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.