Summary: Acts 16:4-10 - Given to an adult congregation.
Sunday, January 25, 2015
How many of you love taking a vacation? Nice to get away from the craziness of the world for awhile, maybe see some family you haven't seen in awhile, sleep in, eat whatever you want, not worried about what's going on back at home... Who are we kidding? That doesn't actually happen. Growing up, my family was really big on vacations. Like... It's not just a weeks vacation at grandma's in Oklahoma. It was 10-20 days of straight travelling. To give you an idea, I have been to 47 states at some point in my life, and we have driven to almost all of them. And yes... We did drive to the state of Washington and to Maine. There are always those things, or people, that make vacations unenjoyable. I was one of those... I am the kid that thought it necessary to walk outside to the car, right before the family vacation, with five people, 1 dog, and 1 minivan and I bring 5 of my own bags. You can count on me to set the mood! Maybe you've never had to deal with an unbearable person, but maybe just as you're past the point of being able to turn around you realize you forgot something really important at home, or your flight was changed because of bad weather, or a day into your trip your transmission goes out. Some of those things are minor, but others can change the whole course of your trip.. Today we're going to talk about a trip that did not go as planned, or as expected. First let's pray.
Begin with Prayer.
As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers. 6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 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.
Context & Background
One of my favorite things about preaching is to stop for a second after reading the text, and explain where we've been and where we are now, allowing the Word of God to become a roadmap for what it is that we're reading. If you've been with us for any length of time, we've been journeying through the foundation of the church, the body of believers that Christ died to save, in which Jesus holds true to His promise of resurrection and kind of leaves us hanging after He ascends to be with the Father. The Holy Spirit comes and soon after, the church is born and people begin to meet daily for teaching, prayer, and remembering who Jesus Christ is... Up until this point, we've seen how Peter and friends help lay the foundation of the church as they preach this message of new life in Christ Jesus, and we also come to a man named Paul, who was a former bad guy -- think of him as a corrupt politician who pretty much gets away with anything questionable, immoral, and illegal but actually believes he's right in doing all of these terrible things.
To keep you up do date on Paul, Jesus changed His life and now he's got to tell anyone, everyone, any where, and everywhere about the Messiah, King Jesus, who came to die for the sins of mankind... If we want to fast forward to where we've been recently, we learned of a dispute about circumcision -- which causes widespread panic in the church because of a claim that if you are not circumcised, then you're not saved.. so that issue was settled, and then we come to the parting of Barnabas and Paul which was fueled by a disagreement concerning a young hot and cold John Mark... Where we've come today is Paul's continued journey with Silas, Timothy, and others proclaiming the message that "You have been saved by the grace of Lord Jesus, because of your faith, not because you've been circumcised." And the church rejoices, is encouraged, and is put back on track to continue the message of the gospel. In verse 6, we find out that Paul and friends are mobile once again but some interesting things are about to take place... It's apparent that Paul was on his way to Asia, to take the gospel there... What better place? Booming people groups, huge cities like Ephesus and Sardis that have hotbeds of Jews that they can evangelize to... But it says the "Holy Spirit kept them from preaching the word in the province of Asia." How? We don't know... It could have been an avalanche in the mountains, illness, or maybe even a feeling prompted by the Holy Spirit. Nonetheless... They were redirected. Then they come to the border of Mysia, where they try to enter Bithnyia, but the Spirit of Jesus wouldn't allow them to go there either... All of these closed doors. Another bump in the journey.