Summary: With our limited sight and insight, we trust in the One who has foresight and foreknowledge. We trust in God's providence.
Hello all. Hope that everyone is keeping well, physically and spiritually.
• Let’s honour the Lord together, faithfully, as we gather each week to worship Him, to read His Word and hear from Him.
• So let’s commit this time to God in prayer.
We are blessed, Lord to be able to come before You again. We are happy to and we want to. Glad to have your written Word with us, which is the source of wisdom and understanding, hope and strength for us.
We come with open ears and receptive hearts, Lord. Enlighten us to see your will and understand your ways, so that we will be not perturbed by all that is happening around us today, always remembering that You are seated enthroned as the Sovereign God of all creation and the Lord of our lives. We submit to you and trust you.
Bless all who are tuning in today. This we pray, in Jesus’ Name, AMEN.
Covid-19 has disrupted many plans and is still disrupting our plans today.
• Just this week, the Singapore-Hong Kong air travel bubble was postponed because of a spike in Covid cases in Hong Kong.
• Interruptions, disruptions, cancellations, closures are now the common words that we hear. Unexpected events do happen and can happen at any time.
• Yet with all these unpredictability and changes, we know that God is sovereign and He knows it all.
• Not only is He in control, He is still working out His purposes despite the changes.
We trust in the PROVIDENCE of God. That’s the theme I want to highlight from today’s text – Acts 16:6-15. Let’s read the Word of God.
6 Paul and his companions travelled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 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 travelled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.
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.
Chapter 16 records for us a couple of wonderful salvations, at the place called Philippi.
• Which incidentally wasn’t a place that Paul and Silas had in mind when they set off for the second mission trip.
• It was not their initial plan. God made it possible. We see the Spirit of God directing them to this place.
• And the result was the salvation of Lydia and her household, the deliverance of a slave girl tormented by an unclean spirit (in the section following) and the conversion of the jailor and all his family (which we will cover next Sunday).
All these took place by God’s providence! Let’s look at the circumstances leading to Lydia’s salvation.
• Lydia was a seller of purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, famous for its manufacture and use of purple dye.
• As a dealer, she travels between Thyatira and Philippi and sells her goods here.
• She was a worshipper of God, in order words, a Gentile God-fearer who worships the Jewish God, like Cornelius, but not knowing Jesus.
• Here in Philippi, there wasn’t any synagogue, because there were too few Jewish men to justify having one, so they gathered outdoors.
On the Sabbath, this group of women would gather outside the city gate and meet by the river bank.
• Being Sabbath, Paul and his team came looking for this “place of prayer” and found them.
• Paul shared the Gospel with them and “the Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.” (16:14)