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Acts 16:16-24Peace for the Possessed and the Pimped

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Acts 16:16–24 HCSB
16 Once, as we were on our way to prayer, a slave girl met us who had a spirit of prediction. She made a large profit for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 As she followed Paul and us she cried out, “These men, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation, are the slaves of the Most High God.” 18 And she did this for many days. But Paul was greatly aggravated and turning to the spirit, said, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” And it came out right away. 19 When her owners saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities. 20 Bringing them before the chief magistrates, they said, “These men are seriously disturbing our city. They are Jews 21 and are promoting customs that are not legal for us as Romans to adopt or practice.” 22 Then the mob joined in the attack against them, and the chief magistrates stripped off their clothes and ordered them to be beaten with rods. 23 After they had inflicted many blows on them, they threw them in jail, ordering the jailer to keep them securely guarded. 24 Receiving such an order, he put them into the inner prison and secured their feet in the stocks.

Sub: Peace for The Possessed and The Pimped

I. She was Possessed

16 Once, as we were on our way to prayer, a slave girl met us who had a spirit of prediction. She made a large profit for her owners by fortune-telling.
17 As she followed Paul and us she cried out, “These men, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation, are the slaves of the Most High God.”
17 As she followed Paul and us she cried out, “These men, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation, are the slaves of the Most High God.”

Scripture says that the young slave girl was possessed by an evil spirit () which gave her the power of fortune-telling.

Scripture says that the young slave girl was possessed by an evil spirit () which gave her the power of fortune-telling.

THE WORD MEANS...

Spirit which predicted the future; spirit of divination; spirit that is demon possessed; spirit of foretelling the future and fate of people; to be a fortuneteller.

Practical Application

The Greek word puthōn which is our English word python, refers to the large python serpent. In ancient myth the Greek god Apollo was said to have slain the great serpent or dragon python. As a result Apollo took both his great gift of predictions and his name. Apollo became known as "puthios Apollo" or "Python Apollo." The young slave girl is said to have the spirit of "python" (puthōna); that is, the people thought she was the voice, the oracle of the great Greek god Apollo. There were also ventriloquists who were thought to be empowered with the spirit of Apollo.

It’s What She Said?

These men, who proclaiming to you, “A Way of Salvation....”

The Most High God

Ill.

The way of salvation (hodon sōtērias). A way of salvation, strictly speaking (no article). There were many "ways of salvation" offered to men then as now.

The way of salvation (hodon sōtērias). A way of salvation, strictly speaking (no article). There were many "ways of salvation" offered to men then as now. Scripture says that the young slave girl was possessed by an evil spirit () which gave her the power of fortune-telling.

As a result people went to her for hope that...

• their desires would be fulfilled.

Ill.

• their futures would be good.

• their confidence would be restored.

• their fortunes would be at prosperous.

• their lost items would be found.

• their past would be unravelled.

• their mysteries would be solved.

The point to see is the power of sin to enslave and bind a person in the dark world of divination, fortune-telling, witchcraft, black magic, sorcery, and astrology.

All false approaches to the truth are similar. They come from the dark world of evil spirits, spirits that cause people to put their trust in such things as...

• fortune tellers

• soothsayers

• palm readers

• seances

• the stars

• sorceries

• the zodiac

• a deck of cards Just imagine! People are trusting such things instead of God. How deceived and blinded men are! How dark the world is—the dark world of evil spirits...

• that cause people to trust such things instead of God.

• that keep people away from the Word of God and the true promises of God.

• that blind people to the reality of prayer.

• that keep people away from the grace of God, the grace of the only living and true God, the only God who can truly save them.

Ill.

At high noon when the sun is at its peak, it is shining bright. To turn on a flashlight when you have sunlight is to depend on the inferior rather than the superior. To go to a palm reader when you've got access to the heavenly Father is to go to the inferior rather than the superior. To call the psychic network, or to have a tarot card reading, is to turn on a flashlight when you're under the sunlight. It is to pay money for something you can have for free.

πύθων puthōn noun Python, ventriloquist, soothsayer.

THE WORD MEANS...

Spirit which predicted the future; spirit of divination; spirit that is demon possessed; spirit of foretelling the future and fate of people; to be a fortuneteller.

Practical Application

The Greek word puthōn which is our English word python, refers to the large python serpent. In ancient myth the Greek god Apollo was said to have slain the great serpent or dragon python. As a result Apollo took both his great gift of predictions and his name. Apollo became known as "puthios Apollo" or "Python Apollo." The young slave girl is said to have the spirit of "python" (puthōna); that is, the people thought she was the voice, the oracle of the great Greek god Apollo. There were also ventriloquists who were thought to be empowered with the spirit of Apollo.

It’s What She Said?

Ill.

These men, who proclaiming to you, “A Way of Salvation....”

The Most High God

The testimony of the evil spirit was a true testimony. Paul and the others were "the servants of the most high God."

The way of salvation (hodon sōtērias). The testimony of the evil spirit was also a false testimony. This is seen in the Greek which reads, "a way of salvation," not "the way." The word "the" (the definite article) is not in the Greek. The evil spirit is proclaiming that Paul preaches only one of many ways to reach God.

(How like today!) We live in an age that is both pluralistic and is experiencing a rediscovery of spirituality. Pluralism causes many people to assign equal status to all religious approaches; spirituality causes them to welcome different expressions of the spiritual and the supernatural. This combination has brought about a supermarket approach to religion, where people are encouraged to shop for the gods that best suit them. Life Application

Jesus didn’t say, “I am a way and a truth and a life; I’m one way to come to the Father.” He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” ().

At high noon when the sun is at its peak, it is shining bright. To turn on a flashlight when you have sunlight is to depend on the inferior rather than the superior. To go to a palm reader when you've got access to the heavenly Father is to go to the inferior rather than the superior. To call the psychic network, or to have a tarot card reading, is to turn on a flashlight when you're under the sunlight. It is to pay money for something you can have for free.

In 2008, Oprah said on her television program, that when it comes to getting to heaven, "There couldn't possibly be just one way." So, does Oprah know something Jesus didn't know? Or did Jesus know something Oprah doesn't know? (No offense, Oprah, but I'm putting my money on Jesus.)

Paul’s response is narrated with three aorist verbs. First, he was “greatly disturbed” (διαπονηθείς; see on 4:2), annoyed because he perceived that it was a demonic spirit that spoke from the slave girl, a psychic whose messages were exploited by her owners as a source of financial gain.

Raised in a culture that condemns such thinking as narrow and intolerant, even many Christians now consider it arrogant and out-of-date to say that only those who trust in Jesus will go to heaven.

I’m going with what Jesus said......

I Ams Of Christ,

The Messiah

The Bread Of Life

From Above

The Eternal One

The Light Of The World

The Door

The Good Shepherd

The Son Of God

The Resurrection And Life

The Lord And Master

The Way, Truth, And Life

The True Vine

Alpha And Omega

The First And The Last

II. She was Pimped

....She made a large profit for her owners by fortune-telling.

Fortune-telling was common in Greek and Roman culture. People used many superstitious methods for trying to see the future—from interpreting omens in nature to communicating with the spirits of the dead. This young slave girl had an evil spirit, and she made her masters rich by interpreting signs and by fortune-telling. Her masters were exploiting her unfortunate condition for personal gain.

Fortune-telling was common in Greek and Roman culture. People used many superstitious methods for trying to see the future—from interpreting omens in nature to communicating with the spirits of the dead. This young slave girl had an evil spirit, and she made her masters rich by interpreting signs and by fortune-telling. Her masters were exploiting her unfortunate condition for personal gain. Bruce B. Barton et al., Life Application Bible Commentary – Acts, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1999), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: "".

There were the men possessed by the spirit of greed and materialism. The young girl was a slave exploited by men to make money. They used her fortune-telling ability to play upon the needs of people for hope and confidence, self-esteem and direction. Note the words "much gain." She was apparently the leader among all the soothsayers, the one from whom the upper class sought advice and counsel. This would explain why the people were riled up so quickly and why the magistrates or rulers acted so quickly in condemning Paul and Silas (). The point to note is this: the strong and the wealthy always have and always will exploit and use the weak for their own ends, whether in prostitution, fortune-telling, labor, false worship, sexual gratification, or whatever. The world has always witnessed white slavery, black slavery, child slavery, national slavery and a horde of other forms of slavery. Whatever the form, the purpose of the strong and wealthy is always onefold: to satisfy either their desires and urges or to fill their pockets. In the present passage the emphasis is upon filling their pockets, upon greed and materialism.

III. She has Peace

18 And she did this for many days.

But Paul was greatly aggravated and turning to the spirit, said, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” And it came out right away. e

18 And she did this for many days.
18 And she did this for many days.
But Paul was greatly aggravated and turning to the spirit, said, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” And it came out right away.

“Many days” (note the imperfect tense of “kept doing,” ἐποίει). Paul may have tolerated her shouting for a period of time because he was aware of the anti-Jewish sentiments of the Roman population and the possible consequences in a conflict.

Paul’s response is narrated with three aorist verbs.

First, he was “greatly disturbed” (διαπονηθείς; see on 4:2), annoyed because he perceived that it was a demonic spirit that spoke from the slave girl, a psychic whose messages were exploited by her owners as a source of financial gain.

The girl was unqualified to proclaim the truth of the good news of Jesus.

The girl is thus doubly unqualified to proclaim the truth of the good news of Jesus.

Second, he “turned around” (ἐπιστρέψας); i.e., he confronted the spirit that spoke from the girl.

Second, he “turned around” (ἐπιστρέψας); i.e., he confronted the spirit that spoke from the girl.

Third, he spoke (εἶπεν) to the spirit, commanding him to come out of the girl. The verb “command” (“order,” παραγγέλλω) denotes a directive from an authoritative source. The command “in the name of Jesus Christ”

life Application

EVIL SPIRITS HAVE NOT DISAPPEARED since Jesus’ day; nor have they turned into psychological pathologies. They continue to exist and do all they can to oppose the redemptive work of God in the world. In the same way that Paul dealt with these spirits, we can effectively deal with them as well. Overcoming them has nothing to do with our own strength, but the power and authority of acting in the name of Jesus by virtue of our close relationship with him.

Thoralf Gilbrant, ed., “4294. πύθων,” in The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary – Pi-Rho, (Springfield, MO: Complete Biblical Library, 1991), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: "4294. πύθων".
, Practical Word Studies in The New Testament, (Chattanooga: Leadership Ministries Worldwide, 1998), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 1962.
Bruce B. Barton et al., Life Application Bible Commentary – Acts, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1999), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: "".
, The Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible – Acts, (Chattanooga: Leadership Ministries Worldwide, 1991), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: "E. Philippi (Part II): The Power of Sin and Money Versus the Power of Jesus' Name, 16:16-24".
Ajith Fernando, NIV Application Commentary, The – Acts: From biblical text...to contemporary life, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 453.
Frank Charles Thompson, “I Ams Of Christ, 4166,” in Thompson Chain Reference Bible, (Indianapolis, IN: B. B. Kirkbride Bible Co., 1997), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: "I Ams Of Christ, 4166".
Clinton E. Arnold, ed., Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary on the New Testament – John, Acts, (USA: Zondervan, 2002), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 374.
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