Summary: This sermon is a brief survey of Paul's Second Missionary Journey. I try to draw lessons from Paul's experiences that can apply to our journey with God.
A. Many years ago, a certain mountain man, by the name of Shorthorn Bill, had become a noted guide in the Montana Territories, but he decided to move to Colorado.
1. Having settled outside Denver, he again began working his trade as a trail guide, principally with wealthy easterners who were passing through the city.
2. On one such adventure, Shorthorn Bill was leading a party of railroad men out on the high range and, as he was still new to the place, he led them hopelessly astray.
3. After many days of travel, the party became belligerent, “You told us you were the best guide in Colorado,” they asserted.
4. Shorthorn Bill replied, “I am the best guide in Colorado, but I figure we’re in Wyoming now.”
5. I’m sure Paul felt that way on his missionary travels – he may have known something of Tarsus and Jerusalem, but they were in “Wyoming” now and he was in unfamiliar territory.
6. As we journey with God in our own lives, we will find God taking us in and out of unfamiliar territory, and we will need to learn to wait on God and to follow God’s leading.
B. Today, as we continue our sermon series: “Follow Me As I Follow Christ – A Journey with Paul,” I want us to do a brief survey of Paul’s second missionary journey.
1. Since this series isn’t intended to be a survey of the entire book of Acts, but is meant to be about the life of Paul and his walk with God, I want us to draw some principles from Paul’s missionary travels that apply to our own journey with God.
2. Then, Lord willing, in our next few sermons in the weeks to come, we will learn some overall principles from Paul’s preaching and his leadership.
C. I believe that God’s Word has been preserved for us, not merely as a collection of historical documents and geographical studies, but as a trustworthy guide – a place we can turn to for assistance in living our lives in ways that honor God.
1. In the pages of Scripture, God has given us models, like Paul – people, believe it or not, who are just like you and me.
2. None of the people of Scripture, except Jesus, were perfect, all of them were human, and sometimes sinful, and sometimes weak or faithless.
3. Nevertheless, people like Paul, despite the odds and challenges, tried to live their lives by faith, in obedience and with courage.
4. And as we will see in this brief survey, Paul was a Christian who journeyed well as he tried to follow God’s leading.
I. The Story
A. The second missionary journey begins from the same place as the first, from Antioch of Syria, but unlike the first journey, Paul has a new companion, a man named Silas.
1. Last week, we explored the rift between Paul and Barnabas over the issue of taking John Mark with them, and because they could not agree, Barnabas took Mark and went one direction and Paul took Silas and went in a different direction.
2. The Bible says: They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. (Acts 15:40-41)
3. Now you might be wondering where Silas came from and why Paul would choose him.
a. Silas first shows up in the text earlier in Acts 15:22 at the Jerusalem conference.
b. The Bible says: 22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, two men who were leaders among the brothers.
c. So if the Jerusalem leaders thought Silas was a good choice to accompany Paul and Barnabas to Antioch, then it is not surprising that Paul would choose him as a new partner for another mission.
B. The story continues in Acts 16: 1 He came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek. 2 The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. 3 Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4 As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers. (Acts 16:1-5)