July 1, 2020

Speaking About Our Living Hope

Acts 18:12–28

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12 But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews1 made a united attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal, 13 saying, “This man is persuading people to worship God contrary to the law.” 14 But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrongdoing or vicious crime, O Jews, I would have reason to accept your complaint. 15 But since it is a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves. I refuse to be a judge of these things.” 16 And he drove them from the tribunal. 17 And they all seized Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal. But Gallio paid no attention to any of this.

Paul Returns to Antioch

18 After this, Paul stayed many days longer and then took leave of the brothers2 and set sail for Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had cut his hair, for he was under a vow. 19 And they came to Ephesus, and he left them there, but he himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to stay for a longer period, he declined. 21 But on taking leave of them he said, “I will return to you if God wills,” and he set sail from Ephesus.

22 When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church, and then went down to Antioch. 23 After spending some time there, he departed and went from one place to the next through the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.

Apollos Speaks Boldly in Ephesus

24 Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit,3 he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. 27 And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, 28 for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.


[1] 18:12 Greek Ioudaioi probably refers here to Jewish religious leaders, and others under their influence, in that time; also verses 14 (twice), 28
[2] 18:18 Or brothers and sisters; also verse 27
[3] 18:25 Or in the Spirit

Speaking About Our Living Hope

Key Verse | Acts 18:26-28

He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. . . . [H]e greatly helped those who through grace had believed, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.

Bio | Garrett Wikle

Hey, y'all! My name is Garrett Wikle. I'm a graduate of Oklahoma State University, the husband of Addi, and an introvert lost in the sea of Dallas' extroversion. I'm blessed to serve on the Watermark's Resources Team whose goal is to bring glory to God by equipping and inspiring churches around the world to be and make disciples. My heart has always been to help make the "Big C" Church healthy, and it is so special to see churches even in my hometown of Stillwater blessed by the Lord through Watermark!

Central Truth

Paul calls Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2-5 to preach the word, to be ready in season and out of season, to do the work of evangelism, and to fulfill his ministry. Let us—like Paul, Timothy, Apollos, and many more before us—faithfully bring the gospel to a broken world!

Devotional | Acts 18:12–28

For the longest time, evangelism scared me. I was conditioned by my sinful flesh and a secular culture to believe that sharing my faith was taboo, inappropriate, and potentially harmful. As Christians, we often forget...

For the longest time, evangelism scared me. I was conditioned by my sinful flesh and a secular culture to believe that sharing my faith was taboo, inappropriate, and potentially harmful. As Christians, we often forget that we carry the words of eternal life and restoration to a desperate world. Though the gospel brings conflict by exposing the world's sin, Paul and his crew were faithful and tactful with their words, showing us three blink-and-you-miss-them ways in which we can follow their lead in bringing the hope of Christ to a world in dire need.

  1. Be Ready. In the midst of being prosecuted, Paul was ready to speak. Acts 18:14 says that before being acquitted, Paul was about to open his mouth and presumably proclaim Jesus (like in Acts 22, 24, and 26). It's reminiscent of 2 Timothy 4:2 and 1 Peter 3:15, where we're called to always be ready to share the living hope of Christ. What a great example!
  2. Be Winsome. After Paul leaves his accusers, he makes his way to a synagogue in Ephesus as he's done many times on many journeys. This time, though, the Jews themselves reason with Paul, and even invite him back in Acts 18:20! Paul's message that the promise of the Messiah is fulfilled in Jesus should offend the Jews, but they still want to hear more. Lord, let our words fall on hearing ears just as Paul's did in Ephesus.
  3. Be Bold. In Acts 18:24, we meet Apollos, one competent in the Scriptures and fervent in spirit. Though he doesn't know everything about Christianity, he is bold, being commended for teaching accurately all that he knew about Christ. Learning more from Priscilla and Aquila, and powerfully refuting the Jews with the Scriptures, Apollos never slowed down (Acts 18:28). Like Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, he spoke powerfully by the Spirit!

So, Journeyers, put aside your fears and anxieties about sharing the hope you have in Jesus, for the same Spirit that was at work in the Acts 18 believers is at work in you today. Be ready, be winsome, and be bold to speak of your Living Hope!

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Discussion Questions

1. When was the last time you had a conversation about Jesus with someone who is far from God?

2. What fears, failures, or doubts hold you back from sharing the hope that you have in Christ with a hurting world?

3. Are you ready to share the gospel today? If not, what is holding you back? If it's a matter of feeling like you don't know enough, maybe checking out the Equipped Disciple class here at Watermark could be a great next step.

4. What person in your life have you delayed or tarried in sharing the gospel with? What can you do today to pursue that person?

7 Comments available

Linda Green 7 months ago
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Thank you, Garrett- was so involved in the story, I missed your point about the winsome way Paul presented the gospel- and got invited back! Winsome- to win some… Because of some of the hard teachings Paul gave to believers, I was encouraged by culture see him as mean and negative. But in Acts 20:36-38, the Ephesian leaders wept as he left them. That changed my picture of Paul. These verses further flesh out the picture of a man that loved the Lord and loved people.

And Hope Harris, though I have never met you, your bold and loving words in JTJ have encouraged me to pray for my LGBTQ neighbors and those I see elsewhere to know Jesus. The Holy Spirit is expanding my prayers to pray for all to know true freedom through our wonderful Savior. And for loving boldness.

Greg Jones 7 months ago

There is a lot parallel between Paul’s missionary journeys and and the story of Constantine uniting eastern and western Rome.

Maryann Adams 7 months ago

Thank you, Garrett! A very thought-provoking devo. Really appreciated the informative comments, too! My answers: #1 yesterday #2 pride - thinking much of self #3a yes #3b lack of Apollos-like humility #4 extended relative…pray consistently for her, readied to reach out only when Holy Spirit prompts

Michael Scaman 7 months ago

Paul seemed led by God to spend time various places and it wasn’t just staying where there was least opposition and most receptive people.

In Achaia, Paul had lots of opposition and stayed extra long. Sosthenes, means “safe in strength”, the evangelism receptive synagogue leader. “safe in strength” was beaten in front of a judge who didn’t care/not interested Paul stayed there.

In Ephesus, Paul had no opposition was asked to stay longer but didn’t and God raised up Apollos to help, discipled by Priscilla and Aquilla. Paul left.

God was moving around various people as he pleased to do what he pleased.

Hope Harris 7 months ago

Today’s passage reminds me to not take the ability to freely share my story & faith lightly.

Last night I received a notification from a group that offers support and resources to LGBTQ people who are reconciling their faith and sexuality that they are preparing to be shut down on social media; a sister organization was shut down on instagram yesterday.

It’s another step to limit what those who uphold a Biblical worldview of gender, sexuality, and marriage can and cannot say.

The enemy of God and humanity does not want anyone to receive freedom found through a new life in Christ. I am challenged to continue to proclaim “Christ in you the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27

I am praying today for those organizations and churches that uphold a Biblical worldview, that they will stand strong in their convictions and have wisdom for the days ahead

Sue Bohlin 7 months ago

“Be ready, be winsome, be bold.” LOVE IT, Garrett!

I’m with Hugh about Apollos’ humble openness to being corrected, equipped, and empowered. Go Apollos! May we be like you!

I was struck by the phrase “who through grace had believed.” Dead people cannot choose to respond to the words of life apart from God’s grace. At our Mind Games Camp last week, there were two students whose hearts were hard and closed. (We usually get at least one who didn’t really want to be there.) Though we prayed for them to be open, they didn’t experience God’s grace to believe. They heard a lot of truth, but they didn’t respond to it. It was a good (and painful) reminder of how desperately we all need grace to say yes to the Holy Spirit.

Hugh Stephenson 7 months ago

GM Garrett. Many thanks for an awesome devo and a simple structure to proclaim who God is and what He has done for me.

I am thinking and reflecting today on the need for constant equipping; my own and to help equip others. I love the example of Apollos.

I am called to constantly know more of the goodness and kindness of God and to know more of His nature and character so that I can fulfill my call to proclaim Him and serve others.

Apollos gives me a great example of humility and selflessness. He was effective in evangelism even though he had much to learn. When the opportunity for equipping presented itself, he embraced it fully. I love the encouragement mentioned in this passage. I link to “excel still more” in 1 Thessalonians 4:10.

I am thankful that God gives me His Word, His Spirit and His people.

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