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The Macedonian Call. Acts 16:6-10

17/11/2020

The Macedonian Call.

Acts 16:6-10

When we finished in our last study, we had found that the band of two missionaries, Paula and Silas had expanded.  A young man called Timothy had been added.  What happens next is of huge importance to us, as European believers!  

Europe is reached with the Gospel

1 Sometimes, God Closes DoorsActs 16:6-8

Paul, Silas and Timothy are travelling through Asia Minor, making their way through the Roman provinces of Galatia and Phrygia.  Then a decision needs to be made,  Would they turn left, and go into the small Roman province of Asia (capital was Ephesus), or would they turn right, and go to Bithynia?  But they are forbidden from entering either of those districts.  Acts 16:7-8. We want to ask, how and why?  How did God speak to them, and why were those doors closed to them?

  • How would God have conveyed these messages to them?  Kent Hughes calls this, “Direction through restraint.
    • Sometimes it seems that we just don’t have any peace of mind about a course of action.  We just cant make our minds up, we are troubled and there’s no certainty at all.  Perhaps that is the Lord, directing our paths.  I don’t pay a lot of heed to feelings for they are, of course, subjective and highly variable.  BUT THEN AGAIN,  look at 2nd Corinthians 2:13 
    • Life’s circumstances.  One or two of the commentaries I’ve read on this passage suggest that Paul was suffering from ill health, and must have been laid aside for a time, for at this point in the narrative they are joined by Luke who now speaks of the next stage of the journey in the first person.  Could Paul be unwell at this point?    Sometimes God does lay us aside for a purpose!
    • How does God speak to us today?  God speaks to us through his word, and we simply obey that message, and apply it, knowing that Holy Sprit within us will guide our hearts and our thoughts and bend and mould our broken, submissive wills to his sovereign will. In his providence, God directs our footsteps, and we often don’t even know his providential guidance until we look back over life and see with wonder, his marvellous plan being outworked.    1 Samuel 7:12.  
  • But WHY would God have forbidden them?  Why would God prevent these missionaries from preaching the word in places where the gospel is greatly needed?
    • There are very practical reasons!  One person can’t be everywhere!   
    • Perhaps God had another man for those work, someone chosen and prepared for that task.
    • Perhaps the people in these areas had not yet been spiritually prepared to receive the Gospel.  We know from the teaching of Jesus that the good seed only takes root and grows when it falls on ground that has been previously prepared.  Luke 8:5-8  

We do not know perfectly the mind of God.  We simply yield to him, in surrender to his will.  It was that simple faith and trust in God that must have enabled Paul to continue throughout his arduous missionary journeys, in sickness and discouragement and beatings and shipwrecks.  Philippians in 1:12 There is one other reason, and it is perhaps the most important of all.  In Greece and further away in Europe, there are…

2 Sinners Aching to Hear the GospelActs 16:8-9. 

Now, we come to a very important and very unique incident indeed.  Paul’s next assignment was delivered by a very different form of guidance indeed, by a form of direct revelation.  See…

  • The location.  Troas.  Matthew Henry claims that this town is at or near the site of the ancient city of Troy.  Troas is also mentioned in 2nd Corinthians 2:12-13.
  • The vision.  Now, at Troas, Paul has a vision.  
    • Time.  The vision occurred during the night.  ‘της νυκτος’ – It may have been a dream.  But see:-
    • Person.  There was a man of Macedonia, standing before Paul in this vision.  How did he know this man was from Macedonia?  Was he thinking about Alexander, the embodiment and symbol of the Macedonian race? God can use anything, even history, to open our hearts and our minds, to make us aware of others and their needs.  How many times have you read an article or seen a programme about some great need in the world, maybe a famine or a war, or natural disaster, and felt led to do something, contribute to a fund, or send help.  This was a man of Macedonia, and it left an impression on Paul’s mind.  
    • Message.  ‘Come over and help us!’  What a great invitation!  The Macedonians needed the gospel, and they needed help.  The greatest help we can give to others is to share the good news of Jesus with them, before they go into a lost eternity.  
    • Destination. Macedonia was a thriving area of Greece at that time, with Roman cities, like Philippi and Thessolonica, and macedon was the gateway into Greece itself, to Athens ad Corinth, and it is filled with sinners, who are fearful of death, who are worshipping idols, who are living in hopelessness, who are crying out for some good news!

Finally then:-

3 Urgently Seeking the Lost. Acts 16:10

  • The sense of urgency.  Immediately, they sought how they might travel to Macedonia.  There is no delay.  Travel to Macedonia from Troas involves a journey by sea.  Paul. Silas, Timothy, and now Luke too, must have made their way to the docks and booked a passage right away.  When we know that God calls us to a work, there must be no delay!
  • The conclusion of clarity.  Now there is an interesting, but obscure Greek word in verse 10.  It’s translated in most English translations as ‘concluding.’  It’s virtually unpronounceable!  It seems to imply that they reached a decision on the meaning of the vision, and the Macedonian cry for help, on a collegiate basis.  Paul wasn’t a pope!  He was an apostle, a missionary, and Silas and Luke and Timothy all seemed to have a say in this decision.    
  • The certainty of purpose.  They were going to preach the Gospel.  They were missionaries.  They had a primary purpose, to rescue sinners from a lost eternity.

So, another new mission field has been opened up.  The missionaries are on the way to Europe, to bring the glorious gospel to US! To Europeans. Acts 16:11  

© BobMcEvoy November 2020

From → Acts, Sermon Notes

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