Second Journey Macedonia
Series: Pauline Letters
Acts 16:6-10 ESV
Acts 16:11-15 (Paul meets Lydia)
Acts 16:17-18 ESV
Acts 16:19-34 (Paul and Silas in Jail)
Acts 16:35-37 (Magistrates apologized)
Philippians 1:3-14 ESV
Romans 8:28 ESV
I find Paul’s Journey’s fascinating because even while he has a general plan where he would visit, all plans were considered “soft”.
For example we learn from Acts 16:6-10, “And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.”
We learn from this section of scripture that the Spirit forbid Paul and company to speak about Jesus in Asia.
When they tried to go into Bithynia the Spirit did not allow them passage.
So instead of following their initial plan Paul went down to Troas.
At this point, he had no idea where he was supposed to go next. He couldn’t go to Asia and they tried to go to Bithynia but they ended up in Troas.
While in Troas Paul had a dream of a man calling to him from Macedonia. The man was begging Paul to help them.
Paul did not question the dream.
He arose and went to Macedonia.
In Acts 16:11-15 we learn that Paul went to Philippi and he met a woman named Lydia who believed in God. When she heard Paul speak the Lord opened her heart. After the message she was baptized along with everyone in her household. Lydia asked the travelers to stay with her.
We also learn in Philippi they met a slave girl who made money for her masters by telling fortunes. In Acts 1:17-18 we are told, “She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.”
The problem was that her masters were upset that she was healed and she could no longer tell fortunes…so they lost a major portion of their income. The masters grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them to the magistrates and complained that they were Jews who were creating a disturbance in the city. A crowd had gathered and they were chanting so the magistrates ordered that Paul and Silas should be beaten with rods. Then Paul and Silas were thrown into prison and their feet were put in stocks.
In prison Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns and there was an earthquake that shook the foundations. Suddenly the prison doors were opened and the shackles on everyone’s feet were loosed. The jailer was beside himself because he was sure they all left and he was about to kill himself when Paul stopped him to tell him they had not escaped. The jailer fell down and asked how he could be saved! Paul and Silas told the jailer and everyone in his house they could be saved by believing in Jesus. The jailer and everyone in household believed and they washed Paul and Silas’ wounds and fed them (Acts 16:19-34).
Then at daylight the magistrates decided to set Paul and Silas free but Paul informed them they beat and imprisoned two Roman Citizens!
The magistrates apologized profusely and after visiting Lydia the missionaries left the city (Acts 16:35-37).
Later, Paul wrote to the church in Philippi (Philippians 1:3-14), “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”
Notice Paul specifically spoke of his imprisonment and accentuated the good that came from it. He said it helped him advance the gospel. Even when imprisoned he had joy from the Spirit. Paul made it clear he knew God would take care of him. He pointed out that because of his imprisonment others were bold in advancing the gospel message.
Clearly, Paul looked for the good. As he wrote in Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Always. Love God. Every every every time ALL things work for good.
Spiritual Practice: Look for Good
Make a point of looking for the good that God brings from difficult situations.
In God, Deborah