Pastors BLOG
August 2, 2018, 1:59 PM

The Adventure Begins 50: Lessons From the Early Church - Acts 16:6-34



Acts 16:6-34 (NIV)
6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia.
7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.
8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas.
9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us."
10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day on to Neapolis.
12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.
13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there.
14 One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message.
15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. "If you consider me a believer in the Lord," she said, "come and stay at my house." And she persuaded us.
16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.
17 This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved."
18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!" At that moment the spirit left her.
19 When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities.
20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, "These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar
21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice."
22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten.
23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully.
24 Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.
26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose.
27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped.
28 But Paul shouted, "Don't harm yourself! We are all here!"
29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas.
30 He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
31 They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved--you and your household."
32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.
33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized.
34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God--he and his whole family.

Let’s look more closely at what is happening in these passages…

Acts 16:6-34 (NIV)
6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia.
7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.
8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas.

Interestingly it says that the Holy Spirit kept Paul, Silas, Timothy and Luke from entering into Asia and then into the region of Bythinia. But then God gave Paul a vision and calls them specifically to go to Macedonia…

Acts 16:6-34 (NIV) cont’d
9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us."
10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day on to Neapolis.
12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.

So Paul and his companions followed the call of God to go where God had planned for them to go…

A lot of times we make plans without really knowing whether it is what God has in mind. Do not settle for good ideas but go after God ideas. Do not go after good fruit go after God fruit.

Obviously Paul and his fellow missionaries wanted to go to Asia and Bithinia, but as they sought God His Holy Spirit directed them.

God wants to speak to us, direct us and show us the way – but we have to make time to listen to His heart – and for many of us we need to learn how to distinguish His voice. Elijah said about himself that he “stands in the presence of God” - and yet when he was at his low point he had trouble God taught him how to really hear His voice not in the wind, not in the earthquake, not in the fire – He was the still small voice.

Learning to hear the voice of God takes time and investment and a willingness to rest our compulsion to action and lay them at the feet of God to await His command/ calling.

We have to acquaint ourselves with God’s voice and His directing – asking, “What would you have me do?” We need to wait upon Him.

The Disciples waited 10 days from the time that Jesus ascended till Pentecost – but when the Spirit of God came they were equipped with understanding and power from God. By the way they didn’t just sit there twiddling thumbs they actively worshipped God and sought Him.

Some of us think this means that we need to lock ourselves in a closet somewhere and then we will hear God tell us what to do and then boom it happens. That is not what I am saying. Notice here that these disciples of Christ are seeking in prayer as their feet are moving. They are on a journey and as they go, God is leading them, speaking to them (even through their circumstances) and they are learning to hear His voice and how to follow Him. As you go through life, aware of God’s leading, you will seek His voice and learn to hear and follow Him. And He will speak to you and call you to do His will.

This band of witnesses heard the call of God through their active pursuit of God in the adventure of their journey.

Are you seeking God in your Journey? Are you actively pursuing Him in the adventure of life? When was the last time you heard His voice? When was the last time you felt His call?

In the verses that follow (13-34) there are three encounters that these missionaries have – One with a rich business woman in the fashion industry of Philippi named Lydia who accepted the Lord and she and her whole household were baptized. Then a young demonized slave girl was set free perhaps mostly because thedemon inside her had become a nuisance to Paul for mockingly proclaiming through her that they were "…servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved." So he cast the devil out of her and then her owners became angry because he had ruined their fortunetelling business and they had him and his companions beaten and thrown into prison. Which led to an encounter with the devout hardworking Roman Jailor who because of their willingness to stay in his custody, though God had made a way for them to get out, He gave his life to Christ and His whole family was saved

God led them to Philippi because He was ready and they were ready for a move of God there. God directed them specifically to that place and to those specific people – A rich Businesswoman, a slave girl and a Roman Guard – to start His church in Philippi.

Did you know that in all of the epistles Paul later wrote to churches, they all had severe problems he was addressing except with the Philippian Church. This church that he planted had become a source of joy and resources for Paul who he said this about…

Philippians 1:1-8 (NIV)
1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:
2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 I thank my God every time I remember you.
4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy
5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,
6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God's grace with me.
8 God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

That is not just good fruit that is God fruit.

We have to trust these things about God and His voice leading us. Trusting the voice of God:

  1. He is going before us and preparing the fields that He is calling us to.
  2. He is also preparing us for the fields that He is calling us to.
  3. He sees when those fields are ripe and how they should be harvested.
  4. He will lead us each step of the way if we are willing to seek, listen and follow Him.

 

So why not commit yourself in the days to come to really seek the voice of God in your life and to follow Him in the adventures that He has for you.

By Pastor Carl Friedel



Comments

08-02-2018 at 3:20 PM
JoAnn
Amen with all my heart!
Post a Comment