Summary: Have you ever had the frustration of being in the middle of something you had planned only to be interrupted by someone needing your help? Paul was carrying out his plan for spreading the Gospel when God interrupts him with a call in the night for help.
Night Calls – A Call to Help
Introduction: Have you ever experienced the frustration of being in the middle of something you had planned to do only to be interrupted by someone who needed your help and assistance? The Apostle Paul was carrying out his plan for accomplishing the Great Commission when God had to interrupt him with a call in the night for help.
I. God directs His children by His spirit.
A. Romans 8:14 we read “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God”. Are you being led by the Spirit?
B. Acts 13:2-3 “As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them’ Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away”
C. The apostle Paul following the leading of the Holy Spirit journeyed to the churches that were planted on his first missionary trip. Paul, Silas and Timothy were passing through cities, strengthening the churches in the faith, as well as seeing daily increase in people being saved (Acts 16:4-5).
D. “I will seek the will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also. If the Holy Ghost guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.” – George Mueller
E. John 16:13 “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”
F. An old sailor repeatedly got lost at sea, so his friends gave him a compass and urged him to use it. The next time he went out in his boat, he followed their advice and took the compass with him. But as usual he became hopelessly confused and was unable to find land. Finally he was rescued by his friends. Disgusted and impatient with him, they asked, “Why didn’t you use that compass we gave you? You could have saved us a lot of trouble!” The sailor responded, “I didn’t dare to! I wanted to go north, but as hard as I tried to make the needle aim in that direction, it just kept on pointing southeast.” That old sailor was so certain he knew which way was north that he stubbornly tired to force his own personal persuasion on his compass. Unable to do so, he tossed it aside as worthless and failed to benefit from the guidance it offered. – copied
II. God’s direction is not always our direction.
A. Acts 16:6-7 “Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them.”
B. “Forbidden” - (Hindered, prevented) literally means to cut off, to cut short, to prevent, to restrain or to forbid by word or act.
C. Asia needed the Gospel, but this was not God's time. Asia was an important region and God would establish churches there but for now Paul was forbidden to speak there.
D. Paul was “forbidden” of the Holy Spirit to preach the Word in Asia, and not allowed “to go into Bythinia,”. He lived in the things of God close to the spirit world. His ear was trained and his heart tuned to hear what others less quiet, less loving, less obedient never could. A lady, asked how she knew the voice of the Spirit, answered, “How do you know your husband's step and your child's cry from the step and the cry of all others? I can not tell you how I know the voice of the Spirit, but it is as real to me as the voice of any person I know.” Another lady asked, “How do you know the voice of the Lord?” hesitated a moment when her little niece Rilla, then four years of age, said, “You hear Him in your heart, don't you, Aunt Abbie?” It was no puzzle to the little child that God should speak to His own. If we are “filled with the Spirit” and “live in the Spirit,” and “walk in the Spirit,” we shall have an intimate, personal knowledge of the Spirit as real as that of our dearest friend. - copied
E. Ephesians 5:18 “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit”