Acts 16:6-15 – Under the Guidance of the Spirit

Christian MölkActs Leave a Comment

Acts 16:6-8

  1. Paul intends to continue his missionary journey and “preach the word in Asia”, but is stopped by the Holy Spirit.
    1. Of course, there was nothing wrong with wanting to preach in Asia, but the Holy Spirit prevented Paul from doing what we normally think of as something positive, because God had other plans.
      1. Sometimes our plan may be good and godly, but not timely and we may be the wrong person to carry out the plan.
  2. How did the Spirit of God speak to Paul? Through prophetic words? Through a sense of fear? Through practical aggravating circumstances? We don’t know, but we do know that Paul was aware that the Spirit of God wanted to lead him and he followed God’s guidance.
    1. Today, we too can be led by God’s Spirit both in our daily lives and in our service to God. The Holy Spirit wants to help you witness to your fellow man about Jesus and he will try to lead you to the right person at the right time. Like Paul, learning to discern the guidance of God’s Spirit is an important lesson in life as a disciple of Jesus.
    1. My tips for learning to listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit are as follows:
      1. Live a life of daily prayer and Bible reading.
      1. Pray to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
      1. Listen for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
      1. Try boldly when you experience something! The worst thing that can happen is that you happen to share the gospel with one person too many.
      1. Repeat.

Acts 16:9-10

  1. Now if it was God’s will that Paul preach the gospel in Macedonia, why didn’t God’s Spirit put Macedonia on Paul’s heart before he began to prevent him from traveling to Asia and Bithynia? It is obvious that God can speak to us in many different ways:
    1. Awakens thoughts in our heart that we can’t let go of
    1. We hear a clear voice
    1. We feel strongly in our spirit
    1. Doors close or open
  2. It is interesting to note that it is only when Paul arrives at Troas that he receives further instructions. It is rare that God allows us to see his whole plan for us, but we are allowed to see a bit at a time, one step at a time.
    1. If God had let us see his whole plan for our lives, we probably wouldn’t have believed it or perhaps wouldn’t have dared to follow it. Sometimes it’s better to just know the next step and then trust God.
  3. When Paul understood that God wanted him to preach the gospel in Macedonia, he immediately went there. Paul’s eagerness to serve God is a model for us.
  4. In verse 8 it says that “they” went through Mysia, and in verse 10 it says that “we” went to Macedonia. This probably means that it was in Troas that Luke, the author of Acts, joined Paul. Perhaps this was even one of the reasons why Paul was not told that he was going to Macedonia until he arrived in Troas.
  5. Perhaps the most important lesson from this biblical text is that the Holy Spirit has an interest in directing the mission. Of course we should plan according to our human circumstances, but we need above all to be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading.

Acts 16:11-12

  1. Thanks to Paul’s responsiveness to God’s Spirit, the Gospel came to Europe and we received the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts.
    1. God always knows what he is doing when he says no to our plans. While it is of course more fun when God opens doors than when he closes them, in the end it is always for our good and the good of the Gospel.

Acts 16:13

  1. When Paul came to a new city, he would normally start by going to the Jewish synagogue to preach the gospel there, but there were probably not enough Jews in that city to enable them to build their own synagogue. Instead, the Jews met for prayer down by the river.

Acts 16:14

  1. The Macedonian man whom Paul saw in his vision turned out to be a woman!
    1. Lydia becomes the first Christian in Europe, thanks to “the Lord opening her heart”.

Acts 16:15

  1. Since Lydia dealt in “purpurtyger” she was probably rich and well off. Because of this, she was able to open her home to Paul and his entourage, thus starting the first church in Europe in her house.
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