6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: I would like to thank Pastor Jerry Shirley for sharing this series on Acts. It has been a blessing as well as a great help. I have used these for our church, as I spend my days caring for my dying father.

The Vision, The Venture, & The Victory Acts 16:6-15

Paul chose Silas as his ministry partner, and headed out on his 2nd missionary journey. The trip has barely begun when something interesting happens.

Look in verses 6-7. This happened because they were sensitive to the leading of The Holy Spirit.

We as individuals as well as corporately should be sensitive to the Spirit of God.

This should be our prayer every day, “Lord, I’ll go where You want me to go, I’ll be what You want me to be, I’ll do what You want me to do, I’ll say what You want me to say.”

Paul and Silas tried to go south into Asia, but God said no. When they tried to go north the Holy Spirit held them back.

They had just come from the east, so west was the only direction left. They headed west to the region of Troas and waited for instructions from God.

Psalm 37:23 “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord…”

I want you to understand that not only does God direct the steps of a person who lives in obedience to His Spirit but, if a person is sensitive to the Spirit of God, He also tells them when to stop.

Sometimes when God puts up roadblocks, He won’t use an audible voice, but sometimes there is a lack of peace inside or God will use outward circumstances to guide us. We often describe it as a door closing.

The worst thing we can do is kick it down the door He closed and barge thru anyway and I’ll tell you why.

If we insist on having our way God may do something that we won’t like in the end. He just might let us have our way!

We need to have God’s wisdom to know the difference between Satan’s hindrances and the Lord’s roadblocks.

Our disappointments are often God’s appointments! And when God closes one door he opens another.

That’s what happened in v. 9. Paul wanted to go one way and God said no. That brings us to the first point.

1. The Vision verses 9-10 He heard the “Macedonian Call” and they crossed

over into Europe. Had Paul and Silas not listened to the Holy Spirit, you and I would not have been given the opportunity to hear the gospel. As far as you and I are concerned, that’s the most important call that’s ever been made or answered!

Let me ask you something.

Have you seen the vision and answered the call?

Have you had a vision of your relatives walking toward the cliff that leads to hell? Have you answered their call—“come and help me!”?

Have you heard the call from broken homes—come and help us!?

Broken hearts/ruined lives/failing marriages/lost jobs? PLEASE come and help us!

Now, they may not come right out and say it that way. Those cries for help may be in the form of rebellion, but it’s a cry for help!

We all have a God-shaped void inside of us, and often people try to fill the void with things of the world. We think pleasure, sex, drugs and alcohol, material goods, achievement, money, relationships, and even good works and social involvement are going to fill the emptiness deep within!

But the only thing that can fill the God-shaped void is God!

While they are trying all these things they are really crying out, please come and help me!

Oh I wish each of us could catch the vision of people drowning in debt, despair, and corruption, crying out for someone to “come help us!”

Now, they may not see this because they are misled by the enemy of God and that’s why they aren’t beating down the doors of this church to get in here.

The church is like Noah’s Ark—people don’t believe or come near us unless their sky is falling!

But did you know it’s not their responsibility to come to us?

It’s really our responsibility to go to them.

I read about Evangelist Freddy Gage who told of visiting 2 churches back to back. This was a great lesson in opposites. He said that 1 church was dying, the other was growing and thriving.

The first had a big sign out front that said, “All welcome…come on in.” That was the dying church.

The other church was thriving, but it had no sign on the outside. Their sign was just inside the door and you could only see it from the inside, as you made your way out.

It read, “you are now entering the mission field”. That sign was saying, “go out and bring them in from the fields of sin!” You know, I do believe that’s what Jesus said! “go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in.”

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