ACTS OF THE APOSTLES
Chapter 15:36-41 & Chapter 16
Work In Philippi
After Paul and Barnabas had been in Antioch for awhile, Paul spoke to Barnabas about going back to the places where they had ministered before to see how the new believers were doing. That was all right with Barnabas, but he wanted to take his nephew Mark along. Paul remembered how John Mark had left their missionary party before – Acts 13:13 – and didn’t want to have Mark go. Barnabas was displeased. Now Paul needed a different helper, and he close Silas to go with him. Barnabas and Mark went to Cyprus, while Paul and Silas went back over some of the old territory. Paul and Silas went with the blessing of the believers in Antioch.
The second Missionary Journey: They came to Derbe and Lystra. Here they found young Timothy – Acts 16:1-3. He had a good report. His mother was a Jewess but his father was a Greek. We read in II Tim. 1:5 that his mother Eunice and grandmother Lois were firm believers. He had learned the scriptures from the time he was very young – II Tim. 3:14-15. Let us be like young Timothy and hide God’s Word in our hearts, also. You might not know at this time how the Lord wants to use you. But if you take the time to learn the Word and let it work in you life, you too, could have a good report and be ready when the time comes for you to serve the Lord, no matter where.
They made several stops and helped the people become established. It says in Acts 16:6 that they were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the Word in Asia. In V. 7 we learn that when they tried to go into Bithynia, on the northern edge of Asia Minor, that was forbidden also. Then they came to Troas, a seaport. Notice how Paul and Silas listened to the Lord. They were obedient. Young Timothy was with them. This was a good learning experience for him, also. It was in Troas that the Lord gave Paul a vision in the night. When the Lord closed doors, He could and did open another door. In this vision, Paul saw a man of Macedonia, asking them to come into his country and help them. Luke wrote the Book of Acts. When he said “we” in V. 10 it is understood that now there were at least four in this missionary group – Paul, Silas, Timothy and Like. It was agreed that they should go into Macedonia. They sailed to another seaport and then up to Philippi. The group went west instead of east. This is our modern Europe. At a much later time, the gospel came to America from Europe.
What took place in Philippi, the chief city of Macedonia: Apparently there was no Jewish synagogue there. When the sabbath day came they went out of the city by the river side. People were gathered there to pray. They sat down and spoke to the women who met there. A woman named Lydia, from Thyatira, who sold purple (material) listened to what they had to say. The Lord opened her heart. She even invited them to stay at her house.
The group continued to go to prayer. There was a demon possessed girl who kept following them. Demons know who Jesus is and who His followers are. This girl said things which were true, but the Lord didn’t tell her to say them. That is why Paul after hearing this for many days, finally rebuked her. She was delivered of those demons. She could no longer tell fortunes and her masters were angry with the missionaries. They caught Paul and Silas and took them to the authorities. They were spoken against, were beaten, thrown into prison, and put into the inner prison, with feet fastened in the stocks. The jailor was charged to keep them safely.
God was not finished with them. They were not defeated. Instead of crying and asking “why,” They sang and praised God. It wasn’t done quietly either. The prisoners heard them. Suddenly at midnight there was an earthquake, the very foundation of the prison was shaken. The doors were opened and everyone’s bonds were loosed. Yes, they all could have escaped, but they didn’t – not then. Since the jailor had received this charge, he knew his own life was in danger, so he figured he might as well end his own life. V. 28 – Paul cried with a loud voice telling him not to do this. The man called for a light. He at once knew that he needed to be saved. He even asked them what to do to be saved. They said – V. 31 – “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, and they house.” They meant, of course, that his whole household could be saved as well as he. The jailor took them home to his house, washed their stripes, and fed them. Best of all, they all believed on the Lord Jesus Christ after Paul had preached to them, and they were baptized. They all rejoiced. Wouldn’t you?
The next morning the rulers sent word to free them. They wanted them to just go and not cause them trouble. Paul, however, told them that it wouldn’t work that way. They were beaten openly when they hadn’t really had a trial; now they would have to come and openly take them out. This caused the officials to be afraid. This was a Roman colony, and Paul was a Roman citizen. So they were asked to leave. They did, after awhile. First they spent some time with Lydia and with the other believers.
You can see how the church was started in Philippi. The church must have been made up of the business woman Lydia and her household, the girl who had been demon possessed, the jailor and his family, and who knows how many others. The same message fit them all. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” This means believing that Jesus is the Lord (Master), that He is the Savior, that He is the Christ (messiah, anointed One) Whom God sent, that He was raised from the dead. Believing this and accepting Him into the heart brings salvation to you and to all who will believe. Have you asked Jesus to save you? No matter what you have known or believed in the past doesn’t matter. Right now ask Jesus to save you and give you this wonderful salvation. Paul and Silas knew Jesus so well that they could be happy in any situation. You can, too.
Continued in the next issue.