Summary: Praising God in all our tribulations. Breaking the cell walls with our attitude!
Date: September 25, 2011
Scripture: Acts 16:16-40
from the series Acts
Now, let me take a minute or two to remind you of the setting of our text.
• Remember from last week this is 2nd missionary journey
• Paul and his team members wanted to share the Gospel in parts of the Asian continent-but God had closed the doors.
Then, prompted by a vision of a man from Macedonia they went through the only open door to them and set sail for the European continent.
Acts 16:11 says that when they put out to sea in the Aegean they, "sailed straight" and the Greek here is a nautical term for "sailing before the wind."
There was no tacking back and forth required.
The wind blew them straight Europe/people/Macedonia.
God not only opened the door
He gently "blew" them through it!
This is a further reminder that if God calls us to do something, He will providentially open all the necessary doors.
He'll always "grease the wheels" and "fill the sales" to make it possible for us to do His will.
And with His help these four missionaries sailed quickly to Samothrace
Then caught another ship to the port city of Neapolis
then walked ten miles inland to the city of Philippi
A very important Roman town in Macedonia.
In fact, Philippi was a very loyal Roman colony.
The military, economic, and political center of the area.
The townspeople had earned their citizenship by helping Caesar Augustus defeat his enemies-Brutus and Cassius- in 42 B.C.
Since then it had evolved into a very "Roman" city
o Populated with retired Roman soldiers and their families
o They brought with them/customs/architecture/Rome itself.
Because of this Romans back then thought of Philippi as sort of a "Rome away from Rome!"
Its citizens were proud Romans and they were also thankful for their Roman roots because Augustus had rewarded the residents of Philippi by exempting them forever from taxes.
Think what this did to property values!
Surely everyone wanted to move to Philippi!
Well, Paul and his three companions walked into this very Roman city
The first followers of Jesus Christ ever seen by anyone in that part of the world.
Well, Paul's usual church-starting tactic was to go to the synagogue.
Remember that last week I told you this is why he had Timothy circumcised.
Otherwise he would not have been permitted in a synagogue.
So, when they arrived in Philippi they inquired and discovered this city had none.
This indicates there were not many Jews living there because to have a synagogue you had to have at least ten men.
Well, Saul knew that any Jews who did live there would customarily gather near a river for prayer on the Sabbath.
So he went down to the banks of the nearby Gangites river and found God fearing women gathered for this purpose.
Their leader was/Lydia/she earned her living/selling purple cloth.
This color of cloth was very expensive to make
• It only came from shellfish and the “maddor” root plant.
• she apparently had no shortage of customers because Lydia was wealthy enough to have a good sized house a house big enough to provide space for the new church start
Okay, with this in mind, let's look at what happened next.
1. First of all, we see Satan’s efforts to patronize the gospel, and it’s results,
2. then the conversion of the Phillippian Jailer;
3. Third, the deliverance of the apostle and his companion from prison.
4. And then what can God teach us through these examples?
So what happened here? Dr. Luke diagnosed this slave girl as being demon-possessed.
This demon gave the girl the power to predict the future-for a fee of course
she was known for the accuracy of her predictions
This brought her owners a steady source of income
Everyone back then was willing to pay to discover their future.
Some things never change!
Well, I think we should all note that not everything in fortune-telling is fraud or humbug.
If you've seen or heard someone like this Philippian girl, who gets it right when it comes to talking to the dead or telling the future-
Then you can be sure this is a demon-powered thing.
Any form of psychic predictions or astrology is not of God and we should stay far away from it.
"The incident shows how Satan frequently parades as an angel of light, especially under the guise of alleged religiosity."
The demon inspired this girl to say, that Paul and his companions were servants of the most high God
Something that also repeatedly happened during Jesus' earthly ministry.