Summary: THE FIRST CONVERT IN EUROPE (ACTS 16:9-16)
THE FIRST CONVERT IN EUROPE (ACTS 16:9-16)
Said a minister to his young people: "I want you to spend fifteen minutes every day praying for missions; but I warn you, it will be a very costly experiment." "Costly?" they asked in surprise.
"Yes, costly," he answered. When Carey began to pray for the conversion of the world, it cost him himself, and it cost those who prayed with him very much. ”
David Brainerd prayed for the dark-skinned savages, and, after two years of blessed work, it cost him his life. Two students in Mr. Moody's summer school began to pray the Lord to send forth more laborers in His harvest, and lo! it is going to cost our country five thousand young men and women who have, in answer to their prayer, pledged themselves to the work. You will find that you cannot pray for this work and withhold your labor, or your money, or your life itself."
Saul the persecutor of Christians from Acts chapter 7-8 became Paul the proclaimer of Christ from Acts chapter 8. It was in his travels that Paul became a leader, evangelist and missionary extraordinaire. In his first missionary Saul trip changed his name to Paul (Acts 13:9) in Cyprus (Acts 13:4) on his first stop, specifically in the second city of Paphos (Acts 13:9) after departing Salamis (Acts 13:5), possibly to use his Roman name in his overseas ministry to the Gentiles. Paul suffered munch on his first missionary journey, from persecution (Acts 13:50) to assault (Acts 14:5) and stoning (Acts 14:19). On his second missionary journey, without Barnabas, Paul risked more by crossing the ocean instead of ministering to the shore cities, but met a godly lady to partner with his team – a first female partner in his missioanry journeys.
God’s mission and mandate for the church is unchanged: make discples of all nations (Matt 28:19-20). How are you involved in God’s work in the world? Who have you taken and trained to be on your team? Why is the mission possible and what is the worth?
Recognize the Vision
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. 11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days. 13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.
Once a man rose in one of his meetings to give his experience. “I have been for five years on the Mount of Transfiguration,” he said.
Instantly Mr. Moody interrupted him by the sharp question, “How many souls did you lead to Christ last year?'
“Well, I don't know,” answered the surprised man.
“Have you led any?” then came sternly from the preacher.
“I-ah-don't know that I have,” said the man.
“Then,” snapped Mr. Moody, still more sternly, “we don't want that kind of mountain-top experience. When a man gets so high that he can't reach down and save poor sinners, there is something wrong.”
Acts is a book of visions, that occurs only once elsewhere in the Bible (Matt 17:9) but 11 times in Acts, twice in this chapter (vv 9, 10). Earlier in the book Ananias (Acts 9:10), Cornelius (Acts 10:3) and Peter (Acts 10:17, 12:9) all had vision, but for Paul it was a first (v 9), a far and foreign vision to distant cities and diverse cultures.
In the vision was a Macedonian man. According to a website, the travel from Troas (Acts 16:8) to Samothrace (v 11) was 70 miles by sea, and from Samothrace to Neapolis (v 11) was 70 miles on land, and Neapolis to Philippi was another 10 miles. The abrupt, adventurous but arduous trip to Samothrace was seven to eight hours long through scary, shaky, stormy waters. Bascially the traveler has to be fit, fresh and fearless, not frustrated, fatigued or frantic. My pastor in Hong Kong told how faint, helpless and miserable he was on a book cruise from Vancouver to Alaska. He and his wife was sick, stressed and stuck.