You can’t do this by yourself.
NOVEMBER 10, 2022
You can’t do this by yourself. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
It’s for freedom that Christ set us free, and Key Life is here to bring you Biblical teaching that encourages you to never give into slavery again. Our teacher on Key Life is Steve Brown. He’s an author, broadcaster, and seminary professor who’s sick of phony religion.
Thank you Matthew. We’re beginning to look at some of the reasons Paul was successful in Corinth and he failed in Athens. And we spent a day or two talking about the fact that Paul in Corinth didn’t go to the intellectuals. He didn’t go to the rich people and the powerful people and the leaders. He went to the poor, the uneducated, the nobodies in Corinth, and God used that in a wonderful way to build a church. Now, in Corinth, there were a lot of leaders that became Christians. In Corinth, there were wealthy people who became Christians, but Paul was successful in Corinth because he ignored them and went to the people that Jesus went to, went to the prostitutes, and the poor, and the drunks, and the weak, and the powerless, and the marginalized. And God used that as he always does in a wonderful and magnificent way. But that doesn’t explain all of the success of Paul in Corinth. We’ve seen that more of the New Testament is devoted to this church than to any other church in the entire New Testament. And in fact, more space is given to Corinth than any of the gospel writers gave to Jesus. So, this was a major big deal in Corinth when the apostle Paul went there. But it isn’t all explained by the fact that he went to the weak and the marginalized. There’s more to it than that. So, let me show you, and we can use this to be kind of a way we can learn how to deal with our own culture. As a matter of fact, we’re living in a world that isn’t all together different, certainly in America and Canada too. A world that isn’t all together different than the world of Corinth. Corinth had exactly the same kinds of things we deal with, confusion as to sexuality, crazy ideas, worshiping false gods, religious drivel, silliness, power, self-righteousness. All of that was present in Corinth and every bit of it is present where we live right now. So, we’ve got a lot to learn as we learn on the ball of the apostle Paul. For those of you who aren’t golfers, that phrase means, and by the way, I’m not a golfer. I played golf for years and my friends always said, I never did. And that’s true, but a phrase they use, if somebody goes ahead of you, you watch the way their ball goes on the green and you learn from their ball. Well, as it were, we’re going to learn from the apostle Paul’s ball. And the first thing you ought to note about his success in Corinth is that he didn’t go there alone. He went with others. Others joined hands with him, and together they served Christ, Acts 18:1 through 2.
After this he left Athens
where he’d failed.
and went to Corinth. And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, lately come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded that the Jews should leave Rome. And he went to see them.
Why did he go see them? Because he knew that he couldn’t do this by himself. If you’ll flip over and you’ll never find it before I read it, so trust I’m reading it correctly. It’s Romans 16:4, Paul says.
Greet Priscilla and Aquila.
Yeah, the same ones.
Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I, but also all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks. Greet also the church in their house.
And then in Acts 18:5.
And when Silas and Timothy arrived in Macedonia.
So, Paul when he was in Corinth, was not a lone ranger. He wasn’t playing John Wayne. He wasn’t saying, I’m here and I’m going to fix this pagan place. He didn’t say, God has anointed me and me only to be his servant in this place. So, get out of the way. Paul knew he couldn’t do it by himself, and he put others next to him. Notice that in Athens, Paul didn’t have Aquila with him. Priscilla wasn’t in Athens. Timothy wasn’t there. Silas wasn’t with them. It makes a difference when somebody stands with you in the cause of Christ. I remember when Young Life started in New England. There was no work, and this has been a hundred years ago. Young Life started and failed in my office. I was a pastor on the South Shore, and I remember when a group of us got together and decided to invite Young Life to come into our city and in fact, to start a ministry in New England. And we prayed about it and we called a young man who was gifted. He understood the Bible. He was articulate. He was winsome. And we thought this is the beginning of a major, major work. When Young Life started, by the way, in Texas, the founder of Young Life found a young man to start it with. And the founder of Young Life put his hands on the young man’s head and said, Lord, bless this young man, he’s not much, but we could have done worse, use him. Well, we didn’t feel that way. When we called the young man who came to New England. We thought we had hit paydirt. And this guy was going to be this spark for a revival among young people in New England. You know what happened? It died. That’s what happened. It failed. It didn’t just fail a little bit. It failed in a major way. And so, when I said Young Life began in my study and ended in my study, that’s true. But the resurrection started in my study too. When we talked about it, we said, you know, you can’t do this kind of work by yourself. We called one man to stand in the gap with teenagers. And one man, and one woman can’t do this work. You’ve got to have a bunch. It’s the reason that when God calls one, he calls a bunch because you can’t do it by yourself. And so, the next time we began Young Life, we called a bunch. And that ministry prospered and made a difference. That’s the same thing that happened in Corinth with the apostle Paul. It took a crowd to make it happen. It still does, James 5:16.
Confess your sins to one another.
Why? So, we might have a little on each other, so we might have some gossip stuff to use? No, because God knew that we needed to be accepted and loved and forgiven by our brothers and sisters in Christ. I remember Joe Clemente. I wonder what happened to him? That was years ago. When you’re an old man, memories come to you like this. I went to Boston to go to seminary. That lasted about six weeks and I quit. It was a graduate school at Boston University, school of theology. And, I just couldn’t do everything that I was supposed to do. I was getting up at three o’clock in the morning and doing a morning show at a station in downtown Boston. Then I was going back and studying the rest of the morning and going to classes and staying up to til one, getting up the next morning at three to do the morning show and finally, I was young, so I did it for a good while. I just couldn’t do it anymore, so I quit. Quit seminary. But there was one man who was on the staff of that radio station, and it was the call letters WORL. And he was Joe Clemente, his father owned a bar in Boston and Joe was a Christian and a strong one, and he knew when I first came there to take over the morning show that I was going to a seminary. And he asked me, he said, you a Christian? I said, I’m a Methodist. And he said, I didn’t ask that. And then we became friends and we walked together. And I grew because of Joe. And when I think back on those days and how easy I could have lost it, I think of Joe. I think of the way we stood together and prayed together and loved Jesus together. And that made a difference to both of us. So, you can’t do it by yourself. If you don’t have somebody else, go find somebody. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. And that concludes another great week of teaching from Acts. Remember, if you missed any episodes, you could stream them anytime you want for free at Keylife.org. Steve will return tomorrow, along with our friend Pete Alwinson for Friday Q&A. On tap for tomorrow, a pretty heavy question that a lot of folks contend with. How do I deal with an abusive family member? Don’t miss that. Well, believe it or not, Christmas is just around the corner and we’re so excited to bring you a special free gift from Key Life. It’s a free booklet called Christmas Meditations. It’s a newly reprinted collection of Steve’s writings on the real meaning of Christmas, the incarnation of God in Christ. The booklet also includes Scriptures and devotional questions to help you focus and reflect on the impact of Christ coming. Get yours now by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that booklet. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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