Acts Chapter 16

Paul’s Second Missionary Journey:

(Read Acts 16:1-8)
Paul and Silas went first to Derbe and then to Lystra. There was a disciple named Timothy whose mother was Jewish, but the father was Greek. Timothy had a good testimony among the believers. Paul wanted Timothy to join him on their missionary journey. Timothy was circumcised not as a requirement but to remove the barrier to witness among Jews and as well as Gentiles. Paul never considered this as a requirement for salvation (Galatians 5:1-6).  Paul’s foremost interest was to preach the gospel and win people to Jesus Christ.  Paul became all things to all men and was willing to give up cultural practices and preferences (1Corinthians 9:22).  Cultural accommodation is often necessary for the furtherance of the gospel. This would help us to make connections with people and share the gospel.  They went from church to church and instructed believers to follow the decisions of the Jerusalem council. So, the churches were strengthened and increased in number daily.  Personal evangelism was the strength of the early church. This is a pattern Christians should follow at all times. Paul and Silas were prevented by the Holy Spirit from preaching the Word in the province of Asia Minor. When they reached the seaport of Troas they waited for God’s direction.  It came in a vision from Macedonia saying, “Come over and help us”. With clear direction, Paul and his team went to Macedonia (Acts 16:9). Luke was from Macedonia. Christ is the Lord of the Harvest, and he directs his servant. The sovereign Lord closed the door in Asia and opened the door in Europe.  Are you waiting on the Lord to direct you where doors are opened for the gospel?

A Call from Macedonia:

(Read Acts 16:9-15)
Those who wait on the Lord will always find God’s leading in the ministry. Lord’s guidance often comes through the scriptures, prayer, and circumstances.  Sometimes through the council of godly men.  At Troas Luke joined Paul, Silas, and Timothy.  They immediately sailed to the island of Samothrace and on to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi.  Philippi was a Roman colony and a leading city of Macedonia. There was no Jewish synagogue in the city. On the Sabbath, Paul and fellow evangelists went outside the city to a riverside.  There they encountered Lydia, a woman from Thyatira and she was a God-fearing Jewish proselyte.  She also was a seller of purple, a woman of wealth and a worshiper of God. The Lord graciously opened her heart enabling to repent and believe the gospel.  She was baptized along with her family. She urged God’s servants to come and stay at her home. Only God has the power to open a person’s eye to see the glory of Chris (2 Corinthians 4:4-6).  Our salvation is an act of gracious God from beginning to end.  Pray for those who do not yet believe in Christ.  Only when God shines his light into our hearts, our blindness disappears, and we receive light. 

Paul and Silas in Prison:

(Read Acts 16:16-24)
One day as Paul and Silas went to the place they encountered a young demon-possessed slave girl who earned a great deal of money for her masters by fortune telling.  She followed the evangelists, chanting “These men are servants of the Most High God “. She recognized Paul and his companions as the servants of God and recognized Jesus as the “Holy One'' (Mark 1:24). Her insight came from an evil spirit (Acts 16:16-17). Paul commanded the evil spirit to leave her and thus rescued her from the destructive power of demons. Rather than rejoicing at her deliverance, her masters seized Paul and Silas and dragged them before the authority at the marketplace. The magistrates gave orders to beat them with rode. After they had been beaten, they were thrown into prison, ordering the Jailer to put them in the inner prison and fasten their feet in the stocks. Paul and Silas were savagely beaten and jailed as anarchists. Those who do not know Christ, often view Christian works as a threat to their sinful interests and values.  When we face such a situation, we should pray for boldness to show Christ’s love toward them. There is no greater love than doing the best for others, though it may be costly. 

The Conversion of Jailer:

(Read Acts 16:25-40) 
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing to God. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundation and all the doors were opened and the chains of every prisoner were unfastened. The jailer assumed that the prisoners had escaped, and he decided to kill himself. But Paul said, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here” (Acts 16:28). Thus, God rescued this helpless man. The jailer fell at the feet of Paul and Silas.  Then the jailer brought them out of prison. He asked Paul and Silas “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Paul said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved and your household”.  Jailer shared the gospel with his family.  He must have set aside time for the family to share how God saved him. He invited Paul and Silas over to his home for fellowship and the whole family rejoiced. By taking children to meetings where gospel is preached, we can encourage children to hear the gospel.  As parents we must pray for the salvation of children from their young age.  Paul and Silas used this tragedy as an opportunity to present the gospel.

What is Gospel?
​Paul’s answer is really the gospel in nutshell.  "Believe in the Lord Jesus you will be saved".  Paul did not command the jailer to clean up his life but to believe in Christ. Genuine trust in Christ is all that is required to be saved from sin.  Salvation is a free gift to those who trust Jesus Christ. The jailer and his entire household believed and were baptized at once. Those who believe in Christ should be baptized immediately. They are not to be placed on probation for some time to make sure of their salvation.  The jailer’s act of washing the stripes of Paul and Silas was an act of mercy and the proof of his conversion. When the magistrates came to know that Paul and Silas were Roman Citizens, they were frightened. They apologized to Paul and Silas and asked them to leave the city in peace.  Then they visited Lydia and encouraged believers and departed. The use of “we” is not mentioned again until Acts chapter 20:5. God uses His servants to save souls.  Apparently, Luke stayed in Philippi to oversee the work there. We can share the gospel with confidence knowing that nothing can prevent God's power from saving the souls.  Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Faith comes as a result of hearing the Word of God.  Christians must rejoice in all circumstances and must have an evangelistic purpose in all they do. Pray that God would strengthen you to share the gospel with great confidence. Genuine trust in Christ is all that is required to be saved.  Pray that God would enable us to share the gospel in simplicity and passion with the unsaved.