Summary: Exposition of the planting of the church at Philippi and truths valuable for our infant church.
Many of the churches we read of the Apostle Paul’s foundational work in the book of Acts. When we turn the pages of history and take glance at this church some 40 years later, the church has become complacent spiritually. Not so with the church at Philadelphia. This church is praised for their perseverance and promised deliverance from the hour of temptation and to be made a pillar in the temple of God.
It is often the case that during the days of our journey, that changes occur. Changes within us, around us, to us and even because of us. Change can be good when it is the result of sanctification bringing holiness, goodness, love and maturity. However, change must be reflected upon so that we through careful diligence “keep the faith which was once delivered to the saints.” Where did your experience with God begin? Has it been some time? Has time molded the attitudes of complacency or has it kindled the joy of faithful service?
To move forward, you may need to first reflect back. There is power in embracing the discarded values of the past. The church at Philadelphia is a model of “how to start a church of brotherly love.” Reflecting on their ingredients can show us the foundational qualities that our ministry should be built upon. Their beginning was a fight, and out of that struggle came a persistence that maintained excellence a generation later.
I. THE CALL
A. THE CALL OF SOULS CRYING FOR HELP IN THE NIGHT (v9)
9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.
B. IMMEDIATE EFFORT TO GO STRAIGHT TO THE CHIEF CITY OF THE AREA THAT HAD CRIED FOR HELP (v 10-11)
10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.
11 Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis;
II. THE WORK
12 And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days.
13 And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.
A. ONE GOOD CONVERT — GENUINELY SAVED — IS A NEW CHURCH STARTED
14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.
15 And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.
III. THE WARFARE
A. DEMONIC DISTRACTION ON THEIR WAY TO PRAY (v 16-17)
B. TOLD THE TRUTH, BUT ANNOYED BY MAKING IT LOOK AS IF THEY WERE ASSOCIATED WITH HER
16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:
17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.
C. CONTINUED MANY DAYS (WHY?) v 18
D. IT GRIEVED PAUL
E. PAUL ADDRESSED NOT THE LADY BUT THE SPIRIT IN HER
F. SHE WAS IMMEDIATELY DELIVERED
18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.
G. HER MASTERS WERE MORE CONCERNED WITH THE MONEY THEY COULD MAKE FROM HER THAN THEY WERE ABOUT THE MIRACLE SHE HAD SEEN (THEY WERE USING HER)
19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,
IV. THE PERSECUTION
A. THEY HAD BEEN CALLED, SEEN SOULS SAVED AND DELIVERED, BUT THEN PERSECUTION HITS — THEY WERE STRIPPED, BEATEN, IMPRISONED AND CHAINED
20 And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,
21 And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.
22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.
23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: