Summary: To serve God well, we need to do many things; the most basic things are simple concepts: being led by God and reaching out to others.
The Change of Plans That Changed History
1. A guy goes in for a job interview and sits down with the boss.
The boss asks him, “What do you think is your worst quality?”
The man says “I’m probably too honest.”
The boss says, “That’s not a bad thing, I think being honest is a good quality.”
The man replies, “I don’t care about what you think!”
2. Sometimes we all need to make adjustments to succeed in life. Many times we learn through negative experiences what to adjust; our changes are reason-driven.
3. As followers of Christ, however, we often make changes based upon what God says. God’s Word demands a certain behavioral change, for example. Sometimes the change is produced when the HS opens our eyes and convicts us in an area of our lives. On yet other occasions, God makes His particular direction for us through the leading of the Holy Spirit, even though we may mistake the Spirit’s leading, at times, for the leading of our own human spirit.
Main Idea: To serve God well, we need to do many things; the most basic things are simple concepts: being led by God and reaching out to others.
I. LED by God: Sometimes Reason Tells Us To Head East, But God Wanted Him to Head WEST (6-10).
A. Our world today would be very DIFFERENT if Paul had headed east.
B. Paul was STOPPED by the Spirit. (restraint)
1. How did the Spirit stop Paul?
2. Has the Holy Spirit every stopped you from doing something?
3. They started off in Southeast Asia minor and arced upward to northwest Asia minor….God will leading them, but where?
4. Sometimes we know what God doesn’t want us to do, but we don’t know what He wants us to do; for that, we must wait!
C. Paul was clearly DIRECTED in a positive direction. (constraint)
1. How dependable are visions?
2. Does God ever give visions today?
3. When someone who is mentally stable, theologically sound, and not experience-driven has a vision, it is worth considering. Never infallible.
D. God’s will and WISDOM often go together, but not always!
E. Paul obeyed without DELAY.
1. For most of us, even delayed obedience is pretty good. Remember Jesus parables of the two sons? (Matthew 21:28-32).
2. Immediate obedience is a sign of a more fully surrendered life.
F. Do we allow God to CHANGE our plans? Do we seek God’s WILL?
II. Reaching Out: Believing God PREPARES People to Accept Christ (11-15).
• We may spend too much time trying to convince skeptics and too little time looking for people who are open to the Gospel.
• Notice the word “we” in verse 11. Luke joins the team at this point.
• They go from the edge of Asia minor to the edge of Europe (Greece), traveling 150 miles in two days at sea (good winds).
A. Paul went to the IMPORTANT city of Philippi (11-12).
A ten mile walk from the seaport of Neapolis.
Philippi named after Philip of Macedonia and a Greek colony, now a Roman colony.
B. He always tried to reach the JEWISH population first. Why? (13)
1. Jesus the Jewish Messiah; expanded, but begin with God’s covenant people.
2. When the Jews believe, Jesus returns (Acts 3:19-20).
3. Jewish converts had a great background and more prone to early leadership.
4. No synagogue (need ten men)
C. Lydia becomes the FIRST believer (14-15)
1. Probably a successful business woman (sales for Thyatira)
2. A God-fearing gentile (partial convert to Judaism)
3. Her family members also believed (servants, children; perhaps widow?)
4. She insisted upon housing Paul, Silas, and Timothy.
5. If you need something to be done, as a busy person.
6. Often when a fruit or vegetable is ripe for picking, it comes off the vine or tree easily and naturally. Same thing when people are ready to believe.
7. I Timothy 2:10, “For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory.”
D. It takes EFFORT to support God’s Kingdom workers.
• Hospitality was an important issue in an era before hotels and restaurants.
• Most of us schedule life to the hilt with work, fixing up our homes, and a limitless assortment of hobbies, dvds, and interests; can be good.
• But putting God first means prioritizing spiritual matters high on the list.
• You don’t attend church, for example, only if you have nothing else going on.
• You try to guard your time for spiritual matters, not just what’s left over.
• The idea of “Seek FIRST” the Kingdom of God.
E. Lydia serves as an example of someone who used her HOME for God’s Kingdom.