I. "NOW WHEN THEY HAD GONE THROUGH PHRYGIA AND THE REGION OF GALATIA."
A. From Lystra Paul evidently went north into the regions of Galatia.
1. Galatia and Phrygia were not cities, but territories, it is as though The writer said, when they had gone through Orange County and Riverside County...
2. Nothing of specifics of the ministry in these areas is recorded here.
3. They must have, however, established churches in these areas, for Paul later wrote to the Galatians, which would be a general letter from Paul to the churches in this area.
B. They were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia.
1. It would seem that they wanted to go southwest to the area of Ephesus and Philadelphia, Pergamos, and Smyrna where we know that later the gospel had a great impact and many churches were established. Jesus addressed the seven churches of Asia.
2. It was a heavily populated area, and would seem like a very logical place to take the gospel.
3. "Forbidden by the Holy Spirit" seem like strange words. How did the Holy Spirit forbid them?
a. Was it through the gift of prophecy? The first missionary trip was launched as the result of the gift of prophecy. The Spirit spake and said, "Separate unto me Barnabas and Saul for the work that I have called them to perform."
b. Was it perhaps through Paul's illness? Was he too sick to journey? In his letter to the Galatians he speaks of the infirmities he experienced while there with them.
c. If he were physically incapacitated for a time so as not to be able to travel then he looked on this illness as a messenger of God.
d. God speaks to us in many ways. Seek to hear the voice of God in every situation.
e. God has many ways of directing our lives. Sometimes it is through bringing some unexpected thing across our path, that slows us down. I go out to start the car and the battery is dead. Rather than getting all upset, look at it as perhaps this might be God speaking to me? He has my attention. Is He preventing me from an accident that might have been waiting for me?
f. Oftentimes we get very upset when problems arise that keep us from something that we had planned to do. Perhaps God is keeping us from danger.
g. I have learned not to be disturbed by disturbances. I seek to tune in at that time to the leading of the Lord.
h. The person who is always disturbed is the person who never wants to be disturbed, thus disturbances always disturb him.
i. The person who is expecting to be disturbed is never disturbed by disturbances.
4. Paul will later write to the Romans, "But as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."
a. Do you seek to be led by the Spirit of God.
b. I do not like it when employees come and tell me what they are going to do. I want them to ask me if it is all right if they do a certain thing.
c. In the same token, I think that it is much better to ask God if I should do a certain thing, rather than tell God what I am going to do, and to bless it.
II. AFTER THEY WERE COME TO MYSIA, THEY ASSAYED TO GO INTO BITHYNIA: BUT THE SPIRIT SUFFERED THEM NOT.
A. So when they had come to Mysia, they decided that they would go north to Bithynia, the area around the Black Sea which was also a heavily populated area, but the Spirit would not let them.
1. Our plans are not always His plans.
2. Many times God closes the doors on our plans, always because He has a better plan.
3. Again, we do not know by what means that God halted them from going to Bithynia.
4. I find that when we are so determined to do something that we ignore all the stop signs and red lights, that we usually find ourselves in the ditch. Then we ask God why He allowed this to happen to us.
5. We usually end in big trouble when we insist on our way, rather than seeking His way.
B. So passing by or through Mysia they ended up at Troas, on the Agean Sea.
III. HERE AT TROAS IS WHERE PAUL ONE NIGHT HAD A VISION OF A MAN OF MACEDONIA, CALLING HIM TO COME AND HELP THEM.
A. This leaves us no question as how the Spirit was leading them at this point.
1. It was supernaturally by a vision.
2. Can God still lead people in this age through visions?
3. Claude Edwards was a banker in San Jose, California, back in the early thirties. I know his son Leland.
4. I think of the tragedy of our lives in these modern days of technology that we have become so full of information, and our brains so occupied that God has great difficulty getting our attention, much less speak to us.
5. Now they have clear direction of where to go.
a. They knew where they were not to go.
b. At that point perhaps there was confusion. We are not to go north or south, we could go east and end our journey.
c. Now by vision, they are directed to go west.
B. Having now clear direction, they do not hesitate to follow up, and immediately they endeavor to go over to Macedonia.
C. Who this Macedonian man was that was calling Paul for help, we do not know, some have suggested that it was Luke, for obviously this is when Luke joined this team of missionaries.
1. From here on we find the use of the plural personal pronoun. "And immediately we endeavored being assured that the Lord had
2. It is so great when you get clear direction from the Lord, and you know now that you are going in the right direction.
D. Luke tells us of the route they took.
1. Act 16:11
: Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next [day] to Neapolis.
2. To make it from Troas to Neapolis would indicate that they had very favorable winds. For they were going against the strong current that flows from west to east.
3. It is exciting how well things go when we finally are going the direction that God desires us to go.
4. Later in Act 20
it took them 5 days to make the same journey coming the opposite direction with the current.
5. Samothracia is an island in the Agean about 20 miles long.
6. Neapolis was the port city of Philippi which was another ten miles inland.
And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, [and] a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days.
1. Being a Roman colony it was free from taxes, and those born there were Roman citizens with all of the privileges that Roman citizenship afforded a person in those days.
2. Philippi was named after King Philip II who was the father of Alexander the Great.
3. Historically the city is known for the two great battles fought there.
a. The first battle pitted Augustus and Mark Antony against the republican army under the leadership of Brutus and Cassius. In that battle Brutus and Cassius were the victors.
b. In the second battle Cassius and Mark defeated Brutus and the republican army after which Brutus committed suicide.
c. It was here that the gospel was first preached on European soil.
d. Today the ruins of Philippi are still quite impressive. We will be visiting Philippi when we follow the footsteps of Paul in our cruise next April.
e. Standing there in the ruins is quite an experience as you realize that there was once a thriving church here the first in Europe.