.
20. And when they asked him to abide a longer time, he consented not;
21. but taking his leave of them, and saying, I will return again unto you if God will, he set sail from Ephesus.
22. And when he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and saluted the church, and went down to Antioch.
23. And having spent some time [there], he departed, and went through the region of Galatia, and Phrygia, in order, establishing all the disciples.
24. Now a certain Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by race, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the scriptures.
25. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spake and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, knowing only the baptism of John:
26. and he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more accurately.
27. And when he was minded to pass over into Achaia, the brethren encouraged him, and wrote to the disciples to receive him: and when he was come, he helped them much that had believed through grace;
28. for he powerfully confuted the Jews, [and that] publicly, showing by the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.

Related Links / Notes

Acts Sermon Series

Study Notes are translated from the original French version prepared by the pastor Patrice Berger. The orginal French notes are in “note” form, and are not a direct transcription of the video, however they are quite close the original text preached at the church. The notes provided here follow that form, and are detailed enough to help provide a deep understanding of the texts in the book of Acts of the Apostles.

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Bible verses in the study link to the ASV bible. In addition to the ASV Bible , other versions of the Bible are also available on our website (KJV, Basic English and Darby as well as the Webster version and Young’s Bible on the Action Biblique Suisse website.

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