Acts 18: 9-11 "Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city. And he continued a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them."
BE NOT AFRAID, BUT SPEAK,
The Lord speaks words of comfort to Paul, His minister, but what reason would Paul have to be afraid to speak? The reason is because men hate the God who declares that salvation is by His grace through Christ Jesus as revealed by the Holy Spirit and not by the keeping of the law.
In our time, the law of the land prohibits men from harming the true messengers of God. Nevertheless the hatred of the one true God set forth in the message of free grace is still present today. Imagine what Paul must have felt, knowing that in his day there was no freedom of religion furthermore that it was common practice to imprison, to beat, even to put to death those faithful servants of God who proclaimed righteousness to be by Christ Jesus alone.
AND HOLD NOT THY PEACE
FOR I AM WITH THEE,
What is Paul's peace? Paul's peace is the same peace possessed by all the called of God, namely that Christ Jesus earned a righteousness by a sinless, God-holy life, and that same righteousness is imputed to Paul, taking the place of his depravity before a thrice holy God. Paul's peace is that Christ died and bore the wrath of the justice of God on his behalf at Calvary. Paul's peace is that he has a High Priest seated at the right hand of God and in Him, God Almighty is as well-pleased with Paul as He is with His own Son. Paul's peace is Christ. The Lord is telling Paul not to keep Christ to himself but to declare Christ to all.
I AM WITH THEE is a blessed assurance to the apostle Paul and to all believers. The Lord must be with a man for that man to teach the truth of the one true God. If Christ is not in the messenger then there will be no Christ in the message. How can we know Christ except He be formed in us?
AND NO MAN SHALL SET
ON THEE TO HURT THEE
If Paul is to find any comfort, when compassed about by so great an enemy, then that comfort must come by the same God wherein Paul has found peace from the dominion of sin and death. The Lord of glory comforts Paul, assuring him that no harm shall come. If God be for us who can be against us?
FOR I HAVE MUCH PEOPLE
IN THIS CITY
God spared not His only begotten Son but delivered Him to live a life that His chosen could never live. According to justice, which His Holy name demanded, He rained His wrath upon Christ the Substitute instead of on those He chose from eternity. Knowing what He has done for us, is it any wonder that God is able to provide every means possible to cause each and every one of His redeemed vessels to hear the truth of His Righteousness in the face of Christ Jesus the Lord? God commands Paul to be not afraid, to speak and to hold nothing back concerning Christ. And the reason God commanded Paul thusly is because God had people in that city and they would, most surely, know the God of their salvation.
AND HE CONTINUED A YEAR
AND SIX MONTHS
Paul was not afraid.
Paul held not his peace because the Lord was with Him.
No man set on him to harm him.
All those that God had in that city heard Paul's teaching and were brought to Christ by the quickening power of the Holy Spirit.
And it took exactly a year and six months.
After going throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, Paul desired to go into Asia and preach but scripture says he was "forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word to Asia." Later Paul sees a vision in the night of a man of Macedonia praying for Paul to come and help. Scripture says Paul immediately endeavored to go into Macedonia, "assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them." Acts 16: 6-10. It was no more by accident that Paul's teaching ended after a year and six months than it was an accident that he taught there in the first place. Whether a year and six months seems like a long time or a short time to you, rest assured, the "much people" that the Lord told Paul that He had in that city were translated into Christ within that time frame. The Lord Jesus of scripture is named thus, "For He shall save His people."
TEACHING THE WORD OF
GOD AMONG THEM
Teachers of God who have the Lord with them use plain language teaching only Christ and Him crucified based only on what the word of God says concerning Himself. They compare scripture to scripture, striping man of his self-righteousness, and they give all the glory in all things only to the triune God. They do not take it upon themselves to save anyone they simply teach the truth with full assurance that by the preaching of the gospel God will call out His sheep.
Paul did not know the names nor the faces of "the much people" that God sent him to teach and yet Paul taught the word of God AMONG THEM. Just as God sent Paul to teach the word, God sent "the much people" to hear the word. Anytime there is a true messenger of God within a city, teaching the word of God as it is set forth by God in scripture, it is because God has a people in that city and they will, without a doubt, hear of Him.
We deal with a faithful, sovereign God who speaks with authority to comfort His teachers and to bring His people to Himself. Let us be thankful for these teachers for the Lord has given them for our good and His glory.