Acts 16

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“As we were going to the place of prayer…” (Acts 16:16 ESV)

June 25, 2016

Luke, the human author of the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts, included himself in the story of Paul’s journey to Philippi and his missionary work there. Although he never mentioned himself by name, he did change from his usual third person “they,” to the first person “we.” There are three “we” sections in Acts: 16:10-18, 20:4-21:19, and 27:1-28:30. Apparently, Luke traveled with Paul, Silas and Timothy from Troas to Philippi and then remained in Philippi after they left. Most of Luke’s writing in both Luke and Acts were from his interviews of eye witnesses and of his “orderly account” (Luke 1:3) of the same. Yet, in a few instances, Luke was himself an eyewitness. Luke, the “beloved physician,” as Paul called him (Col. 4:14), was too modest to even sign his name to his writings. Yet, nearly one third of our New Testament would be missing without his obedience to the Spirit’s inspiration. Luke, was there with Paul when they went down to the river outside of Philippi to pray.

“One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul” (Acts 16:14 ESV)

June 24, 2016

The movement of the gospel from the Middle East into Europe began with a woman named Lydia. She heard the Good News from the apostle Paul while gathering with a women’s prayer group by the Krenides River outside the city of Philippi. Apparently, there wasn’t a sufficient population of Jews living there to establish a synagogue, so Lydia gathered with some local women to pray on the Sabbath. Can you imagine her delight when Paul, Silas and Timothy sat down near them and began to preach? Perhaps she had been praying for sometime for someone to come and open the Scriptures to them. And now, the Lord had answered her prayer. After receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior, she was baptized, and so was her whole household. Her home became the first base of operations for the Philippi church as she insisted on the apostles staying in her house. Amazing how God first called a business woman to help open up the gospel to the Western world!

“Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening” (Acts 16:25 NLT)

June 25, 2014

Have you ever found yourself stretched to the point of breaking because of difficult circumstances? We recently returned from a mission trip to Uganda. After a 37 hour trip from the States we landed in Rwanda to catch a bus to the Ugandan border. Unfortunately, the driver took us to the wrong crossing. This resulted in an additional 7 hours of travel over terrible roads and scary moments at the border. Our team maintained its morale, we did plenty of praying, but I wouldn’t say there was a whole lot of singing going on. This situation certainly doesn’t compare to Paul and Silas being beaten with rods and thrown in jail. But any difficult circumstance can reveal what’s really inside of us. When Paul and Silas faced this trial they prayed and sang hymns, and the prison doors flew open, and the jailer and his family got saved. Our gospel witness to others is often at its best when our situation is at its worst. Remember, the “other prisoners are listening.”

“One of them was Lydia from Thyatira, a merchant of expensive purple cloth, who worshiped God. As she listened to us, the Lord opened her heart, and she accepted what Paul was saying” (Acts 16:14 NLT)

June 24, 2014

Our calling is to bear witness to the gospel and leave the heart’s receptivity to the Lord. We can’t “open the heart” of the hearer, but we can open our own mouths to speak the gospel message. Paul’s faithfulness to sow the seed of the gospel everywhere he went and leave the heart condition of the soil up to God was what resulted in churches being planted all over the Roman world. I wonder how many “Lydias” are apparently going about their business, yet desperately looking for God? Are we willing to be like Paul and spread the Word?

“Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household” (Acts 16:31)

June 25, 2012

The answer Paul and Silas gave their jailer when he asked how to be saved. An important principle is implied in this story– that the head of house coming to Christ has a profound impact on the spiritual condition of the whole family. Fathers, your spiritual leadership is critical. As the father goes, so goes the family.

“The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:29-30)

June 25, 2011

God wanted to save the jailer and his family, so Paul & Silas had to go to jail. As wheat is crushed to make bread, so we become nourishment for others. How has suffering made you more available?

“They tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to” (Acts 16:7)

June 24, 2011

When we are following Jesus for the sake of the gospel, He Himself leads us. Sometimes He hinders, sometimes He opens wide a door. Taking the Word to the whole world as He commanded while staying spiritually sensitive to His leading is key.