Text: Acts 18:1-11 May 17, 2009.
1) This is what Jesus promised: When Jesus sent His disciples to spread the gospel message to the end of the world, He gave them this promise: “I will be with you always.” (Matt. 28:20) As the word “all” means “each one” or “everyone” in English, the 3 words in Greek, pasas tas nemiras, we simply translated “always”, they mean “all the days” or “everyday” or “each day.” He did not just give them a job, a responsibility, He also gave them a promise: He will go with them, be there with them, help them and sustain them each day and every moment of each day.
2) This is what Jesus meant: When Jesus promised to be with them each day and everyday, that included all the various activities, the good and the bad circumstances, the various responsibilities they might have through the course of their days, or life. This includes the sunny days, the cloudy day and the stormy days. No matter what each day might bring, Jesus promised His presence, power, sustenance and comfort. In the same way, He promised to be with us through the course of our life. No matter if it is a day of joy or sadness, success or failure, good health or illness, riches or poor, each day and everyday, He promised to walk with us, fill us with faith, support us with strength and provide us with hope.
WHAT DOES THE PROMISE MEAN:
1) It means Jesus is personal: Jesus treated his disciples very personal. He did not just ask them to do the commission, He promised to go and do it with them. We have a God who takes it personal on things happen in our life. Unlike the gods in other religions who are far away from their believers, our God stays with us each day and all the days of our life.
2) It means Jesus wants success: When Jesus promised to be with the disciples, it means He wanted to make sure that the job He gave them will be accomplished as He wanted it to. This is a very comforting thought. Jesus knew that to do what God wants us to do, it takes more than human ability, human wisdom or human methods. It took the life of Jesus to start the gospel movement and it will take much more than human strength to continue the greatest movement in human history. He will go with them to make sure they will succeed in what they do.
3) It means Jesus cares about them: Through the 33 years He lived in this world, Jesus knew life was full of problems, setbacks, opposition, even betrayal and agony. He wants to stay with us, to go through life with us, to hold us up when we got stricken down, to help us go through any and all difficult situations and provides us with necessary strength to the end. Our God is a caring God who will never leave us or forsake us.
4) It means Jesus will never quit: After He promised to be with us each and every day, He continued to promise that He will be with us all the way through the end of the world: He will never stop, never leave, never quit and never fail. The most scary scenario is when we are in deep trouble, God is no where to be found. But Jesus promises that this will never happen to us.
WHY IS THIS PROMISE IMPORTANT?
1) Because Jesus wants to love: The most assuring way to show a parent’s love to his/her child is his/her promise not to ever leave the child regardless of what had or may happen. This is exactly why Jesus promised his disciples: He may ascent to heaven, but He will be with them every moment of everyday. There may be many ways to show love. But the best way is to be with those you love. He loves us to promise us he will never leave us or forsake us. (John 6:37; Hebrews 13:5)
2) Because Jesus wants to save: This promise was given right after Jesus gave the Great Commission to His disciples to make disciples of the whole world and to teach them His words. He did all these because He wanted to save all the sinners in the whole world. He wants to see all are saved and no one is lost. (2 Peter 3:9) His presence in our life has a bigger purpose: for the good of others, for their salvation and eternal life. Even though if you are not preachers or missionaries, you should use His abiding presence, love and strength to help saving souls because this is God’s purpose of being with us.
3) Because life is never easy: If you are 5 and older, you learn from experience that life is not as easy as you used to think when you were 2 or 3 and the level of difficulty grows every year after that. All of us need someone at one time or another and the best one we need is the Lord Jesus. Only crazy people may believe that they are all able and will never need any one or God. This promise of Jesus gives us such an assuring faith just like a small child has faith in his father.
4) Because it’s a lasting promise: Before Jesus was crucified, He talked to his disciples about his coming departure. He promised to bring them to be with him forever. He said, “I will come back to take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:3) Jesus promised to be with us before He died. He promised to be with us after He died and was resurrected. And He promised Paul after He ascent to heaven. (Acts 18:10) Jesus has never failed in keeping His promises.
JESUS IS WITH YOU: How do we know Jesus is with us? See how He was with Paul in his journey of life. (Acts 18:1-11)
1) Jesus opens new doors: “After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.” (Acts 18:1) Even though Paul articulated the gospel message so well in Athens, he was confronted with sneering and opposition with little success. (17:32) It is in such a situation, Jesus opened a new door in Corinth where Paul stayed for 18 months and had very fruitful ministry. When one door in your life is closed, Jesus will open another one, a better one where you may be more fruitful.
2) Jesus brings new partners: “There he met a Jew named Aquila who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla. Paul went to see them.” (18:2)History proved that this couple became diehard supporters of Paul’s gospel ministry both in finance and teaching of the truth. (18:3, 24-28)
3) Jesus provides a new pulpit: “Every Sabbath Paul reasoned in the synagogue trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.” (18:4) In Athens Paul reasoned the gospel in the meeting hall of the Greek scholars, here in Corinth, Jesus provided a new pulpit, the synagogue of the Jews. This may be applied in your service at the church or career opportunities, new place or position.
4) Jesus blessed your labor: “When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively preaching and testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ.....Crispus, the synagogue ruler and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.” (18:5-8)With Jesus on your side, with His blessing on your work, you can be assured of fruitful results for His glory.
5) Jesus promised courage: “One night, the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: Do not be afraid, keep on preach, do not be silent.” (18:9)One of most fearful weapons Satan always like to use to defeat us is fear. It is very easy to be discouraged when things go wrong, when no visible results is seen, when supporters become traitors and all the walls are crumbling. But in every circumstance, Jesus is always there to give us courage.
6) Jesus promises his protection: “For I am with you and no one is going to attack or harm you.” (18:10)The no one includes Satan. Jesus will not allow Satan or anyone else to attack you or harm you as long as you stay close with Him. Rumors may be many, Situation may seem terrifying and danger may be around, but Jesus promised His presence with you to protect you.
7) Jesus surrounds you with faithful: “Because I have many people in this city.” (18:10b) Jesus will never leave you alone, isolated or abandoned. He will provide human shields of His faithful to surround you, help you, love you, support you to keep you safe.
8) Jesus loves to see you stay: “So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.” (18:11)According to a survey among pastors of the most fruitful ministry in Baptist churches, the shortest of their stay at one church is 22 years. You just can’t have a fruitful ministry if you are moving around every few years. Being a traveling missionary, Paul’s stay in Corinth was the second longest, 18 months. The longest of his stay was in Ephesus, 3 years. Each ministry has its ups and downs. Jesus loves to see our staying power. Continue to stay and be faithful. “Rolling stones gather no moss” is very true.
1) Jesus is with you in the family: This is most important and basic place you need Jesus stay with you. Every family has its own unique situation, joy and challenges. Ask the Lord to stay with you to go through each and every challenge. He is there to advise you, give you wisdom and strength. Do not manage you family and marriage by your own strength. Allow Jesus to help you.
2) Jesus is with you in the church: Feeling helpless, tired or even frustrated is a normal process in serving the Lord in His church. Not all service in church is excited, applauded or happy feeling. But faithfully staying and dedicating will eventually bring results. Allow Jesus to serve with you, to provide you courage and give you wisdom. It is not how you feel that matters. It is how faithful you are that matters. Just stay and you will see results.
3) Jesus is with you in your life: The journey of life is never simple or easy. We all need Jesus to be with us each and every step of the way. Ask Jesus to become the pilot of your life to give you direction and meaning. Confess your sins to Jesus, ask Him to forgive you, and allow Him to hold your hand in every decision you make. He will give you a better life today and eternal life in heaven later.