Teaching Series
Wednesday—Culture Makers: The Commoners

Series: Advancing
Message: Culture Makers: The Commoners
Preacher: Japhet De Oliveira
Reflection: Nathan Brown
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Zan Long
Live Purpose: Jessyka Albert
Editor: Becky De Oliveira

Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.

Read: Acts 18:1–17 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions. 

Reflect: At the beginning of Acts, just before His return to heaven, Jesus gave this final instruction to His disciples: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8, NLT). In this way, Jesus set out the pattern that would frame the progress of the church across the narrative arc of Acts. The good news about Jesus was preached first in Jerusalem and then slowly spread in ripples outward from this starting point.

But in Paul’s work in Corinth, we see him using this same pattern as a way of having an impact in this cosmopolitan city. As he worked making tents in the marketplace, he began by meeting in the synagogue every Sabbath (see Acts 18:4), speaking with the people and engaging the culture with which he had the most common ground. When this roused strong opposition, he moved to the house next door and continued having an influence in the synagogue—as evidenced by the conversion of the synagogue leader and his family—but broadening his ministry to include the Gentiles of the city. Like the early church itself, Paul’s ministry began in a small way with familiar people and culture, before spreading its influence like ripples spreading across the city.

This is also a model for our witness—and is a response to the temptation to focus on caring for people who are a long way from us geographically or culturally, while ignoring or downplaying the ministry opportunities we have with those closest to us. Mission begins at home, with the people we can most easily serve and influence, as awkward as that can sometimes be. Our ministry should not end there, but neither should this immediate context be overlooked or dismissed.

In the experience of Paul in Corinth, the support of his people—Aquila and Priscilla, Silas and Timothy, Titus Justus, and Crispus—became the foundation for his missionary work to the wider city. And “many others in Corinth also heard Paul, became believers, and were baptized” (verse 8, NLT).

Recalibrate: If you were to follow this pattern of sharing Jesus, what might it look like in your life?

Respond: Pray for someone close to you that you would like to come to know more of Jesus.

Research: Review the progression of the early church across the book of Acts to date, using the pattern of Acts 1:8—Jerusalem, Samaria, and beyond.

Nathan Brown is a writer and editor at Signs Publishing in Warburton, Victoria, Australia. He has written numerous books; his most recent is Engage: Faith that Matters.

With your child, fill a large glass one third of the way with milk and add some chocolate or strawberry sauce. Using a straw, show how to blow bubbles in the milk until it fills the glass. God's love always gets bigger.

Do you have a big event coming up? An athletics carnival or a friend’s party? What can you do today to be ready? Is there someone else you can help to be ready too?

What is something you can do in your own life, today, that could make a difference? What is the smallest thing you could do? What is the biggest thing you could do? Thank God that the Holy Spirit Jesus promised is not just for
the big moments and tasks, but for the small moments and tasks as well.

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