Summary: Kids may disagree with their parents, but if we can teach them to trust us and obey, we help them set a pattern to listen and respond to the heavenly Father. Our complete obedience to the Lord allows Him to accomplish His purposes in and through us.
Blessings of Obedience
Text: Acts 16:9-40
Intro: Paul, Silas, Timothy, and probably Luke worked as a team to share the good news about Jesus in several different cities. God gave purpose and direction to this missionary team; they obeyed God and traveled to Philippi where God had prepared the way for several people to be saved.
-Most of the time we don’t know what God is up to when He asks us to do something. It requires a high level of trust for us to act when we do not understand. And yet, without that kind of faith it is impossible to please God. Sometimes coaches make calls we don’t agree as parents, players, or spectators don’t agree with. But a wise coach knows the big picture and has reasons for what he asks of his players. And for a team to accomplish its goals, they need to learn to listen to their coach and do what he or she asks. Same with kids and parents. Kids may disagree with their parents on various things, but if we can teach them to trust us and obey, we are helping them set a pattern to listen and respond to the heavenly Father.
Prop: The main thought I’d like to present today is this: Our complete obedience to the Lord allows Him to accomplish His purposes in and through us.
Interrogative Sentence: Now, what is involved in total obedience to what God wants?
T.S.: As we follow this narrative of Acts 16, we can see at least 5 relevant keys to obedience that are applicable to our lives.
1. Obeying God Requires Action (Acts 16: 9-12)
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. 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.”
-God uses various means to speak to His people. He may use dreams, visions, and on rare occasions, angels. He may use His word (the Bible), or the still small voice of the HS. God may use other people to confirm his message to us. Whatever He chooses to use, it is our responsibility to take action and obey what He has revealed to us.
-Notice that God’s direction does not always come in the form of a command. After Paul saw the vision, Luke says they concluded that God had called them to go to Macedonia, esp. to Philippi and preach the gospel to the people there. Sometimes God shows us a need, and expects us to take action on it. The key is staying in touch and in tune with Him so we know what He really wants from us. However, it is essential that we act on God’s word to us, and not simply hear it and sit on it.
T.S.: When we are willing to be doers and not only hearers of what God is saying to us, we can see what happens in the next point.
2. Obeying God Produces Results (Acts 16:13-15)
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. 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. 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.”
-Now, because Paul and his companions were willing to travel to Philippi to share the gospel, we see that someone is saved as a result of it.
-Paul’s normal approach to sharing the gospel in a city was to go to the synagogue(s) and discuss the OT message with the people there first. He would show them from Scripture that Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of the OT prophecies of the coming Messiah. Then he would go to other key places in the city, such as the market place or wherever he could find people.
-Philippi was primarily a Gentile-populated city, but there were a number of Jews and God fearing people there. Scholars differ on whether this place of prayer they expected to find down by the riverside was an outside place to sit and pray or talk, or if it was actually a synagogue. Some believe it was a synagogue, because with all of the Jewish customs of ritual washings and baptisms, the riverside would be a convenient location for a synagogue, which was also a place of prayer. Regardless, they did find some women who had gathered there at the place of prayer, and they shared Christ w/ them.