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Dealing with Life as Christians 

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Acts 16

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • April 23, In the year of our Lord, 2017

Scripture Reader and Reading: Nash Crisp – Second Timothy 2.1–7

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Phil Joseph – Songs on the life of Christians


  1. Acts 16.1–5 | Timothy Joins Paul

    1 Then he came to Derbe and Lystra. And behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek. 2 He was well spoken of by the brethren who were at Lystra and Iconium. 3 Paul wanted to have him go on with him. And he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in that region, for they all knew that his father was Greek. 4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered to them the decrees to keep, which were determined by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily.

    1. Paul had wanted he and Barnabas
      1. to return to the places where they had started churches, and here
      2. he and Silas reached the cities of Derbe and Lystra.
        1. While among these cities Paul found a young man
        2. who was spiritual and had a strong interest in the spread of the Gospel.
    2. Timothy had a believing Jewish/Christian mother, who had married a Greek.
      1. Brethren in Lystra and Iconium spoke well of Timothy.
      2. He was not a worldly young man, but sought the things of the Spirit.
    3. Timothy was the kind of young man that Paul wanted to have travel with him.
      1. Paul himself would later write to Timothy,

        2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also (2Ti 2.2).
      2. Timothy would know what Paul meant, because
      3. Paul practiced it with or on Timothy.
    4. However, Paul had also written to the Corinthian Church,

      22b I am become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some (1Co 9.22b).

      1. That meant,

        19 For though I was free from all men, I brought myself under bondage to all, that I might gain the more (1Co 9.19).
      2. That included,

        20 And to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain Jews… (1Co 9.19–20).
      3. In this situation that meant performing surgery on Timothy,
        1. altering his body for the sake of saving Jews, because
        2. while Timothy’s mother was Jewish, his father was Greek, and
          1. the Jews in that area knew this about Timothy, and
          2. would not have been receptive to him.
    5. After Timothy recovered from surgery,
      1. they resumed their travels among the churches,
      2. handing out copies of the judgment
        1. that the apostles (preachers) and elders had rendered in Jerusalem.
    6. The result?
      1. The churches grew spiritually, becoming stronger in faith, and
      2. the churches grew numerically.
  2. Acts 16.6–10 | Time to Move to Europe

    6 Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. 7 After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. 8 So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.

    1. The growing preaching team kept moving through open doors,
      1. until they wanted to go further into Asia, and
      2. the Holy Spirit would not allow them to go there.
    2. They shifted their direction and arrived in Mysia, and
      1. from there they attempted to go into Bithynia.
      2. However, the Holy Spirit did not want them going there either.
    3. Therefore, they went past Mysia, and
      1. arrived in Troas. [Is that ancient Troy?]
      2. Troas was on the coast, for
        1. the Spirit had been steering them in that direction, and
        2. they soon found out why.
          1. The Lord gave Paul a vision one night of a Macedonian man,
          2. standing and pleading with Paul
            1. to come over to Macedonia and
            2. to help them.
    4. Paul told the rest of the team of his vision, and
      1. they all talked about it,
      2. concluding that the Lord wanted them in Macedonia to preach.
        1. Once in Macedonia, they spread the Good News to Europe, and
        2. later others filled the continent with Christianity, and
          1. eventually people started moving to the Americas, and
          2. now we have the Faith in our possession,
            1. entering the Eastern Seaboard first,
            2. then pioneers moved out here and preached as they went.
    5. By the way, around this time,
      1. Luke joined the team,
      2. as you can see from his change in the pronouns
        1. from the third person plural, “they,”
        2. to the first person plural, “we.”
  3. Acts 16.11–15 | The First Conversion in Europe

    11 Therefore, sailing from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and the next day came to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is the foremost city of that part of Macedonia, a colony. And we were staying in that city for some days. 13 And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. 14 Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. 15 And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us.

    1. They left Troas and sailed for Samothrace, an island in the and
      1. after staying there the night,
      2. they sailed for Neapolis on the European continent.
        1. Then they went to Philippi, because
        2. that was the foremost city of that part of Macedonia.
          1. They stayed in Philippi for several days,
          2. recovering, getting set up, and making plans.
    2. When the Sabbath arrived, they went looking for a place of prayer.
      1. They found a place with women praying, and
      2. the preaching team spoke to the women.
        1. One woman, Lydia, listened to the preachers.
        2. Her business was selling purple, and she was a worshiper of God.
          1. She was actually from Thyatira in Asia,
          2. perhaps doing business in Macedonia.
    3. As Paul spoke, the Lord through Paul’s speaking,
      1. opened her heart
      2. to give heed to what Paul said.
        1. Either her household was there also, or
        2. she went where they staying and told them Paul’s words, and
          1. they all made the decision to be baptized.
          2. They did it right then, because
            1. why the Lord wants people baptized
            2. is something urgent.
    4. Lydia not was content to be on the receiving end only, but
      1. she pleaded with the preaching team
      2. to stay in her home.
        1. They accepted.
        2. Most members of the church today
          1. do not want people in their homes, and
          2. most preachers today want to stay in a hotel or motel.
  4. Acts 16.16–18 | Annoying Someone with the Truth

    16 Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” 18 And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour.

    1. The preaching team returned to the place of prayer, but
      1. this time a slave girl with a spirit of divination, and
      2. who by this spirit had made her masters a lot of money,
        1. met the team, and followed them,
        2. announcing to everyone
          1. that they served the Most High God, and
          2. declared the way of salvation.
    2. She did this for several days,
      1. until finally she had annoyed Paul enough
      2. that he turned to her, and
        1. commanded the spirit to come out of her
        2. in the name of Jesus Christ, and
          1. it happened immediately.
    3. She spoke the truth, but
      1. she did it in an annoying way,
      2. bringing attention to her self and her ability.
        1. She was interrupting their work.
        2. [Demonstrate by using Nash]
  5. Acts 16.19–24 | Teaching New Customs

    19 But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities. 20 And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, “These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city; 21 and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.” 22 Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. 23 And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. 24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

    1. What would have seemed good to most people,
      1. infuriated her masters, for then
      2. their easy money had disappeared.
    2. They trumped up false charges against Paul and Silas, and had them arrested,
      1. alleging that the preachers brought Jewish customs to Roman citizens,
      2. which were against Roman law.
        1. That fired up the crowd,
          1. who did not know whether the charges were true or false, and
        2. the magistrates ordered Paul and Silas stripped
          1. that the Romans might beat the preachers with rods.
          2. Then the Roman authorities had Paul and Silas thrown into prison.
    3. The jailer put the feet of Paul and Silas into stocks.
  6. Acts 16.25–28 | Praying and Singing

    25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 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 chains were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. 28 But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.”

    1. Paul and Silas did not complain, nor threaten lawsuits, but
      1. late at night, midnight, they did not worry, but
      2. prayed and sang to God, and
        1. the other prisoners heard the preachers.
        2. How many of their fellow-prisoners had done such things?
    2. What appeared to be a providential earthquake happened,
      1. shaking the foundations of the temple,
      2. opening all the prison doors, and
      3. loosening everyone’s chains.
    3. The earthquake woke up the jailer, and
      1. saw the prison doors open, and
      2. assuming that the prisoners had fled,
        1. he prepared to kill himself,
        2. not wanting the humiliation that would come from a Roman execution.
          1. Paul could see the jailer and called out
          2. for the jailer not to harm himself, because
            1. no one had escaped.
  7. VII.Acts 16.29–34 | What Must We Do to Be Saved?

    29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.

    1. He called out to another prison worker for light,
      1. ran to the cell for Paul and Silas, and
      2. fell down before them trembling, and
        1. brought them out of the jail cell,
        2. he asked one of the most important questions of life,
          1. “What must I do to be saved?”
          2. He did not ask for salvation from Roman execution, because
            1. the prisoners had not escaped.
            2. He knew the true reputation of Paul and Silas, and
              1. he had heard some of the praying and singing, and
              2. may have known what the preachers taught.
    2. They answered that believing on the Lord Jesus Christ leads to salvation, but
      1. not only for himself,
      2. his family could join in also.
        1. The jailer brought the preachers to his home, and there
        2. Paul and Silas spoke the Lord’s word to the jailer and his household.
          1. Like Lydia, the jailer did not live his Christian life as a taker, but
          2. cleansed the wounds of Paul and Silas, and
            1. he and his family were baptized immediately,
            2. in the middle of the night.
              1. He also fed the preachers.
              2. He knew what he had gained, for
                1. he then believed in God,
                2. along with his family, and
                  1. he rejoiced!
    3. Then the preachers went back to prison voluntarily.
  8. VIII.Acts 16.35–40 | Holding Persecutors Accountable

    35 And when it was day, the magistrates sent the officers, saying, “Let those men go.” 36 So the keeper of the prison reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Now therefore depart, and go in peace.” 37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out.” 38 And the officers told these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Romans. 39 Then they came and pleaded with them and brought them out, and asked them to depart from the city. 40 So they went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia; and when they had seen the brethren, they encouraged them and departed.

    1. Suddenly the next day, the magistrates
      1. who had ordered the beating of the preachers, and
      2. who had thrown them into prison,
        1. decided to release their prisoners secretly.
        2. The jailer (Was it the same man?), encouraged them to go.
          1. However, Paul showed their hypocrisy
          2. that they would beat Romans publicly, and then
            1. send someone else to release them privately.
            2. He demanded that they come and release them.
    2. The officers in charge of the prison reported Paul’s words to the magistrates.
      1. When they heard that the preachers were Romans,
      2. the magistrates realized that they had violated the law, and
        1. did go in person to release the preachers, and
        2. begged them to leave the city.
    3. They honored the request
      1. after going to the home of Lydia,
      2. where the church first began to meet in Philippi,
        1. encouraged them, and then
        2. left to go preach in other places.


  1. Train others to do what you do.

    2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also (2Ti 2.2).

    1. Did the church in the Middle East quit practicing this injunction?
      1. You see, Islam now dominates those places
      2. that Christianity once dominated.
  2. Go and do what the Lord wants you to do. 
    1. It is not about you.
    2. We are the servants.
    3. Like Lydia and the jailer, serve others.
      1. Do not wait to be served, but
      2. live as Jesus did,

        45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10.45).
  3. Speak the truth, but do not annoy people with it.

    17 Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house,
    Lest he become weary of you and hate you.
    (Pro 25.17)
    1 To everything there is a season,
    A time for every purpose under heaven…
    7 A time to keep silence,
    And a time to speak…
    (Ecc 3.1, 7b)

    15 [Speak] the truth in love… (Eph 4.15).

  4. Be prepared for opposition, misrepresentation, and misunderstanding. 
  5. Pray and sing. 
  6. Find out what the Lord wants you to do to be saved. 
  7. VII.Persecutors need to know what they have done. 
    1. Peter repeatedly accused the Jewish leaders of crucifying the Son of God.
    2. Jesus challenged those who hit Him,

      23 Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why do you strike Me?” (John 18.23).