Book Of Acts – Advance Study (Part 13)

Acts 16

1 Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: 2 Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. 3 Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek. 4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. 5 And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.

The Doctrine of Ethnicity: What do you think about ‘inter-racial marriage’? What about Baptist and non-Baptist Christian marriage/dating? What are the problems that occur with these situations. I believe that it is perfectly permissable for a Black and a White to marry; a Mexican and a Asian; a Polish person and an East Indian, etc.. There might be social stereotypes and prejudicism that can bring about difficulties, though. It was a problem for Timothy with his ‘mixed parents’…especially on how the Jews would have looked at him. It is not wise (nor scriptural) to have a Baptist marry/date a non-Baptist. It might be like a Jewess marrying a Greek. There are significant differences of belief.

The Doctrine of Church Planting: How did Paul get a ‘Timothy’ to train? Well, by going from city to city evangelizing. It may be that the best way to be one that trains men for the ministry is by going city to city evangelizing and planting churches, and there you very well may find a trainee. A great man (or woman) of God can come from a dysfunctional family. Paul was always looking for a good prospect to train.

These cities all had churches planted by Paul, at least most. They needed to be grounded in doctrine more solidly. A church planter needs to follow up to solidify doctrine. New church plants primarily need doctrine to be taught; they need to become very solid in ‘the faith’ so that this conglomeration of different beliefs (members) all gels into one belief. They would meet daily to teach them doctrine! And, by doing this, there were more added to the church…daily!

When planting a new church, how should its doctrinal statement be formed? Here, the Mother church’s doctrine was the template. In a church plant it is vital to give them the ‘decrees for to keep’; have them ‘established in the faith’. Don’t leave it up to the new people to decide on what the church should believe.

6 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, 7 After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. 8 And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. 10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavored to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them. 11 Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis; 12 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.

The Doctrine of the Call of God: How does a church planter, or Missionary, or evangelist, know where God wants him to go…or not go? Well, the Holy Ghost may forbid you to go to a certain place…he may make it physically impossible for you to go. It may have been simply that the Spirit impressed on his heart not to go…at least for now (suffered you not). This can be employed for discerning which city a church should go evangelizing next.

How do you know where you are called to? It may be much like the Macedonian call; Someone begging for a preacher to come to their town. That call needs to be answered! If someone is begging you to plant a church in their town, are you obligated to do such?…. When you feel that it is such and such a city, well, then ‘endeavor’ to go and see what happens.

Today it is not wise to put much stock in visions, including dreams, premonitions, gut feelings, hunches, etc.. Here, their understanding that it was the call of God was stated as ‘assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us’; it all eventually comes down to faith…a solid assumption…feeling ‘assured’.

The Doctrine of Evangelism: They had great liberty in changing directions and fields of ministry; if they were with a ‘Board’ this would probably not have been possible. It is wise to go to the ‘chief city’ first. Something to ponder: is it a wise strategy to first go to the largest city in a region and plant a church…vice a smaller city?… This was where the church of Philippi began.

13 And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither. 14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. 15 And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.

The Doctrine of Missions: They came to the largest city and tried to find someone to respond to the truth and then hopefully they would take care of their needs for the time. It is scriptural to go to a city to evangelize and then to have someone take you in and house you and feed you.

God can first touch a woman’s heart to be the first convert; men, it is ok to evangelize a group of women. Missionaries/Evangelists should look for someone’s heart being opened, whom God had touched; they will be used to meet your needs.

Missionaries should stay with ‘faithful Christians’ (not necessarily Best Westerns). Who is ‘constraining’ Missionaries to abide with them?… Was she married?….I believe so.

16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: 17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. 18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour. 19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,

The Doctrine of Devil Oppression: The Devil might be quick to bring a devil-inspired person to a newly arrived church planter to mess things up. This is a very common occurrence in church plants. They may be a disgruntled member of another church that is going to consistently spread his ‘good cheer’ at all your church services. The devil can disrupt things by someone saying biblically true things; but it is done to distract. They may do it by making a lot of comments in a Sunday School class, etc.. How long should you put up with someone that is possibly disrupting your ministering to others? ‘Many days’?! You eventually may need to turn to that person and boldly rebuke them. We need to get grieved at people who hinder the gospel going out. There is no long drawn out yelling, binding, pleading, commanding, quoting of verses, praying, etc., here; it was all of a sudden. These “deliverance” ministries today are basically bogus. Today, the sign gift of ‘discerning spirits’ is gone; we must only pray to God for Him to deliver and never try and deal directly with a devil..

20 And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, 21 And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. 22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.

The Doctrine of Persecution: The civil law wasn’t broken; just the Jews’ religious laws. Persecution for the Christian often comes through false or semi-false accusations being laid against them from the liberals out there. It especially is likely to happen when you start getting more intense with living for the Lord and doing great things for God in your city (exceedingly trouble our city). Was this a true accusation? No. Exaggerated. What are you going to do ‘church’ when certain in a city turn on you and get the media going against you?… It may be that they will say that we are doing something against the law (civil) : i.e., like evangelizing, preaching against homosexuality or abortion or the errors of other religions, etc..

In other countries they might even try and ‘beat’ you. What would you do then?….

23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: 24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. 25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.

26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.

The Doctrine of Persecution: Many stripes was probably 30 to 40, or more. This type of beating sometimes killed the victim. If this happened today, it could easily cause a Missionary to say “Let’s get out of here and never ever go back.” Paul and Silas were ‘met with a beating’ upon arriving at their field of calling… and then were thrown in a dirty dungeon in chains. Some liberals have this insane level of anger against any and all that would call themselves a fundamentalist Christian. These would love to lay many stripes upon these right wing extremists!

Why did they wait till midnight to pray and praise? They probably waited unto this late hour to have more of an effect when everyone was quietly sleeping. They were going to start their all night praise and prayer meeting. When in persecution, pray and then praise the Lord. While they were singing/praising this miracle happened; the earthquake didn’t loose the bands…God did.

29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.

The Doctrine of Salvation: The Jailer was under great spiritual conviction; he had heard Paul’s message and seen God’s power in Paul’s life. Ready to commit suicide one minute, and ready to get saved from Hell the next! You can see how someone can be ripe for salvation despite being ‘ready’ for suicide… A time of desperation is a good time for salvation.

Oh how many (wrong) answers there are to this question: “What must I do to be saved?” (list them)

Is believing on Jesus enough?! For him it was… he already understood repentance; he understood that Jesus was ‘from God’. And, v. 32 tells us that Paul went on to explain salvation from the Bible. Watch out for ‘easy-believism’.

There was a big gathering at his house; most of his friends and relatives were there after hearing about what had just happened.

33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. 34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

The Doctrine of Baptism: Oh the guilt he felt; this is a good sign of true repentance and salvation; the righting of wrongs. He brought forth works meet for repentance. What are the pre-requisites for baptism? Well, what happened with the Jailer? Before he was baptized, he declared belief on Jesus Christ and showed his seriousness to follow the Lord and do what was right, i.e. true repentance. The others in his house did the same. What do you think about someone who ‘comes forward’ at a church service and ‘gets saved’ and then never darkens the doorway of the church’s building again?….

35 And when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, Let those men go. 36 And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and go in peace. 37 But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out. 38 And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans. 39 And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city. 40 And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.

The Doctrine of Persecution: At this time they were back in the jail. It might have been that all this was done in order for this Jailer and his house to get saved and baptized! Do you think Paul was being a little ‘in the flesh’ here? Wanting to get even? I believe that Paul was under the power of the Holy Spirit here; he just had a great delivery by the power of God and people got saved. God wanted to put fear into their hearts and allow Paul some more liberty. Sometimes God will want you to humble people when they have done a great sin.

Should a Missionary leave a city if the government requests/orders them too?…