Summary: This all shows that when we stubbornly disobey God • In those times when we willfully disregard His will • If we repent we can rediscover His guidance and rejoin Him in His work.
Where is the Spirit leading?
September 18, 2011
Scripture: Acts 16:1-15
I don't know if anyone's counting but we've been studying the book of Acts together now for about eight months and we've covered a lot of basic Christian truth.
1. We’ve learned about MISSIONS
o How the very first Christians obeyed our Lord's command and shared the Gospel, "in Jerusalem/Judea and Samaria and to the uttermost parts of the world." (Acts 1:8)
2. We've studied THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
• Looked @ events surrounding Pentecost Sunday.
• God gave His Spirit to Christians/empowered them to turn the world upside down.
3. We've looked/lives/SPIRITUAL GIANTS
• Christians like Peter and Stephen, Philip and Barnabas.
4. We even studied the GREATEST CONVERSION STORY OF ALL
• Saul, the persecutor of Christians who was turned into Paul, the world's greatest Christian missionary.
5. We have seen how GOD'S GRACE-FILLED LOVE EXTENDS TO ALL PEOPLE-Jew and Gentile alike.
6. We've studied THE POWER OF PRAYER
• When the whole church prayed for Peter in jail!
7. Last week we studied the importance of HOW TO DEAL WITH CONFLICT between Christians.
One more very important truth we have covered in our study of the book of Acts and it is this:
• God GUIDES and directs His people.
In fact, many scholars refer to the Book of Acts as "The Book of Guidance"
• Because there are so many examples of God's specific guidance recorded within its pages.
• the book begins with the apostles being GUIDED to go to Jerusalem and wait until they were empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Twice when apostles were imprisoned, God sent an angel to GUIDE them out of jail.
• In Acts 6, before appointing the first deacons, the apostles sought and received God's GUIDANCE.
• Philip was GUIDED by the Lord to a specific road where he met and ministered to an Ethiopian official.
• Because of that GUIDANCE the Gospel was taken to the African continent.
• Afterwards Philip was instantly transported/GUIDED to another place of ministry in Azotus.
• Ananias was GUIDED by God to go and pray for the persecutor Saul.
• God even gave him the exact address where Saul was.
• Peter was GUIDED to the house of that Roman Centurion, named Cornelius.
We could go on and on because, as I said, the book of Acts shows us over and over how God does indeed GUIDE His people through life.
It is just as Isaiah 28:29 proclaims,"The Lord of hosts is WONDERFUL IN COUNSEL and EXCELLENT IN GUIDANCE."
And the fact that God does guide and direct His people-
• Well, this should make our ears perk up because we all want and need guidance in life.
• I mean, life is full of decisions.
• Often our days feel like a"fork in the road" don’t they?
• we all need help in knowing which way we should go.
When we're younger, we want to know where to go to college and what to major in when we get there.
• We want to know what career is best for us.
• We want guidance as to marry.
• We want direction when it comes to raising children.
I could go on and on but you know what I mean-we all need guidance in life.
In fact, God's guidance is especially important to us since we live in a fallen world where morals are blurred
• This makes it harder/harder to know what is right/ is wrong.
So, the fact that God LEADS and DIRECTS His people down the road of life is good news for us.
I mean, in so many ways, we are ALL lost sheep in need of a Shepherd.
1. Well, the question is, how do we access the omniscient guidance that our Good Shepherd offers?
2. How do we discern God's will when it comes to life's decisions?
These are the questions I want us to answer this morning.
God gives us some guidance as we look at Apostle Paul on his 2nd missionary journey.
But before we get to it let's review a bit.
When we last left Paul/Barnabas had parted company.
• Sharp disagreement over Jon Mark.
• Couldn’t come to terms/missionary dream team parted ways
Barnabas took Jon Mark and went on mission to Cyprus.
And Paul chose Silas and headed toward his hometown of Tarsus-stopping along the way to visit and encourage each of the churches he'd founded on his first missionary journey.
• As he journeyed/Paul must have thought about disagreement.
• I mean, these guys had been close friends.
• How could he NOT think about it?!
• I think Paul's thinking eventually led to his repenting
• he followed Jesus' command in Matthew 18