“For I Have Much People In This City”


Sermon by Dr. J. Frank Norris, Detroit, Michigan

(Stenographically Reported)

DR. NORRIS: Turn in your Bibles to the Book of Acts of the Apostles, and I shall wait until every boy and girl has time to find it – the 18th chapter of Acts.

“And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles, And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man’s house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue. And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized. 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.”

I want to emphasize this morning briefly, “I have much people in this city.”

I could wish we could eliminate every thought from our minds, forget all that I may say, forget where we are, and concentrate our whole thinking on that one statement that God said to Paul, “I have much people in this city.”

Corinth, as you know was one of the great commercial cities of the ancient world; it was in the heart of the Grecian archipelago. Athens was the center of culture, art, philosophy, and learning, Corinth was the great Commercial center of the whole empire, and was on the narrow neck, a slender peninsular. It was there Paul tarried for a year, and a half and it was to this church he afterwards wrote two of his thirteen epistles, First and Second Corinthians and the greatest chapter in the Bible is found in one of those letters, the 15th chapter of First Corinthians.

There was a great church established there as a result of the revival meeting held by the Apostle Paul:

I want to notice some things leading up to this message God gave to the Apostle Paul.

First: A burdened soul – in the fifth verse, “And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia” – that was in the northern part of the country, now the center of what we call the “Balkins Country” – “Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.” – If we have that care for lost souls we will find a method of testifying to them.

Notice how the two words are inseparably linked together, “pressed” and “testified.” It doesn’t say he testified and was pressed. First, there was a burden of soul; second, there was a witness, he testified.

“I believe,therefore, have I spoken,” is the order of the Scripture. We must believe something before we declare something. The soul of the believer that’s burdened to give his testimony to lost people never sees difficulties; he laughs at the impossible; challenges open seas, crosses burning deserts, throws down the walls of enemy cities, possesses the land.

The testimony of the New Testament always resulted in winning the lost, “Ye shall be witnesses unto me” – For what purpose? – “both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Luke says, “That repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” – Here are the things testified – We have a lot of people testifying how they feel, and a lot of people going around testifying how they have been “baptized by the Holy Ghost” and never walk across the street to win a soul. That’s not the testimony of the New Testament.

“Paul then filled with the Holy Ghost” – Gave testimony to whom? To the lost world concerning a Saviour.

So when we come to the real New Testament method and we talk about being Fundamentalists today the need above everything else is a fundamentalism that has hands and feet, voice, blood, soul, tears, energy, money, time testifying what?

Now the second thought I want to emphasize, and here is where a great many people fall down, they meet with the most stubborn opposition – right now there are worlds of good honest people willing to win a war if they can win it the first day, they don’t mind going to battle to win it the first hour, that would be much better Paul was “pressed in the spirit,” and the next thing we hear is the great preacher, the greatest of all times, filled with the spirit of God in preaching Jesus Christ. You would think that the world would have accepted Jesus Christ but this world is no friend to our Lord, so therefore, the next verse says, “And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed” – What did Paul do? Too often the people of God when they meet opposition quit. But when Paul met with opposition he moved on and challenged the powers of darkness.

The trouble, friends, is the Church of Jesus Christ has lost its power, it has lost its note of challenge, that’s why the outside world has lost confidence in and respect for the Church of Jesus Christ and needs to come back again. The average church doesn’t have enough power to stir up opposition,they are not going out to win souls – whenever you win souls you are going to stir up the blasphemers.


Now the next thought I want to leave with you is that following the blasphemers there were believers, eighth verse: “And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house:” – First, there burden of the Apostle Paul; second, the blasphemers opposition; fourth, they were baptized – “and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.” Baptism follows as the natural order.

First: The burden of a great soul.

Second: Opposition.

Third: Believed.

Fourth: “Were baptized.”

“And many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.”

It was to the church Christ gave the Great Commission; to the church was given the ordinance of baptism, an the church was given the Lord’s Supper.

It was “On this rock I will build my church,” not some invisible ethereal something we can’t understand. No, they were living people. We come into the church through the door of baptism; the Lord’s Supper is on the inside of the church not on the outside. You are not baptized before you believe, but after you believe, “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized” Not baptized in order to get into the kingdom, but baptized because they have entered into it; not baptized before you are born again, but baptized after you are born again – and again, we come and sit down at the table after we have been born again and baptized, not before.

We need to emphasize that baptism is God’s concrete picture of the gospel, setting forth the two great truths Take those two out, and what have of the Christian faith. you?

The whole plan of redemption is built on the two pillars:

  1. The Death of Christ.
  2. The Resurrection of Christ.

Suppose you take out first, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; second, that Christ arose according to the Scriptures we would have no Gospel. There isn’t a modernist on earth that preaches these truths.

The great tragedy is that so many pulpits are silent on those two essential doctrines. Like a good woman came to this church not long ago because her pastor never preached on these great truths – Christ’s death on the cross, and His resurrection from the tomb, and when we are baptized it gives to the world our declaration of those great truths, the two pillars of our faith, the death of Christ, and the resurrection of Christ.

There is nothing in sprinkling that sets forth the burial and resurrection of Christ. That is why the Apostle Paul said in the 6th chapter of Romans, “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

Every time a believer is baptized, that believer says to the world “I believe in the death of Christ for my sins, and I believe in the resurrection of Christ for my hope.”

This last word; I am just now coming to the text, “Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace:” Speak the word to the lost world, then the next proposition – what does it say, and that is the blessing, listen at it, “For I am with thee, and no man shall set on three to hurt thee: I am with you always even unto the end of the world.”

First, here is his burden

Second, the blasphemers.

Third, the believers.

Fourth, baptized.

Fifth, spoke with boldness.

Sixth, prays; and last there is a bountiful harvest – “I have much people in this city.”

And the next word, “And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.”

What a challenge to give the Gospel? The whole world is in this city, every nation, tribe, tongue and kindred live here.

“Go, and the Saviour’s grace proclaim,
Ye messengers of God:
Go publish, through Immanuel’s name,
Salvation bought with blood.

What tho’ your arduous track may lie
Thro’ regions dark as death;
What tho’ your faith and zeal to try
Perils beset your path.

Yet, with determined courage go,
And arm’d with power divine,
Your God will needful aid bestow,
And on your labors shine.

Shrink not, tho’ earth and hell oppose,
But plead your Master’s cause,
Nor doubt that even your mighty foes
Shall bow before his cross.”