Man's Plans... God's Direction!
As I was working on my message for this morning I was reminded in various ways of the invaluable lessons and path that God brought me through beginning in May of last year. He graciously walked with me and my family each step of the way teaching me a depth of grace, mercy, forgiveness, He showed me in ways I would have never wanted to know the ugliness and evil of SIN and the beauty and gracious gift of the cross Christ paid for that sin on with His own precious blood.
In order for you to even get a glimpse of what He taught me and where my relationship with Him is at today I would need to go through the many events, valley’s victories, and battles fought in the soul… 2019 did not go as I had planned. HOWEVER, the fingerprints and footsteps of God’s leading can be clearly seen.
Proverbs 16:9 states this point beautifully
The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.
As we continue to look at this second missionary journey of Paul and Silas I am confident they had plans, ideas of how things would go, develop, and even left with aspirations that went unmet according to their plan. I also firmly believe there were things that they learned along with those they were disciplining that they never would have with their plans.
I want us to take time this morning to look at some of these events, the details of some of the valleys and the victories, and even some of the battles of the soul… Then I want to close by reflecting on some things we can learn from this missionary journey… apply it to the journey that God may be taking you through.
Barnabas sets out with Mark to Cyprus
Paul and Silas set out for the Galatian region
This region has already recieved Paul’s letter and defense for salvation by faith and faith alone
Now Paul comes with the letter from Jerusalem church leaders and Silas as one of the represenatives
What an encouragement and bolstering this must have been for the clarity of the gospel of Jesus Christ
Acts 16:1-3 Paul meets Timothy in Lystra and wants him to come along!
They continue to the churches throughout Galatia delivering this news and encouragement
Luke pauses in Acts 16:5 and gives another summary in his writing...
So the churches were being strengthened in the faith, and were increasing in number daily.
There is nothing that compares when you see God working… it ignites the soul to want to see Him work all the more!
Imagine this trio excited about what God is doing, sitting by the fire in the evening and coming up with a plan… A REALLY GOOD PLAN!
Let’s take the gospel further!!!
BUT GOD… directed them different follow along Acts 16:6-8
They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; and passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas.
God’s Directs to Troas
God’s Directs to Troas
WHY??? Isn't that always the question? We are not told why; we are not told how; BUT GOD directed.
In Troas a couple things occur:
Luke joins the team!
God reveals His direction to Paul Acts 16:9-10
A vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” When he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
The gospel is going to Europe!
The gospel is going to Europe!
This is the birth of the church in Europe… God calls and they listen!
WOW GOD… if you are closing the doors elsewhere and opening this door this is going to be great!
First stop… Philipi
First stop… Philipi
This is a Roman Colony this was very precious to a city in these days… it meant special privileges and fewer taxes!
Ministered here not in a synagogue but by a river… all women, needed at least 10 Jewish men to have a synagogue
This is a very gentile city most likey
Lydia is the first convert and her household (FROM THYATIRA!!!!) AKA Asia!
A slave girl with an evil spirit of divination was following them in town declaring Acts 16:17-18
Following after Paul and us, she kept crying out, saying, “These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.” She continued doing this for many days. But Paul was greatly annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” And it came out at that very moment.
This lands Paul and Silas in prison… oh by the way after they were beaten without trial.
WAIT A MINUTE… didn't God open this door?
They pray & sing praises to God!
God frees them with an earthquake… Jailer is saved and his family… and the next day the leaders push them out of town! (Paul and Silas are Roman citizens)
It appears Luke stays behind and the others leave to:
Paul spend some time here preaching in the synagogue
Over their time the Jews get upset because MANY Jews and Greeks follow Christ!
Would it not be an amazing situation to upset the enemy because so many were turning to Christ!?
However they move on due to this in order to not stir trouble there for the believers...
There they go to the synagogue as well
Here there was an eagerness to learn! Acts 17:11-12
Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men.
You guessed it the Jews were not too happy run them out… BUT Silas & Timothy stay to minister further!
They only want to run Paul off. But Paul ask them to join as soon as possible.
Paul is now alone, pushed away from anywhere the people actually start to believe about Christ
Probably NOT how Paul had planned this trip
Paul’s heart breaks for the people… VERY religious BUT very LOST!!!!
After a compelling message of TRUTH… Paul moves on to Corinth
Paul is still alone… yet God brings in this season two who would become very close to Paul (Aquila and his wife Priscilla)
For a season Paul works with them as tentmakers then when Silas and Timothy join him he focuses on ministry full-time!
Many believers were coming from the gentiles there along with some Jews
This work involved people Titius Justus, Crispus, and many others
God also brings a season of rest for Paul… Acts 18:9-10 Paul spends some time here possibly up to 18 months
And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city.”
We believe it is while here that Paul after Timothy and Silas rejoin that Paul writes the Thessalonian church 1 & 2 Thessalonians
This journey is summed up rather briefly in Acts 18:19-22
They came to Ephesus, and he left them there. Now he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. When they asked him to stay for a longer time, he did not consent, but taking leave of them and saying, “I will return to you again if God wills,” he set sail from Ephesus. When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church, and went down to Antioch.
Paul for whatever reason does not spend a great deal of time in Ephesus
Possibly desired to observe the Passover
But then he goes DOWN to Antioch
Report God’s direction, leading, working, and HIS plan
God may say no to us (His leading)
God’s yes’s may not always be the easiest
God may call us to wait on Him, wait on others (God moments)
God’s use of others (God’s Family) we are not meant to do this alone
God is working (have eyes to see and get involved where God is working)
I wonder as Paul came to Jerusalem and no doubt shared with the church there all God had done, if James heard him share and remembered as he wrote James 4:13-15
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”
Plan to serve the Lord people… yet hold those plans loose enough for Him to direct!