Paul's Vision At Corinth
Acts 18:9-11
Then spoke the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not your peace:…

It is clear from this that even he who was not a whit behind the chief of the apostles sometimes needed special comfort. But the Lord took care to visit His servant when he was in trouble. He came to him in the visions of the night. We do not expect to see Christ in visions now, for "we have a more sure word of prophecy" — the Word of God. A dream might be only a dream, even in those olden times, but this Word of the Lord is no delusion. The Lord did but appear to Paul during one night, for visions are short and few; but any night you like to wake and open the Scriptures, you shall hear Jesus speaking to you. Besides, visions and such like things belong to the infancy of the Church: now she needs not that the Invisible should be supplemented by signs and wonders. If you plant a tree in an orchard, it is very common to put a big stake by the side of it to keep it up. Nobody thinks of putting a post to support an apple tree which has been there for the last fifty years. The Church of God today is a tree that needs no support of miracle and vision. You have the Word of God, which is better than visions. Note here —

I. THE TENDENCY OF OUR WEAKNESS. That tendency is revealed in the first word — "Be not afraid." We feel when we newly find Christ that we must speak for Jesus, and we do sol but after awhile a foolish fear freezes many a tongue. Happily we are delivered from open persecution; but there are other things which evidently frighten a good many.

1. Some are afraid to speak for Jesus because of the defects of their education. We should endeavour to do our Lord's work in the best possible manner, but if we cannot overcome early disadvantages we ought not therefore to hold back. Was not Moses slow of utterance? Was he silent? Did not Isaiah own that his lips were unfit to deliver the message? Was he therefore idle?

2. Others are fearful because they have not educated people to listen to them, but are surrounded by a rough lot, whose manners and habits distress them. Oh, be content to take a little of the rough with the smooth for your Master's sake. Sometimes their aversion may only be a secondary means of enabling the gospel to get at them the better; and, if it be so, why should we be afraid?

3. There are those who tremble at the slightest degree of publicity. I would not harshly condemn all, for certain minds are timid, and must be allowed to do good by stealth. But some are blameably deficient in courage. The soldier who was so very modest that he retired before the battle was shot. What a shameful thing to be bold about everything else yet cowardly about Christ.

4. Still I hear you say, "I am afraid to speak out for religion because I should bring down upon myself a world of opposition at home." That is painful, but it is part of the cost which you reckoned upon when you took up the cross to follow Jesus — that "a man's foes shall be they of his own household."

II. THE CALLING OF OUR FAITH. "Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace." It is the vocation of faith to be a speaker. When the heart believeth the mouth makes confession. Faith made Noah a preacher, and caused it to be said of Abel, "he being dead yet speaketh." "I believed," said David, "therefore have I spoken." A dumb faith is a questionable grace. Faith first speaks to Christ, then for Christ. It hears His voice, and then acts as an echo by repeating it. Those that believe in Christ ought to speak for Him, because —

1. We are debtors; we are put in trust with the gospel for other people; let us not be false to our trusteeship. Let us take care that the light be not hid under a bushel, and that the talent be not wrapped in a napkin. We have the bread of life in our houses; let it not be hoarded. Who can tell what we owe to Christ? He seems to say, "Pay it back to My brethren."

2. We were saved by the testimony of other people. I owe a great deal of my being brought to Christ to my parents; and as a parent I am to repay that obligation by teaching my own children. I owe very much to a very excellent teacher. I did try to pay back my teacher by teaching others. I owed still more to such men as Baxter and Bunyan, who left their books for me to read. I have tried to write earnest books to repay that loan. Most of all I owe my decision, under God, to a man I never knew, who preached Christ crucified to me; and I would be always preaching Christ crucified to others, as the best way of making some sort of return.

3. How are we to expect the gospel to be kept alive in this world if we do not hand it on to the next generation as the former handed it down to us? It is from one lip to another that the Word of God is passed, with a kind of living flame which books are not likely to communicate. Common humanity calls upon every Christian to seek the salvation of others. They are perishing! If we love God, we must love our brother also.


1. God's presence — "I am with thee." When a man speaks for God, God speaks in him. We never go a warfare for God at our own charges. If God be with thee, who can be against thee? Does He not say, "My grace is sufficient for thee"?

2. God's protection — "No man shall set on thee to hurt thee." The Jews dragged Paul before the judgment seat of Gallio, and Paul must have been amazed when he saw the persecutors themselves beaten. When men meddle with one of God's lights they will sooner or later burn their own fingers.

3. God's predestination — "I have much people in this city;" i.e., many who belonged to Christ, though they were as yet heathens. I learn from this that the doctrine of God's predestination is no check to labour. "If there are so many that will be saved," says one, "then why do you preach?" That is why we do preach. If there are so many fish to be taken in the net, I will go and catch some of them.

4. The certainty of success. That is why the Lord said to Paul, "I have much people in this city."

5. The sufficiency of old means and methods. Our Lord did not say, "Paul, be not afraid, but deliver a Sunday afternoon lecture with a nonsensical title and little or no gospel in it." God's way of saving souls is the best way, after all.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace:

WEB: The Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, "Don't be afraid, but speak and don't be silent;

Paul's Vision
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