Summary: Following God is not always easy, sometimes we have to wait awhile before we see prayers answered.



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#1 - In Delays and Detours

The story of Paul coming to Philippi really is the story of 2 arguments and a change of plans.

We find the story behind the letter of Philippians starts, not in Acts 16, where Paul goes to Philippi, but in Acts 15:

[Tell the story]

> Conflict over the Gentiles

The Jersualem Council - the argument about new Greek converts; Paul & Barnabas are asked to deliver that decision back to the believers in the area around that Greek church planting center, Antioch.

The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:


24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.


30 So the men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter. 31 The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message. 32 Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers. 33 After spending some time there, they were sent off by the believers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them. [34] [d] 35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord.

The Division with Barnabas -

Over John Mark

36 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, 38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. 39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord. 41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

Who was right? yes. :)

Paul was probably right at the time about John Mark not being ready for what was next. This journey actually ends up being much more dangerous than the last one. A lot of the major things like being stoned, beaten, etc... that's on this journey!

Barnabas of course was right that JM needed another chance.

(Paul comes around to agree later... "bring John Mark with you, because he is helpful to me in the ministry.")

So Paul chooses Silas, and goes. He meets Timothy and adds him to the team. (So eh's not anti-youth. :) )

16 Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was Jewish and a believer but whose father was a Greek. 2 The believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. 3 Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4 As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.

He might have missed the chance to add Timothy to the team (who later becomes like a SON to him, and incredibly helpful -- "I have no one else like him") if he hadn't split with Barnabas!

God was up to something.


6 Paul and his companions traveled 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.

Several points I brought out:

We don't know how long it was that they were stuck with no definite direction from the Lord before the vision:

You have to trust God in the time between when God says "no" and when God says "go."

That can be a really hard season... hard to have patience and peace.

But my main point tonight:

Peace and patience comes from believing that God is up to something for your good and his glory in all your delays and detours.

Look at the good that came out of this:

> Philippians (so many classic verses, and here we are 2000 years later being blessed by it!)

> The first church planted in Europe

> New team members