Acts 16

Day 16, Acts 16.

 

This chapter begins with the Apostle Paul going to Derbe and then Lystra, where Paul picked up Timothy. Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. Its not that being circumcised was needed, but this is an example of Paul becoming all things to all men so that be all possible means he might save some.

1 Corinthians 9:19-23

19 Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

Just as Paul took pains to we must look to take pains to not be offensive when we share the gospel. People have to be willing to listen in order to hear the Word of God, and if we do things to prevent people from being willing to listen, then we make it harder for them to be saved.

In the process of moving from town to town, the fact that the gentiles were not required to follow the Law and be circumcised, as had been decided by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem.

As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.

The Holy Spirit had kept them from preaching the Gospel in Asia (what we would call Asia Minor today). Then Paul had a vision that led him to go into Macedonia to preach the gospel there. They went to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. This is the same Philippi for which has a book of the Bible named.

There was most likely no synagogue there, as on the Sabbath they went to find a place of prayer by the river, outside the city gate. While there, the Lord opened the heart of what was most likely a rich woman to believe the gospel. She and her household were baptized.

A slave girl who had a demon of prophecy began following Paul around, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” She kept it up so much, that after some number of days, Paul got so frustrated, he cast the spirit out.

So many times today people make fun of those who believe there is a god and even more so if they claim there are angels and demons. Other times, people claim they have had a gift from God of prophecy, but here we see Paul cast out a demon of prophecy. How likely is it to have come from God? I dont think so!

The casting out of the demon from the slave upset the slave’s owners so much that they had the local magistrates put Paul and his team in jail after having them flogged.

Then God freed them.

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose.

When the jailer saw the doors had been open, he was sure they had escaped. Because of the severe consequences that Rome had for guards who let their charges escape, he was going to kill himself. But before he could do, Paul stopped him.

The jailer asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

And they explained it to them. At which point, the jailer and his household were baptized. Now some would want to think this is evidence that baptism is required as a part of salvation. But in fact, the baptism is a sign of obedience once they had believed. This is evident when we see the response of Paul to the jailer, Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

The next day, the magistrates wanted  Paul and his team released. But Paul wanted the magistrates to do it themselves. Once they were released and appeased, Paul went and encouraged the brothers in Philippi.

We need to recall that to be saved, we must believe in the Lord Jesus as Lord and Savior. Baptism is something we should do in response to what God has done for us, showing we love Him.

 

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