Rejoice #1 -- Acts 16 -- The Roots Of A Joy Filled Church

  • Why the book of Philippians?
    • Joy needed in our modern times.

1 Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple^ was there, named Timothy,^ the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. 2 He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium. 3 Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4 As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.

  • 1 A disciple / named Timothy: He'll receive great attention in the letter (2:19-24).
    • Went to Philippi with Paul / stenographer / future messenger (Philippians 2:19-24).
    • Timothy had a godly heritage on his mother’s side.
      • 2 Timothy 1:5 (ESV)—5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.
      • 2 Timothy 3:15 (ESV)—15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
    • Timothy had some limitations.
      • Fear (psychological).
        • 1 Timothy 1:7 Spirit of fear.
        • 1 Corinthians 16:10-11 They might have rejected him.
      • Sickness (physical).
        • 1 Timothy 5:23 Wine for his stomachs sake.
        • Ulcer? Sensitive and nervous?
      • Age (social).
        • 1 Timothy 4 — Youth.
        • He had uphill battles, but he was committed to Christ.
      • Timothy was willing to go.
        • He laid down his rights and was circumcised.
          • Explain.

1 New Leaders Could Arise (Acts 16:1-5)

  • It is good for a church to make room for the next generation of leaders.
    • 2 Timothy 2:2 (ESV)—2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.

6 And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia [east, Ephesus and other cities of that region -- remember 7 letters]. 7 And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia [north of Galatia], but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. 8 So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas [west].

9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we [Luke] sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. 11 So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi,^ which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia^ and a Roman colony.^ We remained in this city some days.

  • 12 Philippi / a leading city of the district of Macedonia / a Roman colony:
    • This is an authentic turning point in the history of western civilization. The gospel went west, to Europe and the western world.
      • Geographically: Road between Europe and Asia - strategic.
    • A leading city: Thessalonica and Amphipolis more so, but Luke might be expressing pride in his city.
    • Roman colony: 42BC taken for Rome and made a colony. The residents were citizens of Rome. They had the “Italic right”, meaning their displacement was repaid by acting as if their land were Italian soil.
    • Purpose of Acts: record the shift the cross created among God's people.
      • Come and see to go and tell / Jerusalem to worldwide / Jewish to all nations
      • But how did they get to Philippi in the first place?

2 The Spirit Led Them Into Christ's Mission (Acts 16:7-18)

  • The Spirit could lead them into Christ's mission.
    • Notice the ways:
      • 6-7 Forbidden by the Holy Spirit / the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them:
        • How were they blocked by the Holy Spirit? We do not know. The text does not say.
          • Perhaps: circumstances, discernment, prophecy, or a vision.
      • 9 A vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia...:
        • Possible — many Muslims.
          • Darren Carlson wrote a careful and thoughtful article catalogiing some of the ways dreams and visions have been used to reach Musclims in some parts of the world. (When Muslims Dream Of Jesus by Darren Carlson: .)
            • Jesus speaking Scripture to them, even Scripture they had never heard before.
            • Jesus telling people to do something.
            • A dream or vision that led to a feeling of being clean or at peace.
            • A man in white physically appearing.
              • "The man in white replied, “I am the Alpha and the Omega. I’m the way to heaven. No one can go to the Father, except through me.” (from Revelation 1).
    • But the Spirit led this team to greater fruitfulness.
      • Are you able to be led by the Spirit through a vision, dream, or prophecy?
      • Bigger question: Can the Spirit lead you deeper into Christ's mission?

13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. 14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God.^ The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. 15 And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.

  • 14 A worshiper of God: Lydia might have been a Gentile proselyte or God-seeker.

16 As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination^ and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” 18 And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.

  • 16 Spirit of divination: Future teller.
    • Two words: spirit, python.
    • Delphi, Greece: Apollo was believed to be embodied by a python. The original priestess their was possessed by Apollo and could foretell the future.
    • This woman had linked herself up to some kind of demonic being.

19 But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. 20 And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. 21 They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice.” 22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. 23 And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. 24 Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God,^ and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened.

  • 26 A great earthquake: God spoke by the Spirit, in dreams and visions, but now in the earthquake.

3 Stripped Of Everything Else, They Had God (Acts 16:19-26)

  • 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God:

    • Stripped of everything else, they had God, and because of Him they rejoiced.

    • Mood of the letter to the Philippians:

      • Philippians was written from a jail cell, likely in Rome.

        • Chains, palace guard, potential execution (Philippians 1:19-26, 2:17).
      • From prison, Paul wrote:

        • Philippians 1:21 (ESV)—21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

        • Philippians 4:11 (ESV)—11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.

          • They knew it was true!
        • Philippians 4:4 (ESV)—4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.

    • Christian consciousness begins in the painful realization that what we had assumed was the truth is in fact a lie. Our prayer must be: "Deliver me from the liars, God! They smile so sweetly but lie through their teeth." Rescue me from the lies of advertisers who claim to know what I need and what I desire, from the lies of entertainers who promise a cheap way to joy, from the lies of politicians who pretend to instruct me in power and morality, from the lies of psychologists who offer to shape my behavior and my morals so that I will live long, happily and successfully, from the lies of religionists who "heal the wounds of this people lightly," from the lies of moralists who pretend to promote me to the office of captain of my fate, from the lies of pastors who "get rid of God's command so you won't be inconvenienced in following the religious fashions!" (Mk 7:8). Rescue me from the person who tells me of life and omits Christ, who is wise in the ways of the world and ignores the movement of the Spirit.

      Eugene H. Peterson. A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society (Kindle Locations 177-183). Kindle Edition.

27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.

  • Retell

4 There Was Room For Everybody (Acts 16:27-32)

  • 27-29 The jailer:

  • 3 Groups The Gospel Reaches

    • 1 The Affluent And Succesful -- Lydia (Acts 16:11-14)
    • 2 The Oppressed And Disadvantaged -- A Slave Girl (Acts 16:16-24)
    • 3 The Powerful And Influential -- The Philippian Jailer (Acts 16:25-40)
      • The Monterey Peninsula is littered with wealthy and successful, oppressed and disadvantaged, and powerful and influential. We have military schools for both officers and enlisted, luxury and wealth beyond comprehension, and poverty and brokenness. It is good, in a community such as ours, to believe the gospel can reach all three groups.
      • There is nothing God cannot do. God asked Sarah, "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" (Genesis 18:14).

33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34 Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God. 35 But when it was day, the magistrates sent the police, saying, “Let those men go.” 36 And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Therefore come out now and go in peace.” 37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly,^ uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.” 38 The police reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens. 39 So they came and apologized to them. And they took them out and asked them to leave the city. 40 So they went out of the prison and visited Lydia. And when they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them and departed.

  • 37 They have beaten us publicly: Protection for the infant church.
  • 40 Lydia / brothers / departed: Small group.

5 No One Looked Down On Small Beginnings (Acts 16:33-40)

  • No one looked down on these small beginnings.
    • Small ministries, through faithfulness, can make a big and lasting impact.
      • Philippi was a small but substantial church.
      • Faithful giving.
      • A special church — to Paul — would develop there:
        • Fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now (Philippians 1:5).
        • Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you (Philippians 1:24).
        • Financial gifts to him (Philippians 4).
        • No mention of his apostleship (Philippians 1:1)