Body: Read Acts 16:11-24 4. The Work at Philippi. In this section of the book of Acts Paul and company were ministering. Lydia became a great asset to their work. A slave girl was healed of a fortune telling demon, by Paul. This interrupted the slave owner’s money, so they had Paul and Silas beaten and arrested.
Applications – - Responding to God’s call. Notice in vss. 11-12 of this section of the book of Acts that Paul was on the move for the Lord. Even though God may not call on every believer to move his/her physical location as much as Paul moved, we should all be willing to at least move up in our spiritual maturity and understanding.
We should be willing to move to the various assignments that God is calling us to perform in our church, community, and family. Let’s be willing to go and do whatever God calls us to do. We should love God more than any place or assignment that He gives us.
- Church attendance. Notice in vs. 13 that Paul was known for staying in community with other believers. No matter how long we go to church and no matter what title we may gain in service, every believer should be a regular participant in worship and Christian community.
The devil is at his best, when he can divide and conquer us. We are at our best, when we are together in Christ. Let’s make sure we make time to be in church with other believers. Radio, television, and even internet are no substitutes for being in the presence of other believers.
- Lessons from Lydia. Notice in vss. 14-15 of this section of the book of Acts three lessons. First, Lydia’s heart was opened and she responded to the message of Paul. We should strive to have a heart opened towards what God is saying to us and calling us to do.
Second, Lydia appears to have her own business and home, while yet being a worshipper of God. She did this without the mention of a man. This text should inspire especially women to know that God can do great things in and through your lives with or without a man.
Third, we would do well to realize that just as God did great things in and through the life of Lydia, God is doing great things in and through the lives of many women today.
We miss so much of what God is doing, when we think of women in restrictive terms. Let’s work on having hearts that are open to God, trusting God’s ability to do great things with or without a spouse, and believing that God is doing great things through women.
- Demonic activity. From this section of the book of Acts notice in vss. 16-18 two lessons. First, the devil is real, but he is less than God. It would be a mistake to think that the devil is simply a myth. He is real and deadly.
Second, if you have the gift of exorcism, use it. If you don’t have the gift of exorcism, ask God to handle the devil and his attempts to stop you from obeying God’s will.
Even though the Pastor doesn’t know of anyone with the gift of exorcism, he does believe that every believer can ask God to handle the devil. Let’s be mindful of the devil and pray that God would handle him.
- Money and malicious agendas. Notice in vss. 19-22 of the book of Acts two lessons. First, when the money was interrupted, things got hostile. As long as Paul’s ministry did not impact the revenue of those who owned the slave girl, Paul’s ministry was allowed.
But when Paul’s ministry stopped the revenue, all kinds of problems arose. We should not be surprised when our ministry leads to trouble because somebody’s revenue has been impacted.
The drug dealers will respond, when ministry leads to a shortage of drug buyers and a surge in people calling the police about drug transactions. The politicians will respond, when ministry leads to organized and effective efforts to stop wasteful spending on pet projects.
Second, some people act with malice and others with apparent ignorance. The owners appear to be malicious, while the crowd seems to be ignorant.
We should work to make sure that we are not malicious in our actions and not ignorantly caught up in the malicious schemes of others. It is not strange to hear people use rhetoric to get us excited and before we know it, we are being manipulated into being a part of a plan that we did not sign up for.
For example, it is easy to get Black believers engaged in a discussion about racial discrimination. However, all claims of racial discrimination are not legitimate. Sometimes the race card is played to recruit people into a malicious or at least undisclosed agenda.
Let’s be aware of how interrupting money can lead to trouble and guard against being a part of malicious agendas.
- Beaten and jailed. Notice in vss. 22-24 of the book of Acts that Paul and Silas are beaten and put in jail for ministering. First, doing God’s will doesn’t always lead to smooth sailing.
In fact, we should expect some troubles along our way. But thank God, no matter how bad things get, we have hope that God is working all things out for the good of His people.
Second, pain may seem to be disproportionate. Even though Paul and Silas are in jail, where are the rest of the people? Sometimes it seems that you are getting more trouble than you deserve, while others are living rather stress free lives.
In these times, we should make sure we are in the will of God and simply trust that God is still working things out for the good of His people. Don’t get distracted, especially by things that you have no control over. Let’s work on trusting God even when things get rough and seem unfair.
Conclusion: Let’s work on being witnesses for the Lord, everywhere we go. God has much for those who obey His will.
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