Acts 16

Verses 1-5 Timothy joins Paul and Silas.

In this second missionary journey Paul and Silas went through Syria and Cilicia confirming the churches. Chapter 15:41.

They came to Derbe and Lystra—there they found Timothy.

Timothy was saved possibly during the first visit to these cities.

Timothy’s mother and grandmother were Jewish believers. 2 Timothy 1.

His father was a Gentile and may have died by this time.

Timothy had progressed in the Christian faith.

Paul invited him to accompany him on his missionary trip.

Paul circumcised Timothy—not for salvation—but because of the Jews.

Paul’s reason for this action was that he might gain an audience with the Jews. Verse 3.

Verse 4 Paul went through the cities and delivered unto the churches the decrees to keep.

These decrees were:

1. As far as salvation was concerned faith alone is necessary

2. Fornication was prohibited for all believers

3. Meats offered to idols should be abstained from—things strangled should not be eaten—blood was forbidden as a food. Not as matters vital to salvation, but to facilitate fellowship between Jewish and Gentile believers.

Some of these instructions were revised, see 1 Corinthians 8:10 and 1 Timothy 4:5.

The Macedonian Call
Verses 6-10

Verse 6 The Holy Spirit forbade them to preach in Asia.

Verse 7 They then attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit would not allow them to go.

Verses 8-9 At Troas, Paul received instruction from God as to where he should preach.

The vision in the night, “Come over and help us.”

A man from Macedonia—Greece—beckoned him to come and preach the Gospel.

This man represented Europe—his cry for help showed this continents need of Christ.

Paul obeyed this vision and set sail immediately for Europe (Greece).

This raises a very interesting question. “Guidance.”

The early church was guided in various ways.

1. You shall be witnesses unto Me, etc. Acts 1:8.

2. On at least five occasions the Lord guided men through visions. Annanias Acts 9:10-16. Cornelius 10:3. Peter 10:10, 11, 17. Paul 16:9; 18:9.

3. Sometimes they were guided by circumstances—scattered abroad. Chapter 8:1-4.

4. Sometimes they were guided through the counsel of others:

    (a) The assembly at Jerusalem sent Barnabas to Antioch. 11-22.

    (b) Paul and Silas were commended by the brethren to the grace of God as they set out on their second missionary journey.

5. In addition to this there are men who seemed to have communications of the divine will directly.

      (a) An angel of the Lord guided Philip to the Ethiopian. 8-26.

      (b) The Holy Spirit spoke to the prophets and teachers at Antioch as they fasted and prayed. 13:1-2.

      (c) Paul and Timothy were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the Word in Asia. 16-6.

      (d) When they tried to go to Bithyima the Spirit would not allow them to. 16-7.

To summarize we can say that the early Christians received guidance:

1. Through the Scriptures

2. Through visions

3. Through circumstances

4. Through the advice of others

5. Through direct communication from God.

The Conversion Of Lydia
Verses 11-15

They came to Philippi.

There was no synagogue here—but some Jews gathered by the riverside outside the city.

Reaching the spot they found a group of women praying.

One woman is brought to our attention. “Lydia”

She may have originally been a Gentile—but was a convert to Judaism.

As Paul talked to them Lydia’s ear was opened—her heart was opened and finally her home was opened.

She was baptized—so were those of her household.

We do not read that she was married; her household could have consisted of servants.

She opened her home to the Lord’s servants. Paul—Silas—Timothy—Luke.

Her appeal to God messengers is beautifully expressed in Philip’s translation.

“If you are satisfied that I am a true believer in the Lord, then come down to my house and stay there.”

And she insisted on us doing so.

Conversion in the Scriptures

The conversion of Andrew. John 1:35-39.

The conversion of Peter. John 1:40-42.

The call of service to Andrew and Peter. Mark 1:16-18.

Conversion is a very real and important thing.

There are five conversions recorded in the Acts.

1. The Ethiopian eunuch—a black man.

2. Saul of Tarsus—a Jew.

3. Cornelius—a Gentile.

4. Lydia—first convert in Europe (a woman).

5. The jailer—a rough heartless jailer.

Let us consider Lydia

Prior to her conversion she worshipped God.

She probably had never heard the Gospel.

She believed the first time she heard it.

She became Europe’s first convert.

“The Lord opened her heart” Verse 14.

She believed the things spoken by Paul. Verse 14.

She proved her faith in Christ immediately by being baptized.

Then she extended hospitality to the servants of God.

God opened her heart then opened her home.

Lydia was not a bad woman nor a big sinner.

But she needed a Savior. (Apply this truth)

The conversion of the Philippian jailer.

Describe the treatment meted out to Paul and Silas.

The underground prison.

This was a dark, damp, windowless underground hole.

Verse 24 Describe their raw bleeding backs—feet in the stocks.

Verse 25 At midnight “they prayed and sang praises.” The prisoners heard them.

Verse 26 God answered the prayers and faith of His servants.

There was a great earthquake.

The foundations of the prison were rocked—all the doors were burst open—and the chains fell off the hands and legs of all the prisoners.

This was a unique earthquake.

Verse 27 The jailer woke from his sleep…and would have killed himself, etc.

Verse 28 Paul cried, “Do thyself no harm; for we are all here.”

Verse 29 He called for a light—sprang in—fell down before Paul and Silas.

Verse 30 He brought them out and said, “What must I do to be saved?”

Verse 31 The answer, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.”