“One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you…I have many people in this city” (Acts 18:9-10).
As seen in our last visit, with the encouragement of faithful friends and supporters, as well as teammates, Paul ministered for an extended period of time in Corinth. When God gave Paul a vision of his promised presence and protection “Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God” (Acts 18:11).
There was ongoing persecution of the Christians but God blessed the ministry so that “many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.” For the first time, after his significant ministry in his sending church in Antioch, Paul stayed for an extended period of time in a particular city. This gave him a chance to build a larger church and train them more thoroughly.
He later spoke of them as being “enriched in every way – in all your speaking and in all your knowledge – because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed” (1st Corinthians 1:5-7).
John Pollock, in his book, The Apostle, wrote, “Paul had seen a Christian church grow and flourish in the essentially rural areas of southern Galatia and the moderately sized cities he had found in Macedonia. If the love of Christ Jesus could take root in Corinth, the most populated, wealthy, commercial-minded and sex-obsessed city of eastern Europe, it must prove powerful anywhere.” It seems a new strategy was beginning to develop in Paul’s mind and heart. A strong church in a large city could be used of God to reach a whole region surrounding the city. More on this in our next visit.
Faithfulness in tough places prepares and encourages you for facing new opportunities.