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Acts Chapter 16  

 Memory verses for this week:   2 Th 3:4  And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you.

2 Th 3:5  And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.


Introduction:     In Chapter 15 , we saw Paul and Barnabas travel down to Jerusalem to help settle the issue about the Gentiles being taught by certain men that they must be circumcised and keep the law of Moses in order to be saved.  They had never taught this in Antioch or any place they had preached.  This was settled and great joy came on the church when the truth was broadcast to all the churches.   The chapter closed with Paul leaving on a missionary trip with Silas while Barnabas left with John Mark on his missionary work.  We discussed earlier how that Paul and Barnabas were at odds about John Mark because he had left the first trip without completing the work.  God used this to accomplish even more in the work.   And ultimately, Paul and John Mark became great friends and worked together to spread the Gospel.


I.  The Call of Timothy

 Acts 16:1  Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek:

Acts 16:2  Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium.

Acts 16:3  Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.

 Paul had visited Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe on his previous missionary journey and the people there had wanted to worship he and Barnabas as gods.  Later on, they totally switched their feelings and endeavored to stone Paul to death.

(Acts 14:11-19)  On this second trip, we see the brethren commending Timothy who had been converted through Paul.   The church believe that Timothy was called of God to give his life in the ministry of the word.

 We see in Paul’s letter to Timothy, he calls Paul his son in the Lord.

 1 Tim 1:18  This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;


There are several things pointed out about Timothy in these verses.  His mother was a Jewess, but his father was a Greek.  We see that Timothy had a good report from the brethren there in Lystra and Iconium.   We find in verse 3 that Timothy had been circumcised in order that he might not be thought of as well with the Jews who were strong in the traditions and laws of the Old Testament.   We know his mother’s name was Eunice and his grandmother’s name was Lois due to the record II Timothy 1:5.


2 Tim 1:5  When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.

2 Tim 1:6  Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.

2 Tim 1:7  For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.


We see from these scriptures and the earlier one in I  Timothy that Timothy had been instructed in the scriptures from a child, and was saved under Paul’s ministry.  When you are instrumental in leading someone to the Lord, it gives a special love between you and that individual.   Several of our members here in our church have come to know the Lord due to our witnessing on visitation, and I have a deep love for each of them and a close bond that I don’t think will ever be broken.  We can give someone money or food, and tomorrow they will possibly need more.  But with salvation, it is eternal, and no greater gift could be shared as Paul did with young Timothy.


Acts 16:4  And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.

Acts 16:5  And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.


As they traveled through the cities, they delivered unto the brethren the decisions which had been reached by the apostles and officers of the church there in Jerusalem.  They were to keep these rules and follow them.


Acts 15:28  For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;

Acts 15:29  That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.


We see that the churches were established in the faith and increased in their number daily.  What a joy to see others come to know Christ as Lord and Savior.


II.                  The Spirit Guides Paul to Macedonia 

Acts 16:6  Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,

Acts 16:7  After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.

 Paul and his company had intended to go into Asia, but they were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the Word in Asia.   When the great commission was given, was it not to go into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature?  If so, why then was Paul not allowed to go to these specific places.  We do not always understand all things and God’s timing, but it appears that the people were not yet ripe for the gospel in Asia as they were in other parts.  Paul was tender to the leading to the Holy Spirit, and went exactly where God would have him to go.  Later on, we find Paul went to Ephesus, the chief city of Asia, and had great success and many were saved.

 Acts 19:1  And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,

Acts 19:2  He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

Acts 19:3  And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.

Acts 19:4  Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

Acts 19:5  When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Acts 19:6  And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

Acts 19:7  And all the men were about twelve.


In John Calvin’s commentary on Acts, he gives his opinion as to why Paul was not allowed to enter Asia at this time.  “Here there arises another, more difficult question: why did the Lord forbid Paul to speak in Asia, and why did he not allow him to come to Bithynia?  If we answer that these Gentiles were unworthy of the doctrine of salvation, we have to ask why Macedonia was more worthy.  Those who try to be exceedingly wise say that the distinction is because the Lord considers worthy of his Gospel those whom he sees to be ready to obey.  But God himself says something quite different—namely, that he appeared plainly to those who were not looking for him and that he spoke to those who were not asking about him.  Where do we get an aptness to be taught or a mind to obey but from His Spirit?  So it is certainly not by merit that some people are preferred before others; everyone is equally hostile to faith by nature.”  How true that we are all the enemies of God, and none are truly worthy of salvation.


Acts 16:8  And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.

Acts 16:9  And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.

Acts 16:10  And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.

Acts 16:11  Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis;


We see that Paul saw a man in a vision bidding him to come over to Macedonia to help them.  It says after this, they endeavoured to go there and to preach the gospel to them.  They board a ship in Troas and head for the country where God desired for them to go.   The we mentioned is all those with Paul, and we know that Dr. Luke had joined them, so there was at a minimum of Paul, Timothy, Silas, and Luke at this time.


III.                Paul and His Company in Philippi

Acts 16:12  And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days.

Acts 16:13  And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.  

I love how that these men moved immediately at the call of the Lord.  Too many times we question and slow the work of the Lord by our doubting or failure to respond.  We see that after they arrive in Macedonia, Paul and his companions come to the chief city of the country, Philippi.  When the Romans conquered the Greek empire, they divided this country into provinces, and made Philippi one of the chief cities and a colony.  We see that after several days, they went out to a prayer meeting outside of the city by the river.   This was a group of women, and we know Paul’s vision had been of a man calling.  But God does things sometimes in ways that we may not understand.

IV.               The first Soul saved in Europe 

Acts 16:14  And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.

Acts 16:15  And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us. 

Is it not unusual that the first person saved here in Europe is a traveler from Thyatira.  Lydia was a fine business woman and here business had taken her there.  But she worshipped God, and came out to this prayer meeting.  When Paul preached the gospel of Jesus to them, she opened her heart and was saved.  We see that immediately she was baptized after being saved which is the Lord’s desire.   She then offered her house for a place of lodgment for the missionaries. 


V.                 Demon is cast out by Paul 

Acts 16:16  And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:

Acts 16:17  The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation.

Acts 16:18  And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.

Acts 16:19  And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,

Acts 16:20  And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,

Acts 16:21  And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.


We see this certain young lady who had been purchased to make money for her master. (Verse 19)  People were demon possessed commonly in the early years of the church.   It still happens, and a record was given by J. Vernon McGee in his study on Acts.  “Don’t think this was just foolish superstition.  This girl was possessed by a demon.  We are seeing a resurgence of demonism in our own day.  I have before me now a letter from a Christian woman in El Paso, Texas. She got tied up in spiritism by just fooling around with it, not thinking that it was dangerous.  She has quite a story.  It was hearing the Word of God through our radio program that delivered her from it.  She cried out to God, and He delivered her.  Demonism is a reality.  This girl in Paul’s day was demon possessed. She was a slave girl and her master were using her to make a big profit.”    I want to add that it was unclear when this lady was saved in this account from Brother McGee.  If the lady was lost and then saved, I would put confidence in the story.  I personally don’t think any Christian can be demon possessed because the Holy Spirit comes and indwells in the believer, and God is greater than any demon and would never let a demon possess us.  But I do believe that demons still possess the lost, and only through Christ can we be totally rid of them.


We know that young lady saw Paul and his company for who they were… servants of the most high God that showed men the way of salvation.  We see by the name of Jesus Christ that Paul casts the evil spirit from the young lady.  Because of this good deed, the master of the lady caught Paul and Silas and brought them before the leaders of the city and accused them of making trouble.  When a man of God stands up and preaches against evil (whatever evil it is from alcohol, dancing, movies, gambling, homosexuality, fornication, etc.), be sure that it will trouble the city.  And God needs more men to stand up and take a stand in our nation today.  I saw in the headlines of the paper yesterday that the ACLU sent a letter to every high school in the state of Texas threatening them with a lawsuit if they had prayer before the football games.  It is a sad day when we let a so called liberties union dictate what we can do and say.  I praise the Lord for those who are standing up and ignoring the threats.   God help a nation that says on its coins, “In God we trust” and then turns around and commands that no one pray to that God.

Acts 16:22  And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.

Acts 16:23  And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:

Acts 16:24  Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.


We see that because they were so popular with the leaders, they were given an accommodation from the city and a free meal.   Far from it.. it says they beat them and laid many stripes upon them,  and put them in stocks.  Being on God’s side is not necessarily a fun and glamorous job.  But praise the Lord for those who are faithful unto the end.


VI.  Conversion of the Philippian Jailer

 Acts 16:25  And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.

Acts 16:26  And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.

Acts 16:27  And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.

Acts 16:28  But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.

Acts 16:29  Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,

Acts 16:30  And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

Acts 16:31  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Acts 16:32  And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.

Acts 16:33  And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.

Acts 16:34  And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

 We see that instead of sitting around and feeling sorry for themselves, they began singing praises to God.   Boy there is something magnetic about true Christian believers.  We live a way beyond the circumstances, knowing God is in total control.  A popular radio preacher said this week that we need to “Worry about nothing, and Pray about everything.”   I believe that is excellent advice.  Paul and Silas may have been hurting, but they were willing to suffer for their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  God sent an earthquake and loosed their bands and opened the prison doors.  The jailor was ready to kill himself, since he would be put to death for letting a prisoner escape.  But apparently those prisoners had gotten saved by the gospel.  Paul says to do himself no harm, for they were all still there.   If I’ve ever seen one common thing about prisoners, it is a sure thing that they will head out the door the moment they get a chance.  But the door was open, and they all stayed.  I believe Paul and Silas had a great effect on these men.  This jailer now asks about how to be saved… he knew these were no ordinary men.  And notice how simple and straight the message was… “Believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”  The gospel never has been complicated, although man makes it difficult with all his additions and requirements that are added.


VII.  Paul Refuses to Depart

Acts 16:35  And when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, Let those men go.

Acts 16:36  And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and go in peace.

Acts 16:37  But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out.

Acts 16:38  And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans.

Acts 16:39  And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city.

Acts 16:40  And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.

 When the rulers find out that Paul was a Roman citizen, they feared.  Free-born citizens of the Roman empire were entitled to trial and should never have been cast into prison uncondemned.  I think it is interesting to note that Paul could have called out that he was a Roman, and would never have been beaten.  But he did not, willing rather to suffer for the cause of Christ.  Oh that we might have that kind of love for the Lord.  After the magistrates came and brought them out of the prison, they went to the house of Lydia and then departed from the city.


Phil 3:10  That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

Phil 3:11  If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.


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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. 

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