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                   "CONVERSIONS IN THE BOOK OF ACTS"

                       The Corinthians (18:1-11)


1. Following his limited success at Athens, Paul went to nearby 
   a. An economic center of Greece, known for its immorality
   b. It became an important focus of Paul's ministry
      1) Where he stayed a year and a half on his second missionary 
      2) Where he visited once and possibly twice on his third journey
   c. A well-known church was established, the recipient of at least 
      two epistles by Paul

2. The establishment of the church is described in Ac 18:1-11 in which
   we read of...
   a. Paul's work in the local synagogue
   b. The conversion of many Corinthians, including the ruler of the 

3. We also read something about their conversion in 1Co 1:14-17...
   a. Where Paul expresses thanks for personally baptizing just a few 
      of the Corinthians
   b. In which some have concluded that Paul was declaring the 
      non-essentiality of baptism

4. In this study we shall examine the conversion of "The
   a. Once again, to glean what we can about the gospel's message and
   b. To determine whether Paul was actually demeaning the importance 
      of baptism in his epistle to the Corinthians

[Turning to Ac 18:1-11, let's review Luke's account of...]


      1. He meets up with Aquila and Priscilla - Ac 18:1-2
      2. Of the same trade (tentmakers), Paul stays with them - Ac 18:3

      1. He goes to the synagogue, as was his custom - Ac 18:4; cf.
         a. He "reasons" with the people, as he did with...
            1) Those at Thessalonica - cf. Ac 17:2
            2) Those at Athens - Ac 17:17
            3) Those at Ephesus - Ac 18:19; 19:8-9
            4) Felix the governor - Ac 24:25
            5) Festus and Agrippa - Ac 26:25
            -- The gospel is designed to appeal to the mind as well as
               the heart! - cf. Mt 22:37
         b. He "persuades" both Jews and Greeks...
            1) As he did at Thessalonica - Ac 17:4
            2) As he did at Ephesus - Ac 19:8
            3) As he came close to doing with King Agrippa - Ac 26:28
            -- Again, the gospel appeals to the reasoning processes of
               the mind
      2. When Silas and Timothy arrive, Paul is constrained to preach
         even more - Ac 18:5
         a. He "testified" to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ 
            - cf. Ac 20:21,24; 23:11; 28:23
         b. Such testimony likely involved:
            1) Using the Messianic prophecies of the  Old Testament 
               - Ac 17:2-3
            2) His eyewitness testimony as an apostle - cf. Ac 26:16
      3. Rejection by some of the Jews sends him to the Gentiles 
         - Ac 18:6-7
         a. Just as it did at Antioch of Pisidia - Ac 13:45-46
         b. In Corinth, Paul has only to go next door, to the home of
      4. The gospel bears fruit in Corinth - Ac 18:8
         a. Crispus, ruler of the synagogue, believes with all his 
            household - cf. 1Co 1:14
         b. Many of the Corinthians believe and are baptized
      5. Encouraged by the Lord in a vision, Paul stays for a year and
         a half  - Ac 18:9-11

[With Luke's description, we see a similarity with what we have read 
before.  Upon hearing the gospel, those persuaded both believe and are
baptized (cf. Ac 8:12; 18:8). This is certainly in keeping with the
commission of our Lord (cf. Mk 16:15-16).

But often people will use Paul's comments in 1Co 1:14-17 to say that
baptism has nothing to do with conversion (salvation).  Is that true?
Let's take a close look at...]


      1. The church at Corinth was badly divided - 1Co 1:10-11
      2. People were aligning themselves as followers of different men
         (perhaps based upon who baptized them) - 1Co 1:12-13
      3. Paul illustrates the absurdity of calling themselves after men
         with several rhetorical questions
         a. "Is Christ divided?"
         b. "Was Paul crucified for you?"
         c. "Were you baptized in the name of Paul?"
         -- The implied answer to each question was "NO!"
      5. But notice what else is implied by each question...
         a. Christ is not divided
         b. It was Christ (not some man) who was crucified for you
         c. You were baptized, not in the name of some man, but in the
            name of Christ!
      -- So the context itself implies what we read in Ac 18:8 
         ("...many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were 

      1. "I thank God that I baptized none of you except..."
         - 1Co 1:14
         a. Paul should be understood in light of the context
         b. Since some of the Corinthians were dividing over who may 
            have baptized them, Paul was grateful that he had not 
            PERSONALLY baptized many of them
         c. His reason?
            1) Not because he did not consider baptism important
            2) But as he states himself:  "...lest anyone should say
               that I had baptized in my own name." - 1Co 1:15
         d. The Corinthians had been baptized - cf. Ac 18:8; 1Co 1:13
            1) As a result of Paul's preaching, by the way
            2) But not many by Paul personally, for which he was later
      2. "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the 
         gospel..." - 1Co 1:17
         a. Are we to understand Paul to say that he did not preach 
            1) Clearly he did to Lydia and the Philippian jailor 
               - Ac 16:14-15; 32-33
            2) Clearly he did to the Corinthians - Ac 18:8
            3) He taught baptism as the means by which one puts on 
               Christ - Ga 3:27
            4) He taught baptism as the means by which one dies to sin 
               - Ro 6:1-7
         b. Rather, we are to understand that Paul was emphasizing his
            function as apostle
            1) He was sent to preach the gospel (which includes the 
               command to be baptized - Mk 16:15-16)
            2) It was not his primary function to perform the baptisms
               of those who responded to the gospel!
               a) Though he did in some cases - 1Co 1:14,16
               b) But he was often accompanied by others (e.g., Silas,
                  Timothy, Luke), and they were likely the ones to 
                  handle the physical act of immersing people
            3) In view of what later occurred at Corinth, he is simply
               thankful that his involvement in the act of baptizing
               others was rather limited
         -- Such was the point of Paul's comments, and they should not
            be understood as Paul demeaning the value or place of 
            baptism in the process of conversion!


1. The conversion of "The Corinthians" confirms what we have seen in
   previous examples of conversions in the book of Acts...
   a. The gospel concerning Jesus as the Christ was proclaimed
   b. Those "persuaded" by the gospel message believed and were 
      baptized immediately

2. The conversion of "The Corinthians" also stands out because of the
   impact the gospel had in their lives...
   a. As mentioned, the city of Corinth was known for its immorality
   b. Many of the members of the church had lived immoral lives - cf. 
      1Co 6:9-11a
   c. Yet through their faith and obedience to the gospel of Christ, 
      Paul could write:

   "But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were 
   justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of
   our God." (1Co 6:11)

Such is the power of the gospel of Christ to the obedient believer.  
Have you been "washed", "sanctified", and "justified"?  Let the
conversions in the book of Acts show you how!
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