Summary: God leads. God leads us to where He wants us to be. Therefore watch where you are, and be the instrument that God can use to accomplish His purposes.
1. God LEADS… are we following?
Paul has chosen Silas as his partner for the 2nd missionary journey. He also took Timothy along this time.
• Something interesting happens in 16:6. They were in the region of PHRYGIA but they were ‘kept by the Holy Spirit’ from moving into the province of ASIA (SW).
• Luke did not tell us how it happened. It could be a sense of unrest or some form of obstacle.
So Paul and his companions went up North to MYSIA.
• And when they tried to move further North into BITHYNIA, again Luke said “the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.” (16:7) So they passed by MYSIA and went down to TROAS.
• This was the farthest Paul had travelled. On his FIRST journey with Barnabas, they had only reached Antioch in Pisidia and then headed back.
Now they were at TROAS, at the edge of AEGEAN SEA and Paul had a vision – a Macedonian man calling him to come.
• He was convinced that it was God directing them again, to move on further to the West.
• Acts 16:10 “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.”
God guides. God will guide. God wants to guide you.
• It is very obvious from Paul’s experience that God guides, and He can guide by closing doors.
• We do not know what exactly those road blocks were but obviously God did not open those routes they had originally planned.
It doesn’t matter, if you really trust that God leads. You can have your plan, but God can re-direct you.
• A closed route, a closed path, can be God’s way of telling you, that’s not the way I want you to go.
• Prov 19:21 “Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.”
• Psalm 37:23 “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord…”
Remember Connie, Wendy’s friend, who came last Christmas’ party and eventually accepted Christ? She has been attending fellowship group at the workplace and a colleague is now helping her with bible study.
She wanted to get to a church on Sundays. Coming here will be too difficult for her. She texted me last Tue and said that she managed to get to a nearby church, Hebron Bible-Presbyterian Church. They use English Standard Version (ESV) and she asked me if this is alright, because she uses an NIV bible, which she prefers. She also asked if this church is fine.
I assured her they are alright, and thought I can take a look at where she stays and see what some nearby churches. I found Covenant EF church and said this is another church she can visit. That was Tuesday.
On Wed she had the bible study with her colleague in the office, and she told her that she is looking for a nearby church and may try out Covenant EF church. To her surprise, the friend said, “That’s my church!” What a coincidence, she texted me to tell me. She said God has been good to her.
God guides. God will guide, if you seek Him. God wants to guide you.
2. God Leads You to WHERE He Wants You to Be…
WHY? There is a greater purpose. There is a more rewarding reason. And we see that reading it today.
• God leads us to where we NEED to be, not where we want to be.
As a result of the vision, Paul and his team went further on to the West and reached Philippi.
• When the first got there, they met a group of women by the riverside, having a prayer meeting (an expected place of prayer, Luke says). Lydia was a worshipper of God (v.14)
• Although the group was small, it turned out to be history in the making. The church of Philippi was founded in Lydia’s house and that became the first church in Europe.
If you continue to read on this chapter (Acts 16), more lives were saved.
• First it was Lydia and her household – they heard Paul’s message by the riverside and were later baptised.
• Then we have a slave girl delivered from a fortune-telling spirit, in the name of Jesus (v.18).
• And finally we see the jailor and his entire family. He was probably the one that has the least chance of hearing the Gospel, yet he heard it - right where he was, in the prison itself.
Now you see why God leads us WHERE He wants us to be? He has a greater purpose, a more rewarding plan.
• We won’t see it until we first OBEY His call and go where He tells us to go.