Summary: Start of the 2nd missionary journey - Powerpoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:


(1). A New Partner (15:40-41):

(2). A New Helper (16:1-5):

(3). A New Vision (16:6-10)

(4). A New Convert (16:11-15)



• One day when C.S. Lewis was in the tool shed in his garden.

• And he noticed a sunbeam shining across the shed.

• And it was showing up the dust particles.

• He must have seen the same thing many times before,

• But this time he was captivated by it.

• So he traced the beam of light to the crack at the top of the closed door of the shed.

• But what struck him was that although it appeared to be coming from the crack,

• It was really coming from a blazing star 90 million miles away!

• Squinting up the beam carefully so as not to burn his eyes,

• He followed the beam through the crack in the door,

• Through the leaves of a tree outside and beyond to its magnificent source.

• Lewis thought to himself how different it was looking along the beam to its source;

• Than it was looking at the beam in his tool shed.

Transition: As we join the apostle Paul in Acts chapter 16:

• The situation is like that tool shed;

• The door to the gospel is shut – people are in darkness;

• But Paul like that shaft of light is about to bring light into a dark situation.

• Paul would have enthusiastically agreed with the words of Robertson McQuilken:

• From his book ‘The Great Omission’:

• “In a world in which nine out of every ten people are lost,

• Three out of every four have never heard the way out,

• And one of every two cannot hear, the Church sleeps on.

• Could it be we think there must be some other way?

• Or perhaps we don’t really care that much”.

• Well you can be sure of this - the apostle Paul cared;

• And so should we!

Our title for this morning’s passage is: ‘When opens doors close’.

• Paul is embarking on his second missionary journey;

• And he probably started out with similar expectations to his first missionary journey.

• If you can cast your minds back to Acts chapter 14 verse 27:

• We read:

“On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.”

• The first missionary journey was marked out by open doors;

• This second missionary journey would be marked out by closed doors.

• The apostle Paul had high hopes of evangelising Asia;

• But God had other ideas.

Quote: the comedian Woody Allen who said:

“If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.”

• The quote humours reminds that our plans often do not work out the way we want.

• Now the intentions and ambition of the apostle Paul were very genuine and good;

• But God had different plans both for him and for Asia.

• The first missionary journey may well have been marked out by open doors;

• But this second missionary journey would start out with closed doors.

(1). A New Partner (15:40-41):

• The background to these last few verses of Acts chapter 15 (verses 36-41);

• Is that Paul and Barnabus have had a disagreement, a difference of opinion.

• I guess we ought to be encouraged that even Bible greats did not have it all together!

• And although we often put these individuals on a pedestal;

• We must never forget that the best of men are only men at their best.

• The result of the disagreement is that they decide to separate and go their separate ways;

• Both take with them new partners to assist and help them;

• Barnabus takes Mark and Paul takes Silas.

“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”.


• There are often two ways of looking at the same set of facts.

• A teacher took a worm and dropped it in a glass of beer.

• You won’t be surprised to know that it died.

• Then she took another worm and dropped it in some orange juice.

• It swam around and jumped out of the glass full of vigour;

• And slowly crawled out of the classroom.

• The teacher asked Johnny, "What does that teach us?"

• He replied, "If you've got worms you should drink beer."

Whenever I talk to someone about a disagreement, a difference of opinions:

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