Acts 16 “Mission to Philippi”
Intro: When Jesus began his ministry, he announced the arrival of God’s kingdom; he died for his people and rose again.
-Before he ascended into heaven he gave his church a mission: be witnesses of Jesus to the ends of the Earth: kingdom spreads
-After he ascended he gave his church the Holy Spirit, to fill and empower them for gospel ministry.
QUESTION: How will God’s kingdom advance and spread through this Earth?
-Only if God Himself provides resources, leads His people, and saves the lost.
-Acts tells us that is exactly what God does: God provides, leads, and saves.
-Today’s text brings this out: As the kingdom of God advances, it is God who provides, leads, and saves.
RELEVANCE: This is a truth about God that we need to remember today as we seek to proclaim the gospel and make disciples
-We need God to provide the resources (people), we need God to lead and guide, and we need God to save the lost.
-And that is what God does! He did it in Acts 16 and does it today.
CONTEXT: Paul is about to begin his 2nd missionary journey: to strengthen churches already planted and also preach the gospel—that the lost would be saved and God’s kingdom would extend to end of earth.
-He is no longer with Barnabas, but not traveling with Silas, preaching the gospel and strengthening new Christians. *As the kingdom of God advances, it is God who provides, leads, and saves.
1 As God’s kingdom advances, it is God who PROVIDES (1-5)
If gospel ministry is to take place, we must have gospel workers. We need people! And God is the one who provides these people.
-Our passage reminds of this as we see God provide Timothy, a faithful co-worker for Paul in gospel ministry.
-New location (1)
-Derbe and Lystra: cities where Paul proclaim gospel on earlier visit
-Christian (“disciple”), son of “believing Jewish woman” (Eunice), dad was “Greek,” “Well-spoken of by brothers” -Paul desires to bring Timothy with: to “accompany him” (3)
–SURPRISE: Paul circumcised Timothy (3b)
–REASON: “Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.” (3c)
–NOT for salvation, but so as to not bring about unnecessary offense to Jewish believers.
*APPLICATION: Sometimes faithful evangelism means going out of our so as not to bring about unnecessary offense.
-Gospel is already offensive, but we should seek to be wise and not bring additional hindrances (1 Cor 9:22)
-Let’s not be unnecessarily weird, or make Christianity about 2ndary things, but seek to be missionaries
-Paul, Silas and Timothy ministering in the region (4-5) -“Delivering Jerusalem letter” (4)àActs 15 Letter (Gentiles do not have to observe OT ceremonial law to be saved)
-“Churches were strengthened in the faith and increased in numbers daily” (5)
-God strengthens his church today in the same way: hearing apostles teaching.
OBSERVE: As God’s kingdom advances, it is God who PROVIDES workers of ministry!
-God provided Paul with a gospel worker in Timothy who was a help to him to the end of his life.
-God provides gospel workers today to carry on ministry and mission.
-Jesus encourages us to pray for this: Luke 10:2
–CCF: PAST/PRESENT–We have seen him provide for us in CCF over the 8 years of services
FUTURE NEEDS: We still need more workers for this church plant to continue in the years to come.
-One person to help Andrew with finances
-Two people to lead Foundation Worldview for 4-7 year olds
-Everyone to carry on work of evangelism and discipleship
-Financial provision for future: as we seek to move away from outside financial support.
2 As God’s kingdom advances, it is God who LEADS (6-10)
Acts 16 reminds it is God HIMSELF who LEADS his people and church on mission.
-God’s people are not left without God’s leadership, but serve a God who wisely leads and lovingly directs His people. Ps 23:3
-This section provides an example of God leading his apostles.
-Traveling through Phyrgia and Galatia and Guided by the Holy Spirit (6-7)
-Forbidden from going West (6b), then forbidden from going north (7)
-How did this happen? Luke does not tell us, but it was clear to them (circumstance, audible word, prophecy, impression)
-Directed by a vision from God (8-10)
-Vision in the night (9)
-“concluding that God called us to preach the gospel to them.” (10))
APPLICATION: Greatest help a person need can only come through Jesus.
-Remember this to help you share the gospel with others—evangelism is seeking to HELP others.
*OBSERVE: As God’s kingdom advances, it is God who LEADS his people!
-God leads His church today: Word of God, providence (‘perhaps’ [Esther 4:14, Phile 15]), godly and wise counsel.
-We likely won’t have visions or audible words (we are not apostles)
-We can be easily be mistaken by interpreting ‘impressions/feelings’ as Word from God (Dating; JI Packer)
-God leads His people today through the Holy Spirit-inspired Word of God. Read it, hear it preached, ponder it: be led by God!
3 As God’s kingdom advances, it is God who SAVES (11-40)
GOD HIMSELF saves the lost.
-As gospel advances to Philippi, Luke tells us of 3 very different people who become Christians.
-Gospel mission reaches Philippi (11-12)
-What we see is the birth of the church at Philippi (same church who received the letter known as Philippians).
-Paul and his companions remain there for number of days carrying out gospel ministry (preaching; discipleship).
1 GOD SAVES LYDIA (13-15)
-Paul and his companions intentionally went to a place where they hoped to preach the gospel [‘spoke to…’] (13)
-The gospel was preached a woman named Lydia [successful businesswoman] (14)
-“The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul” (14b)
-It is really is GOD who saves!
-We preach the gospel, but God opens hearts and saves.
-This week: sharing the gospel with a banker named Kendall.
-Lydia and her household respond in faith with baptism (15a)
-Lydia’s transformed life by the gospel: 15b
2 GOD SAVES A SLAVE GIRL (16-24)
-Now we see a very different kind of person become a Christian: ‘slave girl’
-Slave girl experiences salvation (16-18)
-Slave girl’s story: ‘spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling’
-Followed Paul around and cried out message (17)
-Paul cast the demon out of her (18).
-Commentators note: likely necessary so as not to confuse outsides about Christianity.
-Power of Jesus greater than the power of Satan.
-Paul & Silas experience persecution (19-24)
-Gospel ministry brought suffering to Paul and Silas
-Lied about: 20-21 (were not advocating unlawful practices)
-Stripped and beaten: 22
–APPLICATION: Part of following Christ is suffering for him in this life (Phil 1:29-30)
3 GOD SAVES A JAILER (25-34)
The 3rd person who is saved in this chapter is a jailer.
-Paul and Silas in Prison and Miraculously Delivered (25-26)
-NOTE: amazing joy and delight in God even in prison (25)
-“Prisoners were listening to them” (25b)
-GREAT EARTHQUAKE: brings deliverance for Paul and Silas (26)
-God rules over earthquakes and handcuffs cannot stop his purposes!
-JAILER IS CONVERTED (27-34)
-Jailer is distressed (27)
-Paul ministers the gospel to him (28-31)
-Simplicity of the gospel: “believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household!’ (31)
*UNBELIEVER: If you believe in Jesus—place your trust in him—you will be saved!
-Believe this morning, be saved from your sins and hell.
-Enter into the kingdom of God and receive gift of eternal life and grace.
-Jailer’s family hears the gospel (32)
-Mutual washing: Jailer washes Paul and Silas; Jailer and family baptized! (33)
-JOY of salvation and knowing God (34)
–APPLICATION: Only God can give you true and lasting joy
*OBSERVE: God HIMSELF is the one who saves.
-This gives us courage to preach the gospel here in Naperville.
-Paul and Companions Intentionally Bring Offense for the Sake of the Gospel (35-39)
-The magistrates who ordered Paul’s beating and imprisonment would like to release them (35-36)
-Paul insists magistrates themselves come and release them (37-38)
-It was unjust for Paul and Silas to be beaten and imprisoned, as they are Roman citizens
–WHY did Paul intentionally bring offense? For the advance of the gospel.
-Paul would have been viewed as a criminal and gospel as suspicious.
*APPLICATION: Sometimes Christians must be willing to be offensive for sake of gospel.
-State truths that are uncomfortable or offensive; actions that are countercultural
-Final Visit to Lydia Before Departure (40)
-Before heading out the city, Paul and companions visited Lydia one final time
-“Encouraged them” (This is much of the Christian life: encouraging each other to follow Jesus.)
END: As the kingdom of God advances, we must remember that it is God who provides, leads, and saves.