Acts 16
Acts 16

Acts 16

Acts 16:1-40

1  Then he came to Derbe and Lystra. And behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek.

2  He was well spoken of by the brethren who were at Lystra and Iconium.

3  Paul wanted to have him go on with him. And he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in that region, for they all knew that his father was Greek.

4  And as they went through the cities, they delivered to them the decrees to keep, which were determined by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem.

5  So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily.

6  Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia.

7  After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them.

8  So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas.

9  And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”

10  Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.

11  Therefore, sailing from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and the next day came to Neapolis,

12  and from there to Philippi, which is the foremost city of that part of Macedonia, a colony. And we were staying in that city for some days.

13  And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there.

14  Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.

15  And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us.

16  Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling.

17  This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.”

18  And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour.

19  But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities.

20  And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, “These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city;

21  and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.”

22  Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods.

23  And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely.

24  Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25  But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.

26  Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.

27  And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself.

28  But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.”

29  Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.

30  And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31  So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

32  Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.

33  And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.

34  Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.

35  And when it was day, the magistrates sent the officers, saying, “Let those men go.”

36  So the keeper of the prison reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Now therefore depart, and go in peace.”

37  But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out.”

38  And the officers told these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Romans.

39  Then they came and pleaded with them and brought them out, and asked them to depart from the city.

40  So they went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia; and when they had seen the brethren, they encouraged them and departed.

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3 months ago

Walking in and following the direction of the Spirit was not predictable. Compromise for the sake of acceptance and unity enabled sharing of the Word to those holding on to the law. This apparently was allowed by the Spirit as destinations for their journey were forbidden, indicating that there was deference to His inner voice. Direction was received in a vision of a man calling to them from Macedonia. Steps chosen by the Spirit led them to Lydia’s home and along a path where a great commotion resulted from a possessed girl’s deliverance. This led them to a famous prison encounter where their surroundings did not affect their position in the Spirit and fulfilling their mission even there. Even their departure was an opportunity to glorify God even more.

So many examples of the Spirit’s guidance in the real experience of life that can be looked to as how the experience of this may be emulated or reproduced. As random and unpredictable as these events were, though, removes method from the probable purpose in their telling and instead reveals the place in the Spirit they continually remained that enabled them to follow and proclaim in ways that reason or method could never lead. This same place is ours there in Him, where our movements are not confined to those observed elsewhere, but are prompted and inspired from that Source on the inside, guiding to places unforeseen with a purpose that is His alone. As our intentional destination remains the place of revelation together in His praises, there will be fruit-producing destinations arrived at by His promptings that reasoning methods will never know.

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