Friday, November 27, 2015

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday November 29, 2015

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(Working for the LORD is a way of life for those who believe)
(Acts 18)

   Throughout the Book of Acts, Luke introduces us to many characters that were instrumental in the development and establishment of the early Church. Here in Acts 18 we are introduced to two more of those wonderful workers who helped shape the Christian Church movement in its infancy during the first century. They became two of the Apostle Paul’s closest friends, and their names were Priscilla and Aguila. They were the husband and wife team who quite literally birthed in the “House Church” concept of early Christianity.
    Now we all know that Paul was a Rabbi, but what many don’t know is, that, in addition to being a Rabbi, Paul was also a tentmaker, and this is something that he had in common with his friends, Priscilla and Aquila. They met while Paul visited Corinth during his second missionary journey, and he lived and worked with the couple during his stay there. And so the three of them, each, being missionaries for CHRIST was just another of their common threads.   
    But perhaps, we will not find a more fascinating couple in all of Scripture, than Priscilla and Aquila. They were a very bold and defiant pair who stood against the antichrist elements that often reared its ugly head throughout the Roman Empire in the first century, mostly in the person of the Emperor Claudius, or later, the Emperor Nero.
    Most Christian Church services in those days, both teaching and worship, were held in private homes, because, at the time, no purely Christian Church temples could be openly constructed. At that time, it was very dangerous to be a follower of CHRIST, or, an “Adherent of the Way”, as they were called then, and Christian worshipers would have to meet in secret locations to preserve their own lives, and to continue to teach the Word to willing listeners.
    Priscilla and Aquila were also a curiously nomadic pair, as they were found wandering and moving from place to place throughout the Roman Empire. In the Book of Acts, we first find them in Rome (Acts 18:2), where they were ejected by the Emperor Claudius, as he sought to expel all Jews from Italy, in and around A.D. 52. Then, we find them in Corinth, where they first met Paul, and had him as a house quest, during his second missionary journey (Acts 18:1-3).
    Next, we see them in Ephesus (Acts 18:24-28), where they had traveled with Paul from Corinth. There, we find them instructing a Jewish scholar named Apollos, in the ways of GOD more accurately, educating him about the impact of CHRIST JESUS on humanity. Apollos, who was already well versed about CHRIST and baptism with water, needed to be informed about baptism with the HOLY SPIRIT.
    In Romans 16:3-5, Paul sends greetings to this intriguing couple who had made their way back to Rome, and had opened up, yet another House Church in their home there. Also, in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, written a couple of years earlier, he informed us that they were back in Corinth, where they were operating, still another House Church, from their home (1 Corinthians 16:19). And then finally, in Paul’s second letter to Timothy, his last known written communication, he tells us that Priscilla and Aquila have set up house, once again, in the large port city of Ephesus (2 Timothy 4:19).
    However, it doesn’t really seem to matter, where, we find this intriguing couple, whenever, and wherever we do run across them, we always seem to find their home to be a place of Christian fellowship and service. Every home, in essence, should be a Christian Church, a place where, perhaps, JESUS could come any time to stay for a while. And for Priscilla and Aquila, wherever we find them, their home always seemed to radiate Christian friendship, fellowship, and love.
    Oftentimes we humanly look at home as being a place where we go to shut the world out. However, we need to always remember that, equally, our homes should be a place with an open door (Romans 12:13 & 1 Peter 4:9). We should always keep in mind that, an open door, along with an open heart, and an open hand, are three of the key characteristics in the Christian Faith.
    And so, we can see that, despite Priscilla and Aquila having appeared to always have lived a nomadic life, for them, working for the LORD in this manner, was a way of life. “Upon this rock (concept), I will build MY Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”. That is what JESUS said to Peter in Matthew 16:18 (KJV).
    And, even though, we, as Christians, may never organize our churches in the same way, nor, may never worship GOD in the same way, and we in fact, may never even believe in precisely the same things about Christianity. However, “Christian unity”, can and will, transcend all these differences, and bring GOD’s people together in fellowship and love.
    It is the kind of unity that JESUS prayed about in John 17, and, the kind of unity that Paul wrote about, to the Churches in all of his doctrinal letters. It is a unity, not born, of bricks and mortar, but rather, it is a unity of personal relationships, not unlike the one we’ve already seen between the FATHER and the SON, as an example to us, for all times.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website


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