With a heavy heart, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. From 1 Corinthians 2:23, we see that Paul “came… in weakness with great fear and trembling.” Corinth was a prosperous city with good businesses, yet it was also a place filled with material desires, lusts, and self-pride. God prepared a Jew couple, Aquila and Priscilla, for Paul at a perfect timing. The couple not only became close friends to Paul, but also worked faithfully with Paul. Paul mentioned, in Romans 16:3-4, “Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.”
In Corinth, Paul continued to go to the synagogue and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks that Jesus was the Messiah. Nevertheless, the Jews in Corinth opposed and abused Paul, so he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” Paul did not yield on the truth of Jesus Christ’s resurrection, but he was flexible on the rules of this world. As Christians, we ought to hold fast to the truth of God; we should not forsake the truth due to our environment, the pressure of others’ opinions, or any other reason. However, when it comes to interacting with people or dealing with things, we should be humbler, more flexible, and less calculating than non-believers. We should show people that we are the blessed ones, and it is pleasant to be with us.
When Paul was in a place where the Gospel is hard to spread, like Corinth, he could also be weak and afraid. Hence, the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision, “Do not be afraid, keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” So Paul stayed in the city for one and a half year. In Paul’s missionary journey so far, he stayed for the longest time in Corinth. When we truly meet God, we would be like Paul; we would give up our lives to spread the Gospel of Jesus. God CAN be experienced! God promised that He will never abandon or forsake us, and I have experienced many times how faithful God is to His promises. Therefore, I am willing to place God in my first priority and serve Him with my life. Brothers and sisters, Paul’s God is also your God and my God. It is hard for you to experience God when you are in favorable circumstances. When you are in adversity, it is the greatest opportunity for you to experience the faithfulness and the power of God if you are willing to lay yourself down and let God to take charge.
When Paul’s first missionary journey, there was only Barnabas with him. In his second missionary journey, there were Silas, Luke, and Timothy. In Paul’s third missionary journey, Priscilla and Aquila joined him. We can see that Paul’s missionary team kept getting stronger and stronger, and so it should be for every healthy group. When the group is small, we can serve the members on our own. However, when there are hundreds of people in the group, we need a team to serve the members together. There are over 3000 people joining our meetings every month, and we need an enthusiastic Christian culture to motivate our services. This culture is tightly connect to our vision and our core value－to save one more soul for the Lord. It requires involvement from you, me, and everyone. When this heavenly culture fills the church, transformations will surely take place.