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Acts 16:16-34 • The Unseen Battle • Wed Main Sanctuary

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Well, good evening family! It is good to see you all here at the Midweek service.
Pastor Clark & Sally say there hello’s, they miss you all, and they are fine, and will be back this Sunday Lord willing.
For those of you who don’t know me my name is Anthony I am the High School Pastor, I’ve been attending the barn here for quite some time now.
And I am super excited for tonight and man, it is truly humbling to here with you all, I do not take this for granted one bit.
Well, let’s get right into our study for today.
if you have your bibles open to the book of Acts, Acts 16.

Review & Overview

1. The Book of Acts Review

In Acts 9 Paul was on the road of Damascus on his way to persecute and attack the church.
Jesus presents Himself in a really bright light - And Paul submits to Him and calls Him Lord.
Paul goes to the Church in Jerusalem, though the church was hesitant at first, but Barnabas brings him into the fold.
Barnabas & Paul head out to the mission field and began to preach the Gospel and as a result churches began to form everywhere they went.
Then they go back to Jerusalem where they started and after a little while Paul goes back to the mission field for his 2nd Missionary journey.
And what we have here in Acts 16, We are following Paul on his 2nd missionary journey and so far there are several things that has happened pertaining to Paul’s second missionary journey.
The motive behind the Journey - To see how the churches they planted on the first missionary journey were doing.
Conflict between Paul & Barnabas - Mark
New Recruit - Timothy
God’s Guidance - Paul encounters the Holy Spirit

2. Current Study’s Overview

So that brings us to Vs. 16 and we want to continue to look at Paul’s Visit in Macedonia, which is eastern Europe.
The title of today’s message is: The Unseen Battle, spiritual warfare in the lives of the belivers.
If your taking notes today there 3 things that involves the Spiritual Warfare that Paul encounters here:
Spiritual Warfare Involves a Spiritual Enemy Vs. 16-18
Spiritual Warfare Involves a Physical Attack Vs. 19-24
Spiritual Warfare Involves a Divine Deliverance Vs. 25-34

1. Spiritual Warfare Involves a Spiritual Enemy Vs. 16-18

1.1 When It Happened Vs. 16a

When did this happen? When they went to Prayer...
APPLICATION: This is typically when the enemy likes to strike like a snake, the snake creeps, and the moment we begin to do something spiritual, when we stop to pray, or read His word, or commune with God, distractions come.
APPLICATION: And I’ve noticed that in my own personal life, the distractions typically come when I want too spend time with God.
APPLICATION: The moment I want to read my Bible or take a few moments to talk to God in prayer, my phone starts to blow up, everyone has an urgent question that needs to be answered or something.
APPLICATION: The reason is because prayer is EXTREMELY important - and satan knows it so he does anything and everything he can to keep us from talking to Jesus.
ILLUSTRATION: According to a study done by Microsoft, they said from the year 2000 to the year 2013 the average attention span of an adult has dropped from 12 second to 8 seconds. And you know what they said? The average attention span is of a gold fish is 9 seconds!
ILLUSTRATION: They said that the rising popularity of smartphones, mobile data, messaging apps, and social media is the cause behind falling attention rates.
ILLUSTRATION: Since we now have access to this content anywhere and at any time, it’s become rough for us to focus on one subject.
Now amplify that with spiritual warfare? The enemy does not want you to spend time with God.
we have to be vigilant we have to gird up the loins of our minds we can’t give into these distractions.
1 Peter 5:8 NKJV
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

1. Spiritual Warfare Involves a Spiritual Enemy Vs. 16-18

1.2 What Actually Happened Vs. 16-18a

The Spirit of Divination Vs. 16b - So what happened? A demon possessed slave girl met them…
And as we read about this girl we learn a little bit about her, the first thing we learn is that she was possessed by a specific demon, or spirit...
Now this is interesting to me because the Greek word for divination is puthon, it’s only used here in the entire bible and we can almost speak it into english, Python.
Now, it’s important to understand some cultural context here. In Greek mythology, the goddess Hera sent this python (kinda like a god or titan) a massive snake to kill specific people.
But one day Apollo aka the god of prophecy the son of zeus came and killed this python.
He later made his own temple on the very ground the python was killed.
In Greek mythology, this happened in the city called Delphi in ancient Greece and thats where apollos’ massive sacred temple was at.
And in this temple was a person called an oracle who would live there and the government would always seek the council of that Oracle.
In addition, in this temple there was a chamber (sometimes in like a basement type setting) where the temples’ priestesses, women who were called pythones, they would go in this chamber and tradition tells us that in the chamber these priestesses would inhale the gases that would come from the buried body of the python serpent.
And these gases would give the pythonesses the power of prophecy.
And my speculation, take this for a grain of salt. But when I hear that story I look at it with a biblical perspective and when I hear this story that gasses are coming from below where a snake lies.
I think what it really was, was satanic spirits coming from below and into these pythonesses to possess them.
So it could very well be that this slave girl was a priestess or pythoness of the temple of the false god apollo.
But at the end of the day she was demon possessed. And what a contrast to the previous section where Paul encounters the Holy Spirit.
The second thing we learn about this girl is that she brought a lot of money to her masters by fortune-telling, look at..
Profit By Fortune-telling Vs. 16c - So people would come to see the slave girl and she would tell them things.
Perhaps by some weird ritual, I don’t really know.
But here is the point, it was the demon in her who was giving her the answers!
APPLICATION: You know, I want to tell you guys that demons have lived for ages, thousands of years and have seen many things.
So they can tell you facts about your life about your past that nobody else knows.
And unfortunately, people who do not know the truth of what the Bible says become deceived and led astray. Turn with me to...
1 John 4:1–3 NKJV
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
We have to be careful what we believe and what we listen to and who we listen too. We should be listening to the Holy Spirit, to God, and His Holy Bible.
Romans 8:14 NKJV
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
John 4:24 NKJV
24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Hebrews 4:12 NKJV
12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
We have the Word of God that tests and judges anything that comes our way.
The third thing we learn about this girl is...

1. Spiritual Warfare Involves a Spiritual Enemy Vs. 16-18

What She Said Vs. 17-18a - Now there are different views as to what is going on here. Some say that this slave girl was right in what she was shouting, what she was saying was accurate.
Here in verse 18 Paul became annoyed by this slave girl because he was bothered by the uncontrolled manner she proclaimed this truth.
And that her proclaiming this truth was profiting her owners.
I get that and I understand that and im cool with that.
So on the surface level it seems like she was helping out Paul in preaching the way of Salvation.
But I am not 100% convinced, I believe the Truth is that she was NOT helping Paul, why?
Because what she was actually proclaiming was that Jesus was “A” way of salvation, one of many ways.
I believe this because of the grammar...
There, at the end of Vs. 17 the word “the” is not in the greek manuscripts. There is no definite article, the word that emphasizes the subject.
APPLICATION: This is important because we live in a world that says there are many ways to heaven, many truths, all roads lead us to heaven.
And that is Greek for bananas! So far from the truth!
Galatians 2:21 NKJV
21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”
If all roads lead to heaven then the cross was a waste of time, Jesus suffered and died for no reason and the Gospel is just news, NOT Good News.
APPLICATION: And Church listen, and maybe your not a Christian, let me be very clear. There is only One Way for salvation, The Only Way to go to heaven is by faith in Jesus Christ! Amen!?
Why because we will never be perfect, you cant ask a judge just to forgive you.
John 14:6 NKJV
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Acts 4:12 NKJV
12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

1. Spiritual Warfare Involves a Spiritual Enemy Vs. 16-18

1.3 Paul’s Reaction to the Spiritual Warfare Vs. 18b

So Paul got really annoyed, but did you notice NOT at the slave girl? It said he turned to the spirit.
If you remember the story about the greek mythology of this spirit python, he would possess girls and speak through them.
So this word became synonymous with a puppet master.
ILLUSTRATION: Have you ever seen a puppet show or someone handling a puppet?
Talk about first time seeing a puppet and I got freaked out but the puppet was not real. They only do what the puppet master made them do.
APPLICATION: Paul knew who his enemy really was and it was not this little slave girl, she was just the puppet being controlled by a far more devious foe.
APPLICATION: The real enemy was the spiritual power, the demonic influence behind her!
So Paul went to the root of the problem - he addressed the spirit in the girl and commanded him to leave and he left that very hour.
APPLICATION: You know, so often in life we miss who the real enemy is, we get caught up looking at the people but they are just puppets, being told what to say and do by the god of this world.
APPLICATION: Know this, if we get upset, argue with what they do or say know we are arguing with a puppet!
APPLICATION: The key is to go at the one who is in control, attack the root of the problem, rather than get upset with the people, pray because in....
Ephesians 6:12 NKJV
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
2 Corinthians 10:3–5 NKJV
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

2. Spiritual Warfare Involves a Physical Attack Vs. 19-24

2.1 The Attack Was Financially & Spiritually MotivatedVs. 19-21

Paul was teaching that Jesus is Lord which would imply that Caesar is not...
But if you look closely, his imprisonment, this attack, was not politically motivated, it was financially motivated… Look at Vs. 19 again...
I would even go a step further and say that not only was this financially motivated but also, spiritually motivated.
Here we see even the slave girl’s masters were controlled by a spiritual force.
Because notice the word hope, hope is a spiritual concept that lives in a person’s soul.
All their hope was in this one slave girl.
The masters had a spiritual link to a physical thing, which was money.
Matthew 6:21 NKJV
21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
APPLICATION: Listen, what do you treasure the most in this world?
Is it money? Financial stability? Family? Our possessions?
Whatever you treasure the most in the world that is where you heart will be?
And for us children of God, our hearts should be placed at the feet of Jesus, not in anyone or anything else.
Matthew 22:37 NKJV
37 Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’

2. Spiritual Warfare Involves a Physical Attack Vs. 19-24

2.2 Beaten W/ Rods Vs. 22-24

In 2 Corinthians 11:25 Paul wrote that he was beaten with rods 3 times, so here is one of those times..
So this spiritual attack resulted in them going to jail.

3. Spiritual Warfare Involves a Divine Deliverance Vs. 25-34

So here they are, beaten… bloody… in the inner prison… locked in stocks.... But notice their response in Vs. 25

3.1 Fight Back Through Praise & Prayer Vs. 25a

They were cursing & complaining at God… oh, wait they weren’t doing that were they? They were praying & praising.
And listen to this, I would even say, they were fighting back.
Put yourself in their situation for a moment, imagine the atmosphere.
You just witnessed a demon possession
You are beaten, bloody
You feet are physically locked & fastened so you can’t move around.
Not only is it dark but there must have been a spiritual darkness looming in their midst.
So what did they do in spite of all that??
“Instead of allowing the atmosphere and circumstances to invade them, they decided to invade the atmosphere of darkness with the presence of God”
I love that! Prayer & Praise are spiritual weapons that we need to be using for not only defense but also for offense.
ILLUSTRATION: About a Pastor talking about the sword of the Spirit that it is used to defend not attack.
IDK about you but im going to use the Sword to slay every lofty thing that comes against my family and my kids.
2 Corinthians 10:4 NKJV
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,
Listen, our weapons are not fleshly, but they are mighty in God!
Payer & Praise are weapons to combat the worldly & spiritual attacks we experience.
Psalm 18:3 NKJV
3 I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.
APPLICATION: You know, often times we have a tendency to focus on our physical situation which causes us to questions God.
Why is this happening?
When will this stop?
How will I get through it?
APPLICATION: But rather then focusing on the fact that God is in complete control, that He is allowing it to happen for a reason and for a purpose, you know, maybe to accomplish His perfect will?
2 Corinthians 4:17–18 NKJV
17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Instead, we should praise the Lord, & commune with Him through prayer.
ILLUSTRATION: I heard someone say, you are either a thermometer or a thermostat. If you are a thermometer you allow the outside world to influence you.
But a person who is a thermostat is person who influences the outside world.
And notice what happens when we attack back with prayer & praise.

3. Spiritual Warfare Involves a Divine Deliverance Vs. 25-34

3.2 The Prisoners Were Listening Vs. 25b

How you act when there is adversity shows your true character & our actions speak louder than words.
Someone said...
Because people are always listening or watching. You know how many times I see people from the church just goin gout and about in Temecula.

3. Spiritual Warfare Involves a Divine Deliverance Vs. 25-34

3.3 Suicidal Prison Guard Vs. 26-27

In the ancient times if a prisoner escaped the guard would receive the punishment of that prisoner.
So the guard was ready to kill himself because that would result in a quick death.

3.4 Freed From Bondage Vs. 28-29

So the Lord delivered Paul from prison, the Lord opened the prison doors & set him free.
Just as He did for Peter in Acts 15:19 & again in Acts 12:17 and just like He wants to do for us...
APPLICATION: Jesus wants to free us from the bondage of sin, death & hell, He wants to deliver us from what is holding us captive.
He wants to set us free...
John 8:31–32 NKJV
31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

3. Spiritual Warfare Involves a Divine Deliverance Vs. 25-34

3.5 How Do I Get Saved Vs. 30

This is thee most important question that faces all of humanity, the question of salvation.
And unfortunately this guard had the same idea about salvation that many do today, thinking that there is something I can do to be saved.
Thinking that there is some kind of good work or good deed that will get me into heaven.
ILLUSTRATION: About Evangelism...
There are those today who say:
You must be baptized in our church to be saved
You have to say a certain prayer so many times
You have to knock on so many doors
But look at Vs. 31 because Paul gives him the truth.

3.6 Only Believe Vs. 31-34

So if you & your household believe on the Lord Jesus Christ you will be saved.
Aren’t you happy that Paul didn’t say you have to work really hard! Or if you’re a real good guy!
No! Just believe.
Notice, they were filled with joy now, the rejoiced.
They rejoiced because they are now saved and have the assurance of heaven!
This assurance no one or anything can provide!
I know for a certain, God for forbid, if I die I will be at the presence of God!
1 John 5:13 NKJV
13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
2 Corinthians 5:8 NKJV
8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
1 John 2:25 NKJV
25 And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life.
Romans 6:23 NKJV
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
It’s about having faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross & his resurrection that saves us.
John 14:6 NKJV
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Acts 4:12 NKJV
12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
But don’t miss the fact that even in this terrible situation, God used it for good & Paul recognized that.
Paul could have focused on his circumstance & been discouraged because of it, but he saw it as an opportunity to Preach the Gospel to share his faith and we have the same choice.
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