Sunday School Material 11-15-15: From Derbe to Philippi

(Acts 16:1-5, 8-15; 11/15/15)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that God is doing a good work through Paul and his team. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to let God use us to do a good work.

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Read Acts 16:1-3

I. New Helper. In our Sunday School material Paul wanted a man by the name of Timothy to work with him. Paul had him circumcised. The circumcision was a peace making move because of Timothy’s Greek father and the Jews in the area. 

Applications –

- Living right. Notice in vss. 1-2 that Timothy was a disciple who people spoke well of. First, we should actually be disciples. We should be saved people who are striving to live by God’s word. We should obey God, as a demonstration of how much we love Him.

There are also all kinds of blessings for those who obey and punishment for those who don’t obey. Second, we should live so that people can see God working through us.

What God knows about us is more important than what people think about us. However, to some extent, our walk with God should be visible to others. Let’s work on living so the world can see Jesus in us.

- Circumcision for peace sake. Notice in vs. 3 of our Sunday School material that Timothy is circumcised, essentially for peace sake. There are times when the loving thing to do is to go through some things for the sake of peace.

There are other times when you need to resist the pressure to comply with human traditions and expectations. Let’s pray for the wisdom to know what to do and the spiritual courage to do it. There is no one size fit all.

Let’s also strive to avoid having people do unnecessary things for our sense of comfort. The more rules we have, the less mature we tend to be.

Read Acts 16:4-5

II. Renewed Strength. The church in Jerusalem had made some decisions. In our Sunday School material Paul and his team were delivering the decisions. There was growth in the churches. 

Applications –

- Unity and growth. Notice in vss. 4-5 that the people of God worked together and the church grew in faith and numbers.

First, it is so important for the people of God to work together. God sends leaders to lead. Helpers should help. Followers should follow.

Second, the church should be known for both faith and numbers. Numbers without faith is not pleasing to God. However, faith without numbers make us suspicious of the faith. Faith should produce numbers.

Let’s work on working together, so the church can be known for growing in faith and numbers. 

Read Acts 16:8-15

III. New Mission Field. In our Sunday School material Paul received a vision to go to Macedonia. His team supported his vision. They ended up staying with a lady named Lydia. She was not only a business woman, but she and her household were baptized. 

Applications –

- Owning and supporting the vision. Notice in vss. 9-10 that God gave the vision to Paul and the team owned and supported the vision.

First, it is important for leaders to have a vision or sense of where God is calling them to lead God’s people to. Sometimes the goals, plans, and budget are fuzzy, but you should have at least a general sense of where are you driving the bus to.

Second, everyone on the team needs to own and support the vision. It is very unlikely that God sends a vision to helpers or followers. So if you are not supporting the vision given to the leader, you are not supporting a God given vision.

It takes unified work to make the vision a reality. Let’s work on owning and supporting the vision that God sends to the leader. 

- Flexibility. Notice in vss. 13-14 that being open to God’s will is important. Instead of going to the synagogue, the team ended up at the river.

Instead of talking with men, they ended up talking with women. In like manner, we should be open to whatever way God is moving. God is not restricted to what we are used to or what we expect.

Let’s work on being flexible enough to follow God’s will, no matter what it may be. 

- Lydia’s example. Notice in vss. 14-15 of our Sunday School material that Lydia sets a great example. She is known for being a business woman, worshipper of God, a baptized believer, one who led her household to Christ, and one given to hospitality.

First, believers should be known for not only praying and worshipping, but we should also be known for our work ethic. Many can do better with their own business than working for themselves.

Second, believers should be known for worshipping God. Worship calls for more than simply attending the worship service. Worship is a verb, we do worship. We should worship god with enthusiasm that edifies other believers who are assembled.

Third, more important than being baptized is living like baptized believers. We are called to live as those who have died to the sins of this world and now live a resurrected life for Jesus.

Fourth, we should make sure that we are doing our part to help our household and loved ones get saved and grow in the Lord. Fifth, we should be known for our love and hospitality.

To whom much is given, much is required. We should find ways to be kind to others. Let’s work on living by the example set by Lydia.  

Conclusion: Let’s work on letting God use us to do a good work. God has much for those who obey His will. 

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