Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode 46 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Acts 18 today and our focus is on overcoming timidity and tentmaking. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in British Columbia, Canada, France, Monterey/Salinas (2!), Chattanooga, Tn, Anchorage, Alaska and San Diego, California. Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast Don’t forget about our new web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more – Click here for our reading plan!
Let’s open with an insightful comment from WWH on our Youtube page about the Paul and Barnabas dispute pod:
While the argument itself was not so great, the net effect was to double the number of missionary teams planting churches in Asia Minor and Greece. Romans 8:28 …It has only just occurred to me that Paul and Silas obtained their vindication because they were Roman citizens. Barnabus, on the other hand, was not a Roman citizen, so far as we know. Perhaps this is a further good that God brought out of the disagreement between Paul and Barnabas in Acts 15.
Very true – All things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose – what an encouraging truth – even
So today, we encounter a term you may have heard before – tentmaker. As it turns out, Paul was a tentmaker, and so were Priscilla and Aquila, two early church leaders:
2 where he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul came to them, 3 and since they were of the same occupation, tentmakers by trade, he stayed with them and worked. Acts 18:2-3
What is a tentmaker – exactly what it sounds like! Somebody who sewed, made and repaired tents in a very literal sense. Paul often supported his ministry of church planting and gospel sharing by the honest work of his hands. Today the word ‘tentmaking’ refers more often to that practice – working some other job in order to do ministry. There are many, many Christian tentmakers out there. Most of the time they aren’t actually making tents, but doing things like painting, moving furniture, pressure-washing, computer repair, website design, private detective work, job coaching, teaching, etc. By the way, I’ve done all of those jobs just mentioned, because a large part of my early ministry life was spent tentmaking, though I wouldn’t know the first thing about making or repairing an actual, literal tent.
Of greater import, let’s read our chapter, and then talk about how we can overcome fear and timidity.
By the time Paul got to Corinth, he had seen it all, and been a victim of nearly innumerable persecutions, attacks and criticisms. I’m sure it was frustrating and disheartening at times, but Paul persevered and saw a great result in his teaching as he kept going forward. We see this clearly in vs. 5:
5 When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself to preaching the word and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Messiah.
Paul was devoted to teaching and preaching and testifying about Jesus – that He was raised from the dead, the promised Messiah, and the savior of all men.
In Corinth, Paul encountered difficult opposition, but God Himself encouraged him:
9 The Lord said to Paul in a night vision, “Don’t be afraid, but keep on speaking and don’t be silent.10 For I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to hurt you, because I have many people in this city.”11 He stayed there a year and a half, teaching the word of God among them. Acts 18:9-10
Notice that first line: I’m not saying that Paul was afraid, but I will point out that I am often afraid of various things. Rarely afraid of public speaking, but I am sad to say I experience fear in other areas – some of those areas quite silly. I’ll bet if you’re honest with yourself, you have a similar experience. Thus, “Don’t be afraid,” is one of the most often repeated commands of the Bible. Too often we humans are afraid of all the wrong things, rather than walking in the fear of the Lord – the one fear we really should entertain. But God encouraged Paul directly, and Paul was enabled to keep going in Corinth – preaching and proclaiming the Word of God in an incredibly fruitful way.
Let me close with a stinging, but true and needed exhortation from brother Spurgeon to push us all towards boldness in speaking of Jesus:
And, first, brethren, notice briefly THE TENDENCY OF OUR WEAKNESS.
That tendency is revealed in the first word—“Be not afraid.” We feel when we newly find Christ, that we must speak for Jesus, and we do so; but after awhile a foolish fear freezes many a tongue, and keeps many a lip silent that ought to be telling out the wondrous story of redeeming love. We get to be afraid. We are not nowadays afraid, as the first Christians might have been, of the amphitheatre and the lions, or of Nero and his sword. Happily we are delivered from almost all open persecution; but there are other things which evidently frighten a good many… A Christian ought to be afraid to be afraid, for his Lord has said, “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” “Oh, but I am naturally timid,” says one. It is to you, then, that the Lord’s word is addressed: “Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not.” I have heard, and I think I have observed, that the bravest men in the hour of danger are timid in the prospect of it…
“The brave man is not he who feels no fear,
For that were stupid and irrational;
But he whose noble soul its fear subdues,
And bravely dares the danger nature shrinks from.”
Up, then, ye tremblers, and play the man. In the matter of speaking for Jesus this should not be a severe ordeal. Oh, do not, I pray you, let timidity so check you that you cannot speak a word to your own children—cannot pray with your own girl, cannot plead as a father with your own boy, cannot speak as a neighbour or a fellow-workman to the man who works side by side with you at the bench. May God help you to get out of the cold shade of cowardice, for the text says, “Be not afraid.”
C. H. Spurgeon, “Cheer for the Worker, and Hope for London,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 26 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1880), 615.
End of the Show: Bible memory verse for FEBRUARY: Acts 9:31 So the church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.
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