Summary: God may not always lead to the most ideal place, but it is the BEST place.
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#2 - Light in the Darkness
POWERPOINT SLIDE 1 - title
POWERPOINT> SLIDE 2 - roman world
Acts 16:6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia.
POWERPOINT> SLIDE 3 - Pauls missionary Journey
7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.
8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas.
Last week we talked about the delays God sometimes puts in our way. Trust Him, even when he says "no" to what you thought was best.
And when Paul and his companions wait... they are in that awkward time between when God says "NO" and when God says "GO."... they are rewarded for their trust with a message:
9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us."
10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day on to Neapolis.
A seaport about 13 miles from Philippi...
12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.
POWERPOINT> SLIDE 4 - aerial view
Paul strategically focuses on the cities.
This one is
about 15,000 people POWERPOINT> SLIDE (from acropolis)
(was large in day when Roman empire was 65 million)
a city of wealth and influence. POWERPOINT> SLIDE acropolis
Due to the gold mines POWERPOINT> SLIDE - shops
Due to the Roman retired soldiers SLIDE 8 - forum
SLIDE 9 - Theater
Due to being on the Via Egnatia POWERPOINT> SLIDE 10
THey also had -- PUBLIC TOILETS. :) - 2 SLIDES
Paul's first action is to find out how much light there is in a city... what do they know? Are there some sincere followers of God who are Jewish here? Is there any fear of the Lord, any knowledge of his law? Does anyone know the Old Testament?
These are valuable things, because if you're going to start a church, finding a person who has influence with local people and can be a leader, and who has some basic education in the things of God can be a real boost....
13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there.
POWERPOINT> SLIDE - River
Apparently such a city of pagan darkness that there are literally not enough Jews to build a synagogue. Jewish tradition was that there had to be 10 Jewish men to build a synagogue. Apparently, there were not even that many in a city of 15,000.
14 One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message.
POWERPOINT> SLIDE - church built
15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. "If you consider me a believer in the Lord," she said, "come and stay at my house." And she persuaded us.
A beautiful moment. The first recorded Christian in Europe - not Asia, or the Middle East.
She's a strong, independent, business-minded woman who owns her own shop.
She persuaded us.... she strongly begged them.
16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.
in Greek "spirit of Python" - divination.
POWERPOINT> SLIDE - Oracle of Delphi
Boy they are hitting the darkness head on.
17 This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved."
This would get annoying after a while.
18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!" At that moment the spirit left her.
19 When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities.