Summary: God’s Calling - Acts 16

Acts 16 – Paul is Called to Europe and to the Gentile World


When George B. McClellan was commissioned Major General of the Army, he wrote his wife, "I don’t feel any different than I did yesterday. Indeed, I have not yet put on my new uniform. I am sure that I am in command of the Union Army, however, because President Lincoln’s order to that effect now lies before me."

J.Kirk Johnston, Why Christians Sin, Discovery House, 1992, p. 74.


Newspaper columnist and minister George Crane tells of a wife who came into his office full of hatred toward her husband. "I do not only want to get rid of him, I want to get even. Before I divorce him, I want to hurt him as much as he has me."

Dr. Crane suggested an ingenious plan "Go home and act as if you really love your husband. Tell him how much he means to you. Praise him for every decent trait. Go out of your way to be as kind, considerate, and generous as possible. Spare no efforts to please him, to enjoy him. Make him believe you love him. After you’ve convinced him of your undying love and that you cannot live without him, then drop the bomb. Tell him that you’re getting a divorce. That will really hurt him." With revenge in her eyes, she smiled and exclaimed, "Beautiful, beautiful. Will he ever be surprised!" And she did it with enthusiasm. Acting "as if." For two months she showed love, kindness, listening, giving, reinforcing, sharing. When she didn’t return, Crane called. "Are you ready now to go through with the divorce?"

"Divorce?" she exclaimed. "Never! I discovered I really do love him." Her actions had changed her feelings. Motion resulted in emotion. The ability to love is established not so much by fervent promise as often repeated deeds.

J. Allan Petersen.



Feelings come and feelings go

And feelings are deceiving;

My warrant is the Word of God,

Naught else is worth believing.

Attributed to Martin Luther, quoted in The Adversary, Mark Bubeck, Moody Press, p. 13.

1. God called Paul at a time when he had planned to re-visit the Jewish churches from his first missionary journey. Often God’s plan run counter to our own natural ways of thinking. His ways are always higher than our ways. (vs. 6,7)

2. God directed Paul to preach in the great city centers from Antioch to Ephesus, the capital of Asia Minor. The Lord’s plans usually involve a grand strategy that will help the gospel spread in the most effective, influential and productive places.

3. Paul was forbidden to go north so he could go northeast. There is often not a large difference between being out of the will of God versus being obedient to Him. (vs 6,7)

4. God used an extraordinary vision to reveal His will to Paul. Be open to multiple ways that the Lord may direct your paths. Paul may have thought it was a strange way to be led by God but he obediently received his orders. It is not always a matter of finding God’s will but waiting until the Lord reveals His will to us. Many of the non-christian religions of the world put an emphasis on finding God’s will as they stress man’s responsibility instead of relying on God’s sovereign ways, wonders and will. The apostles remembered Christ’s promise about guidance from the Holy Spirit. (John 16:13,24) The Spirit of God helps bring information, illumination, inspiration, conviction, love, faith, hope, power, perspective, identification, impartation of truth, and imputation of righteousness. The Lord is the ultimate one who provides the change in peoples’ hearts. Rely on the Lord to give blessings, benefits and guidance in all situations.

5. Spirit directed believers know how to distinguish between Satan’s hindrances and God’s closed doors. Only those who are consistently in the word of God and in close fellowship with the Holy Spirit have the ability to discern the difference. (Phil. 1:9 – “This is my prayer and that your love would abound more and more in real knowledge and depth of insight.” and Heb 5:14: “But solid food is for the mature who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”)

6. The man from Macedonia indicated the helplessness of the Greek intellect and the futility of Roman power. It also teaches us of how someone prayed with the realization that the Gentile Europeans were intellectually destitute, socially distressed, moral depraved and spiritually hungry. God answers the prayers of those insiders who are eager for change. (vs. 8,9) There are still billions of people who are crying out to be rescued from their sinful self, plight and lostness. Preach to hungry hearts knowing that there are many who long to know the truth.

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