February 25, 2024
“A Great Family”
John W. Montgomery, DD
Acts 18: 24-28 – “Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately. 27 When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers and sisters encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. When he arrived, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. 28 For he vigorously refuted his Jewish opponents in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah”.
It takes more than great programs to build a great church. It takes more than sacrificial service to build a great church. It takes more than money, more than a super staff, more than talented teachers, and more than dedicated deacons/leaders to build a great church.
What makes a great church is great people, great families, and great homes.
We can build a great church right here by building people, building families, and building great homes…if we do that, then together we will build a great church for the glory of God.
We have a fine example of building a great church by building great families in our text in the form of a husband-and-wife team. Their names are Aquila and Priscilla.
Aquila and Priscilla are a biblical couple mentioned in the New Testament who were faithful followers of Jesus and played a significant role in the early church. They were
not only faithful to God and knowledgeable in the teachings of Jesus, but they were also hardworking tentmakers who supported themselves and their ministry.
Aquila and Priscilla's first encounter with Paul is recorded in Acts 18:2-3. They met in Corinth, another city where Paul faced opposition from Jews. Aquila and Priscilla had already converted to Christianity and opened their home to Paul, providing him with a place to stay and work while he preached and taught in the city. This partnership between Aquila, Priscilla, and Paul would continue to grow as they traveled and ministered together.
The significance of Aquila and Priscilla's role in the early church cannot be overstated. They were not only generous in opening their home and providing for Paul, but they were also active in teaching and mentoring others in their knowledge of God. They used their skills and resources to further the kingdom of God and helped establish churches in different cities.
God intended for the Christian life to be a family affair. The Bible is filled with examples of entire families loving and serving God together.
A couple of examples, from the New Testament, would be the Philippian Jailer in Acts 16. We know that immediately following the jailer’s salvation experience his entire household experienced a life-changing transformation, as each surrendered to the Lord.
Timothy, Paul’s “preacher boy” was raised by a Godly mother, who was, herself, raised by a Godly mother.
We know this because we have the testimony of Scripture to prove it. 2 Timothy 1:5 says, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” Three generations loving and serving God.
When we look at our text we see a married couple, worshipping and serving God together.
I want to show you 3 things that make a family great and will lead to a great church:
1. Great Families are Saved Families vss. 1-3
“After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, 3 and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them.”
Looking back, we find that Aquila and Priscilla had been living in Rome, Italy. The name Priscilla is a Roman name, and secular history tells us she was from a family of nobility living in Rome.
Aquila is a Jewish name. So what we have is a young Roman girl marrying a young Jewish boy, which was not acceptable in those days, so Priscilla had to make a choice because there was a tidal wave of hatred and prejudice against the Jews sweeping through Rome. The Emperor Claudius had just issued an edict expelling all Jews from Rome. Priscilla had to choose between her homeland and her husband.
Most of us know how hard it is to have to pick up and move, especially when it’s moving away from the place where you have lived all your life. But this couple didn’t choose to move, Aquila and Priscilla were being forced to leave!
The 21st Century family is also under incredible pressure. Stress and tension are a huge part of the home today with the pressures of work, time, and the financial struggles that we choose to live under.
And when children enter the picture the stress goes up and that stress level rises more and more the older they get. If you have a child or grandchild who is a freshman in high school, here are some things to expect by the time they graduate—
. Two-thirds of their class will have used drugs.
. One in five will be an alcoholic.
. Two in five will have consumed 5 or more drinks at 1 sitting.
. Twenty percent will use tobacco, in one form or another, daily.
. Forty-six percent of babies born out of wedlock will be kids their age.
. One-third of all abortions will be performed on girls of high school age.
. One-half will be sexually active.
.The second leading cause of death of students by graduation will be suicide.
We need revival, a revival in our homes. We need a spiritual awakening in our families that starts with moms and dads getting serious about serving God!
We need families with a healthy fear of Satan’s rampage and a heartfelt desire to draw 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 because God was working out their problems behind the scenes, not only for their good but for His glory!
God is in the process of bringing something awesome into their lives. At the same time they were being kicked out of Rome, traveling east toward Corinth, the Apostle Paul was leaving Athens and traveling west to the same place. God was setting things up for them to meet face to face and when they did it was a life-changing experience for Aquila and Priscilla.
Watch how God works. According to verse 3 Paul was a tentmaker, which was the very same occupation as Aquila and Priscilla. So Paul joined on with Aquila and Priscilla and as they worked together, not only in their tentmaking business, but also in spreading the Gospel.
What do you think Paul, Aquila, and Priscilla talked about as they made their tents? I can promise they weren’t speaking about the Super Bowl. If the church could get as excited about reaching lost people as we do about sports, we would be unstoppable!
The Apostle Paul would have talked about Jesus Christ, sharing the wonderful story of Jesus’ birth, His life and ministry. Paul would have told them of His death and how He rose from the grave on the third day, just like He said He would!
I can see this couple absolutely awestruck at hearing the greatest story ever told and somewhere in their conversation these two were gloriously saved! When we get right with God and follow His will He will set our paths to cross with others who need Him. He will do it at just the right time and in just the right way.
Aquila and Priscilla began the journey toward becoming a great family by first becoming a saved family.
The second thing that makes a great family is:
2. Great Families are Serving Families, Romans 16:3-4
“Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4 who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.”
Everything else we read about this couple from then on is about them serving God together. What was happening to this couple is the same thing that should be happening to each and every one of us after we accept Christ, regardless of our occupation.
Every believer’s main business should be God’s business! We should be about worshipping and serving Him, teaching, and helping others, winning souls, and seeing people get saved! I know several Christian men and women who own or run businesses, but their main business is God’s business.
In 1858, a man named Edward Kimball was a businessman in Boston. He was also a Sunday school teacher of older teen boys. There was a young man named Dwight in his class.
One Saturday he decided to visit each boy in the class to see if they were saved and when he visited Dwight at the store where he was working. During that visit, Dwight was saved. By 1879 Dwight was an evangelist preaching in crusades all over. There was a man at one crusade named Frederick who was pastoring a small church that was not doing too much, but after hearing Dwight Meyer the Evangelist, the Holy Spirit lit a fire
under him and he became a world-renowned preacher. His travels brought him to America, and preaching on a college campus a student walked the aisle and got saved one day. This young man’s name was Wilbur Chapman, and after he got saved, he went into the ministry. He hired a guy named Billy Sunday to help him. Billy Sunday preached a crusade in Charlotte, NC that was so successful that the local businessmen’s association decided to have another big crusade.
Billy Sunday couldn’t do it, so they called a preacher named Mordecai Hamm. At the crusade, a young man came forward and got saved he was another Billy. His last name was Graham! Millions have been saved under his ministry, and millions more through men like Mordecai Hamm, and Billy Sunday. Men like J. Wilbur Chapman, and Frederick B. Meyer, and Dwight L. Moody were all making God’s business the main business.
Way back in 1858, God began a work that would eventually reach a young man named Billy Graham, just so He could reach millions through Billy Graham. All this happened because one businessman named Ed Kimball decided that his main business was God’s business!
A heritage was passed down from each of these to their families, and to all they reached and just think how those saved at Billy Graham’s rallies are now witnessing and preaching and reaching many others.
I’m so thankful that Aquila and Priscilla understood that even though they were tentmakers by trade, their main business was serving God!
Great families are saved families. Great families are serving families.
3. Great Families are Sanctified Families, Colossians 1:10
The word sanctified means “set apart”…separated from the world. A sanctified family looks, sounds, and acts differently from the world. People expect their pastor and his wife to be sanctified but not so much themselves.
Each of us is to walk worthy of our calling! The Apostle Paul wrote in Colossians 1:10 - “that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing [Him], being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;”
Did you know it was the 3rd Century AD before the church ever had such a thing as a building? The church is a body of believers, and for more than 200 years the church met in the homes of people like Aquila and Priscilla.
The church didn’t have any of the things that we need today in order to have a church. They didn’t have a building or padded seats, a Public Address system, projectors, or screens. There was no air conditioning, advertising, literature, or websites, yet they did so much with so little and the 21st-century church seems to do so little with so much!
This couple had a great home, and it led to a great church. Let me ask you something. How about the church that is called your home? Our highest calling as believers is our own children, our own marriage, and our own home.
My prayer for everyone here is that you have a saved family, a serving family, and a sanctified family. A family set apart for the Master’s use!
Message Preached at
Cedar Creek Baptist Church
Jacksonville, Florida 32205
February 25, 2024
Sermon Notes is a Ministry of the Cedar Creek Baptist Church,
1372 Lane Avenue South, Jacksonville, Florida 32205 –
Live Stream our Worship – YouTube@CedarCreekBaptistChurch
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