2015.01.11 Acts 16:16- 34
Finding the Will of God 2
We are studying the early days of the church in the book of Acts... We study verse by verse so that we can see the big picture.... As we follow Paul we see wonderful adventures... We see very hard times.... As Paul finds the will of God we can learn from him and all that have gone before us....
Acts 16: 16-18 NKJV
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.
Acts 16: 16- 18 slt 2000
16 Es geschah aber, als wir zum Gebet gingen, daß uns eine Magd begegnete, die einen Wahrsagegeist hatte und ihren Herren durch Wahrsagen großen Gewinn verschaffte.
17 Diese folgte Paulus und uns nach, schrie und sprach: Diese Männer sind Diener des höchsten Gottes, die uns den Weg des Heils4 verkündigen!
18 Und dies tat sie viele Tage lang. Paulus aber wurde unwillig, wandte sich um und sprach zu dem Geist: Ich gebiete dir in dem Namen Jesu Christi, von ihr auszufahren! Und er fuhr aus in derselben Stunde.
v17…. Notice that she proclaiming the truth of the Gospel here…… but it is still very uncomfortable for Paul and Silas….
v18… for many days… Paul after many days of this….. Finally stops this woman´s mouth…. In stopping this demon possessed woman from speaking….. Paul is acting like Jesus…. Jesus often told demons to be silent….. even when they were telling the truth about Him…… Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 3…
The fact that he waited and put up with the possessed woman so long….. Allowed him to proclaim the Gospel here In Philippi for many days…. He did not know that her masters were going to cause a riot and stop his ministry…. Let´s take the next section…v19…
Acts 16: 19-24 NKJV
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.
Acts 16: 19- 24 slt 2000
19 Als aber ihre Herren sahen, daß die Hoffnung auf ihren Gewinn entschwunden war, ergriffen sie Paulus und Silas und schleppten sie auf den Marktplatz vor die Obersten der Stadt;
20 und sie führten sie zu den Hauptleuten5 und sprachen: Diese Männer, die Juden sind, bringen unsere Stadt in Unruhe
21 und verkündigen Gebräuche, welche anzunehmen oder auszuüben uns nicht erlaubt ist, da wir Römer sind!
22 Und die Volksmenge stand ebenfalls gegen sie auf; und die Hauptleute rissen ihnen die Kleider ab und befahlen, sie mit Ruten zu schlagen.
23 Und nachdem sie ihnen viele Schläge gegeben hatten, warfen sie sie ins Gefängnis und geboten dem Kerkermeister, sie sicher zu verwahren.
24 Dieser warf sie auf solchen Befehl hin ins innere Gefängnis und schloß ihre Füße in den Stock6.
19…. What a mess….. Why did the Lord allow this problem to happen? Why this conflict in ministry for Paul?
They seized them and dragged them to the authorities….. It was only because her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone…... They are angry that the girl has been set free….. These masters cared nothing for the girl herself…… They could have been amazed at the power of God to deliver this girl…. They could have realized that Paul and Silas were indeed God´s messengers… They should have listened to their girl….. Remember she said….. These men show us the way to salvation…. But no….. These wicked men seized them…. They V20….
v20,21… Their charges are untrue…. By accusing Paul and Silas of being troublemakers….. both the multitude and the magistrates were biased against Paul and Silas…..
v22… The multitude and the magistrates felt free to beat Paul and Silas…. Non citizens had no rights in Roman law…
v23,24…. When they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison…
After being severely beaten….. Paul and Silas are thrown into prison…. commanding the jailer to keep them securely the inner prison…. fastened their feet in the stocks…. That was very painful…..
In Jewish law…. there was a maximum number of blows that could be delivered when beating a person…. 40 minus 1… but the Romans had no limits… Paul and Silas were severely beaten… These great men of God suffered for the Gospel….. They knew nothing of the currently popular ideas……
You can bring in the Kingdom Now!.... God wants you to be wealthy and always have everything you want…… He wants you to have your best life now!... What?
Since when is the Good News of the Gospel…. that God wants you to have all of the same things that this world wants….?
no….. That is not what the Word of God teaches…..
And as we read in our text this morning…. Paul and Silas were severely beaten for proclaiming the Good News.… These things happened to Paul often….. let´s read what Paul wrote about his “Kingdom Now Ministry”…. 2 Corinthians 11:23….
2 Corinthians 11: 23-30 NKJV slt 2000
23 Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?
30 If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity.
2 Corinthians 11:23-30 slt 2000
23 Sie sind Diener des Christus? Ich rede unsinnig: Ich bin's noch mehr! Ich habe weit mehr Mühsal, über die Maßen viele Schläge ausgestanden, war weit mehr in Gefängnissen, öfters in Todesgefahren.
24 Von den Juden habe ich fünfmal 40 Schläge weniger einen empfangen;
25 dreimal bin ich mit Ruten geschlagen, einmal gesteinigt worden; dreimal habe ich Schiffbruch erlitten; einen Tag und eine Nacht habe ich in der Tiefe zugebracht.
26 Ich bin oftmals auf Reisen gewesen, in Gefahren auf Flüssen, in Gefahren durch Räuber, in Gefahren vom eigenen Volk, in Gefahren von Heiden, in Gefahren in der Stadt, in Gefahren in der Wüste, in Gefahren auf dem Meer, in Gefahren unter falschen Brüdern;
27 in Arbeit und Mühe, oftmals in Nachtwachen, in Hunger und Durst; oftmals in Fasten, in Kälte und Blöße;
28 zu alledem der tägliche Andrang zu mir, die Sorge für alle Gemeinden.
29 Wer ist schwach, und ich bin nicht auch schwach? Wem wird Anstoß bereitet, und ich empfinde nicht brennenden Schmerz?
30 Wenn ich mich rühmen soll, so will ich mich meiner Schwachheit rühmen.
Paul….. that poor foolish man….. All of that needless suffering….. He should have spoken life into his situations…. He simply did not understand the Good News of the Gospel….. Or did he? Why didn´t he experience the abundant life of the great men and women of God today? Why isn´t he having a perfect life… filled with faith to defeat every adversity… Why isn´t he walking in perfect health? Poor foolish Paul…. He got it all wrong…. Oder??
But Maybe it´s 21 century Christians who do not understand…. Notice the last verse…..
2 Cor 11: 30 NKJV slt 2000
30 If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity.
30 Wenn ich mich rühmen soll, so will ich mich meiner Schwachheit rühmen.
Paul did not boast about money or perfect health or any of those things that our great church leaders boast about…. He denied himself….. He boasted of his infirmities….. You see….. He correctly understood the truth of the Gospel…… All that live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution…. 2 Timothy 3:12…. He knew very well what the scriptures teach…. He knew what Jesus said… Deny yourself and take up your cross and follow me…. Matt 16: 23-26… Luke 9: 23…. He knew that God was with him no matter what happened in his life….. turn to Hebrews 13….. v 5…
Hebrews 13:5 NKJV slt 2000
5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.
5 Euer Lebenswandel sei frei von Geldliebe! Begnügt euch mit dem, was vorhanden ist; denn er selbst hat gesagt: »Ich will dich nicht aufgeben und dich niemals verlassen!«
How did Paul survive all of those hard times?
Paul knew that God would never forsake him….. No wonder he was not discouraged and afraid….
Beloved brothers and sisters…. The Lord your God is with you too…… No matter what happens in your life… Let´s read a little more of our text for this morning…Acts 16…v25…
Acts 16: 25-34 NKJV
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.”
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.
Acts 16: 25-34 slt 2000
25 Um Mitternacht aber beteten Paulus und Silas und lobten Gott mit Gesang, und die Gefangenen hörten ihnen zu.
26 Da entstand plötzlich ein großes Erdbeben, so daß die Grundfesten des Gefängnisses erschüttert wurden, und sogleich öffneten sich alle Türen, und die Fesseln aller wurden gelöst.
27 Da erwachte der Kerkermeister aus dem Schlaf, und als er die Türen des Gefängnisses geöffnet sah, zog er sein Schwert und wollte sich töten, weil er meinte, die Gefangenen seien entflohen.
28 Aber Paulus rief mit lauter Stimme und sprach: Tu dir kein Leid an; denn wir sind alle hier!
29 Da forderte er ein Licht, sprang hinein und fiel zitternd vor Paulus und Silas nieder.
30 Und er führte sie heraus und sprach: Ihr Herren, was muß ich tun, daß ich gerettet werde?
31 Sie aber sprachen: Glaube an den Herrn Jesus Christus, so wirst du gerettet werden, du und dein Haus!
32 Und sie sagten ihm das Wort des Herrn und allen, die in seinem Haus waren.
33 Und er nahm sie zu sich in jener Stunde der Nacht und wusch ihnen die Striemen; und er ließ sich auf der Stelle taufen, er und all die Seinen.
34 Und er führte sie in sein Haus, setzte ihnen ein Mahl vor und freute sich, daß er mit seinem ganzen Haus an Gott gläubig geworden war.
v32…. Even in their pain, God was not far from Paul and Silas….. They knew the scriptures…. They knew that they could trust Him with their lives….. They worshipped even in these very difficult circumstances…. The Lord himself comforted and encouraged them…… The God of all comfort was with them….. Today…. Even in our hard times…. The God of all comfort is with us too…. 2 Cor 1: 3-7….
In that passage….. Please read it in your own personal Bible study times….. In that passage we learn a great truth…… When we experience hard times….. When disaster strikes……… Not only is God with us….. But HE has a plan in it for our good……. And for the good of others…… and for His Glory…. It´s all right there in 2 cor 1…. This prison experience is just one of these kinds of examples….
Look…. they have been arrested, beaten, and imprisoned for doing good…… Paul and Silas are filled with joy….. and sing praises to God……. What does it take to make us stop praising God? Just about anything can make us get all discouraged…… We even have the nerve to complain to the Lord….. Why did you let that happen Lord? I DON´T DESERVE THIS…..You fix this right now….
Anyone can be happy in good and happy circumstances…. but genuine lasting joy must come from our faith and trust in the LORD Jesus…. The Good news is that this joy that no man can take away… is available to genuine believers at all times….. That supernatural Joy…. The Joy that no man can take away….. That is what sustained them in their hard times… The joy of the Lord is your strength…. Nehemiah 8:10…
v25b…... And the prisoners were listening to them….. What a strange way for Paul and Silas to behave…. Remember Silas is new to Paul´s ministry….. He could have acted like us….. Wait a minute….. I didn´t sign up for trials and tribulation….. I signed up to preach the Good News…… And prison is not my idea of Good News…. Prayer and praise to God at midnight…… After a beating…. in the midst of a brutal prison…...
v26… Suddenly there was a great earthquake…. This earthquake was totally supernatural….. God had a plan… all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were loosed……
v27,28… The keeper of the prison was about to kill himself…… Guards who allowed their prisoners to escape would pay with their life…. Knowing this, Paul called out…. Don´t kill yourself…. We are all here….
In not escaping….. they showed Godly discernment….. The circumstances said, "escape…… But love said, Stay…. If they took off….. The jailer would die…..
As believers we do not just look after ourselves…. We look at the needs of others…. Phil 2: 3,4…. They were guided by what the love of Jesus compelled them to do……
v29,30…. This hardened keeper of the prison fell down trembling….. This is as dramatic as it sounds…... This man was more affected by the love and grace in the lives of Paul and Silas than the earthquake….. Think about this….. He may have even been the same guard who beat them a few hours earlier!
He says…. What must I do to be saved…. The jailer was so impressed by Paul and Silas - by the love they showed to him, and from their ability to take joy even in misery - that he instantly wants the kind of life that Paul and Silas have…… This is how God wants our lives to be….. As we live our Christian lives….. We become magnets drawing people to the Lord Jesus….. Our lives should make others want what we have…… It is clear that God has orchestrated all of this pain and suffering…. So that this man and his family could come to Christ….
v31…. This jailer is prepared to repent and believe the Gospel….. It is clear that he knows his life is on the line…. Paul's answer is a classic statement of the essence of the gospel….. believe on the Lord Jesus Christ….. and you will be saved…… This is salvation by grace alone….. received by faith alone……
v32… Paul came and spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house…... They were all saved because they all trusted the Word of God…. They believed in Jesus as their Lord and Savior…
v33…. And he washed their stripes….. This jailer and his family had been blessed and ministered to by Paul and Silas…. Now the same jailer who had been punishing them….. was now ministering to Paul and Silas….. caring for their wounds….. This shows how repentant he was…… and how he gladly followed the example of love shown by Paul and Silas……The family took their first step in obedience to the Lord…. they were baptized that very night….
v34…. And he rejoiced….. This man was carried from suicidal despair and grief…. To abounding joy in one evening…. All of it flowed from Paul and Silas' suffering and pain….
They were testifying of God ´s grace and unfailing love for them.….. They were able to Praise and worship even in their hard times…..
Can we sing praise to God in our difficult and terrible times…? Will we be able to hang on to Jesus no matter what happens to us?
If we do… People will notice….. They will know that we have a real and living hope….. Maybe…. They will want what we have…… Maybe through our tears….. we will tell of the Love and mercy of our Savior…..
In closing this morning… I would like to look again at 2 Corinthians….. this time turn to Ch 4…
Paul and Silas were wonderfully used by the Lord Jesus….. But sometimes…. Even these great men of God suffered hard times… Humanly speaking unexplainable disasters struck them even when they were doing good and serving the Lord….. They could have become bitter and angry…. They could have let their bitterness destroy their relationship with the Lord Jesus…… They could have allowed circumstances to ruin their usefulness for the Lord…. Thank God they knew that the Lord had not abandoned them…… They did not understand what had happened….. But they did understand the God they loved and served…. And so they worshipped Him….. Perhaps it was through their tears…… But nevertheless…. They worshipped Him…… When they did…… They shook the hearts of those who heard them….. The Good news of the Gospel shakes the very foundations of sinners when they see their sin…. Especially because they were praising God in their suffering…. An earthquake of hearts and lives happened…. And lives were brought into the Kingdom of Heaven….. All because they did not lose heart….
Let´s let Paul put all of this together for us this morning…. Turn to 2 Cor 4….v1…
2 Corinthians 4:1-18 NKJV
1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death is working in us, but life in you.
13 And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, 14 knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:1-18 slt 2000
1 Darum, weil wir dieses Amt haben nach der Barmherzigkeit, die uns widerfahren ist, werden wir nicht müde,
2 sondern wir meiden schändliche Heimlichkeit und gehen nicht mit List um, fälschen auch nicht Gottes Wort, sondern durch Offenbarung der Wahrheit empfehlen wir uns dem Gewissen aller Menschen vor Gott.
3 Ist nun aber unser Evangelium verdeckt, so ist's denen verdeckt, die verloren werden,
4 den Ungläubigen, denen der Gott dieser Welt den Sinn verblendet hat, dass sie nicht sehen das helle Licht des Evangeliums von der Herrlichkeit Christi, welcher ist das Ebenbild Gottes.
5 Denn wir predigen nicht uns selbst, sondern Jesus Christus, dass er der Herr ist, wir aber eure Knechte um Jesu willen.
6 Denn Gott, der sprach: Licht soll aus der Finsternis hervorleuchten, der hat einen hellen Schein in unsre Herzen gegeben, dass durch uns entstünde die Erleuchtung zur Erkenntnis der Herrlichkeit Gottes in dem Angesicht Jesu Christi.
7 Wir haben aber diesen Schatz in irdenen Gefäßen, damit die überschwängliche Kraft von Gott sei und nicht von uns.
8 Wir sind von allen Seiten bedrängt, aber wir ängstigen uns nicht. Uns ist bange, aber wir verzagen nicht.
9 Wir leiden Verfolgung, aber wir werden nicht verlassen. Wir werden unterdrückt, aber wir kommen nicht um.
10 Wir tragen allezeit das Sterben Jesu an unserm Leibe, damit auch das Leben Jesu an unserm Leibe offenbar werde.
11 Denn wir, die wir leben, werden immerdar in den Tod gegeben um Jesu willen, damit auch das Leben Jesu offenbar werde an unserm sterblichen Fleisch.
12 So ist nun der Tod mächtig in uns, aber das Leben in euch.
13 Weil wir aber denselben Geist des Glaubens haben, wie geschrieben steht (Psalm 116,10): »Ich glaube, darum rede ich«, so glauben wir auch, darum reden wir auch;
14 denn wir wissen, dass der, der den Herrn Jesus auferweckt hat, wird uns auch auferwecken mit Jesus und wird uns vor sich stellen samt euch.
15 Denn es geschieht alles um euretwillen, damit die überschwängliche Gnade durch die Danksagung vieler noch reicher werde zur Ehre Gottes.
16 Darum werden wir nicht müde; sondern wenn auch unser äußerer Mensch verfällt, so wird doch der innere von Tag zu Tag erneuert.
17 Denn unsre Trübsal, die zeitlich und leicht ist, schafft eine ewige und über alle Maßen gewichtige Herrlichkeit,
18 uns, die wir nicht sehen auf das Sichtbare, sondern auf das Unsichtbare. Denn was sichtbar ist, das ist zeitlich; was aber unsichtbar ist, das ist ewig.
v1…. We do not lose heart
v2… we have renounced craftiness and deceitful handling of the Word of God….
v6…. God has shown in our hearts
v7…. We are earthen vessels… but full of the treasure of the knowledge of God…. It is seen
in the face of Jesus Christ….… even though we…
v8…. We are pressed…. Yet not crushed… we are perplexed…. But not in despair…
v9… Persecuted… but not forsaken…. Struck down… but not destroyed…
v10,11,12…. Always carrying about in our bodies…. The dying of the Lord Jesus… So that the Life of Jesus might also be manifested…. then death is working in us, but life in you…..
v16…. Therefore we do not lose heart….
v17…. Our light affliction is but for a moment… It is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory….
Paul life and his Words ring down through the centuries….. Don´t lose heart….. Follow me as I follow Christ….. we did not lose heart we looked to forever….. I am reminded of the verse in Hebrews…. Hebrews 12…..v1…. turn there real quick…
Hebrews 12: 1,2 NKJV slt 2000
1Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
1 Da wir nun eine solche Wolke von Zeugen um uns haben, so laßt uns jede Last ablegen und die Sünde, die uns so leicht umstrickt, und laßt uns mit Ausdauer1 laufen in dem Kampf, der vor uns liegt,
2 indem wir hinschauen auf Jesus,2 den Anfänger und Vollender des Glaubens, der um der vor ihm liegenden Freude willen das Kreuz erduldete und dabei die Schande für nichts achtete, und der sich zur Rechten des Thrones Gottes gesetzt hat.
Many of our brothers and sisters have suffered for the sake of the Gospel…… They kept their eyes on Jesus……. They knew that he had a plan and purpose even in the pain and sorrow….
Jesus suffered for us….. For the Joy of bringing us to the throne of Grace…. What love….. What a great and awesome God we serve…..
A Quick note!
Here are the points from last week´s sermon for those of you who asked about them…. Remember that you can listen to the sermon on the Web site!
Finding the Will of God in 2015
Taken from George Muller's thoughts on finding the will of God...
1. Surrender your own will….
2. Do not depend on feelings……
3. Seek, the Holy Spirit's will through God's Word…..
4. Note God´s guiding through circumstances…..
6. Wait….. Wait on the Lord…..