Acts 18:1-3, 18-19, 24-26
This morning we had fun as a church family. And family should be fun!
Ill.—when our kids were little we would chase them around the house in a big circle, and they thought it was such fun. It was later when we realized that the kids were shorter than our windows so all the neighbors could see was me and my wife!
Let’s define family: Two or more people who are ‘in it together.’
It could be a married couple. There may or may not be kids.
It may be just one adult with kids. But they are a family.
It may be a church. Church is family!
It takes more than great programs to build a great church…we have a great program going on here, but it’s not enough.
It takes more than hard workers and sacrificial servants to build a great church.
It takes more than big offerings…we have been blessed for our size to do as well as we do in tithes-for the local ministry, in missions-for around the world, and in special offerings we receive.
It takes more than a super staff working with the pastor, more than talented teachers, and more than dedicated deacons to build a great church.
It takes more than a great looking Pastor to build a great church…but you could always pray that someday you’ll have one!
It takes great people, great families, and great homes, to really make a great church. We ARE building a church here, but hopefully we are building it by building people, building families, and building our homes…if we do that, then together we will be building a great church as a by-product, and all to the glory of God!
We have a great example of this here in our text in the form of a couple, Aquila and Priscilla. I believe that God intended for the Christian life to be a family affair. The Bible teaches that it’s ideal for entire families to love and serve God together.
Philippian Jailer in Acts 16:31
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
[next few verses say that indeed happened!]
Family of John the Baptist
For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord…and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.
And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:
And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied…
There you have it: father, mother, and son. Now it doesn’t happen automatically…God has no “grandchildren” as it were, only children…but the Bible is clear on the fact that God intends for it to be a family affair.
Paul’s protégé Timothy came from a Godly mother, who was raised by a Godly mother herself. My wife and I were both raised in a Godly heritage, and we want to pass it along to our children. It’s our job to train up children in “the way they SHOULD go.”
And in our text we see a married couple, worshipping and serving God together.
3 ingredients of a great family:
1. It must be a saved family
vv. 1-2 Allow me to reconstruct this story for you…this couple was living in Rome, Italy. The name Priscilla is a Roman name, and secular history tells us she was from a prominent family of nobility living in Rome. Aquila is a Jewish name. So we can see that a young Roman girl has married a young Jewish boy, and that was not acceptable in those days…a huge wave of anti-Semitism had swept that land in those days, and the Romans hated the Jews. The Emperor Claudius had just issued an edict expelling all Jews from Rome.
Aquila and Priscilla were a family under pressure. It’s always hard to have to pick up and move, especially when it’s moving away from the place where you have grown up. But this couple wasn’t choosing to move, they were being forced to leave!
And they are an illustration for the 21st C. family of today…also under incredible pressure from without, and from within. Stress and tension are a huge part of the home today with the pressures of work, time, and finances under which we live.
Stress in a home is like sand in machinery. And a marriage which starts off as a well-oiled machine starts to grind. One thing leads to another and things start to snowball in the wrong direction.
Last argument: I had her on her hands and knees…she was saying “Come out from under that bed and fight like a man!”
And children enter the picture and the stress goes up, and more and more the older they get.
Ill.—here’s an eye-opener for all of us today: if you have a child or grandchild that is 14 today and beginning as a freshman in high school, here’s some things to expect by the time they graduate—
We need a revival in the home…we need a revival of families that starts w/ moms and dads getting serious about serving God—families with a healthy fear of Satan having his way and thus a hearty fervency for drawing close to God and to one another.
I don’t know how anyone can raise a family today without the Lord and without the help of a good church family.
Aquila and Priscilla were a family under pressure, but they were also a family under providence. God was working out their problems behind the scenes…for their good and for His glory! God is in the process of bringing something quite wonderful into their lives.
You see, as they were being kicked out of Rome, and were traveling east toward Corinth, the Apostle Paul was leaving Athens and traveling west to the same place, and when they met face to face, it was the beginning of something wonderful that would last the rest of their lives.
Remember what Paul’s trade was? A tentmaker.
v. 3 I imagine they were working together…and what do people do when they are sitting down working? They talk! And what would Paul have talked about? It wasn’t sports…he would have talked about Jesus Christ. He would have shared the wonderful story of the gospel…of Jesus’ birth, His life and ministry, His death and resurrection, and this couple would have been mesmerized at hearing the sweetest story they had ever heard…sounds for sore ears they were, and I believe they were gloriously saved because of it!
That’s how our God is…if we get right with him and follow His will He will cross our paths with others who need Him…at just the right time…in just the right way.
Ill.—one night a preacher stopped to help man on motorcycle broken down/rejected/drove off/started to rain/went back again/helped him put it in his truck and get it to a shop, put him up for the night, witnessed to him, fed him, led him to the Lord!/his family got saved.
Aquila and Priscilla had a similar experience…not an accident, not coincidence, but providence! They became a great family against all odds.
And to be a great family it must be a saved family…
2. It must be a serving family
Everything else we read about this couple from then on is about them serving God together. Years later Paul writes back to the church at Rome…
Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:  Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.
Back to Acts 18…
v. 18 Do you know what’s happening to this couple? The same thing that ought to happen to each and every one of us after we get saved…regardless of our occupation, our main business ought to be God’s business! Worshipping and serving Him, teaching and helping others, winning souls and seeing people get saved!
Ill.—look at the serving families in this room!
We have some here who own or run businesses…but their main business is God’s business. We have several in some area of service or customer service…but their main business is serving God!
Ill.—1858, Edward Kimball was a businessman in Boston, he was also a s.s. teacher of older teen boys…and in his class was a kid named Dwight/one Saturday he decided to visit each boy in the class to see if they were saved/he visited Dwight at the store where he was working and Dwight got saved/by 1879 Dwight was an evangelist who was going out doing crusades/one of the men at one crusade was named Frederick [Brotherton Meyer] who was pastoring a small church…not doing too much, but hearing Dwight the Evangelist lit a fire under him and he became a world-renown preacher. His travels brought him to America, and preaching on a college campus a student walked the aisle and got saved one day…his name was Wilbur, and he got saved and went into the ministry. He hired a guy named Billy to help him. Billy preached a crusade in Charlotte, NC that was so successful that the local businessman’s assoc. decided to have another big crusade. Billy couldn’t do it, so they hired a preacher named Hamm. At the crusade a young man came forward and got saved…another Billy…know his last name? Graham! Millions have been saved under his ministry, and millions more thru ones like Mordecai Hamm, and the other Billy [who liked baseball] before him [Billy Sunday], and J. Wilbur Chapman, and F. B. Meyer, and Dwight L. Moody…and all because of a businessman named Ed who said, my main business is God’s business!
A heritage is passed down from each of these to their families, and to all those they reach…and just think of how many have been saved at Billy Graham’s rallies, and they are now witnessing and preaching and reaching many others.
Great names like Oliver B. Greene have followed, under which my father in law was saved, and he passed on a Godly heritage to my wife and to others who can tell others…and even “no-names” who aren’t famous, like the preacher who stopped to help the motorcyclist broken down on the highway…by the way, that biker was my dad, & I was in my mother’s womb at the time, and shortly before I was born my dad was born again, and my family has followed and gotten saved, and my destiny was changed, as are the destinies of all those dad has won, and I have won, and all those that they go on to win!
I’m so thankful that Aquila and Priscilla understood that though they were tentmakers by trade, their main business was serving God!
A great family is a saved family...a serving family…
vv. 24-26 The students have become the teachers! They have been discipled and poured into, and now they are multiplying by helping in the sanctification of someone else.
That means “set apart”…separated from the world. This is holiness.
Paul mentions them again at the end of Romans, and look at what they are doing…
Likewise greet the church that is in their house.
Did you know it was the 3rd C. AD before the church ever had such a thing as its own building? The church is a body of believers, and for more than 200 years the church met in homes of people like this couple.
This reminds me of the simplicity of what is “the church.” They didn’t have any of the things that we today think we HAVE to have in order to have church. They didn’t have a building or padded chairs, no PA system or projector and screen, no AC, no advertising, literature, website, etc. They did so much with so little…and we seem to do so little w/ so much! You can feel the spirit move regardless of whether you’re knee deep in carpet or sitting in sawdust in a shanty as did those who founded our church over 200 years ago!
This couple had a great home, and it led to a great church…so how about the church that is YOUR home?! Our highest calling is our own children, our own marriage, our own home.
I hope everyone here can have a saved family, a serving family, a sanctified family…set apart for the Master’s use!
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