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Tested To Different Limits

Acts 15:39-41

Paul and Barnabas were preparing to go back to the churches they had established during their first missionary journey. It had been a dangerous series of encounters because of increasingly violent opposition from religionists who refused to accept Jesus as God's way to salvation. Barnabas wanted to include his cousin, John Mark, on the team.

Growing The Team

Acts 16:1-5

Paul and Silas travelled overland to the cities, in what is now southern Turkey, where Paul had previously preached the gospel and new believers grouped together as new churches. Last time he visited, religious activists opposed his teaching and their hostility overflowed into violence. Nevertheless, he knew that the spiritually immature believers needed encouragement and further teaching: that was why he returned, despite the threat of further violence.

Guided By The Holy Spirit

Acts 16:6-10

Paul, Silas, Timothy and some others travelled from city to city preaching Christ Jesus - the crucified yet risen Saviour of the world. How did they know where to go? The Holy Spirit allowed them to go to obvious places when that was right, and prevented them from journeys that were not in God's will. How did the Holy Spirit guide them? We do not know but we can only assume it was a combination of God's Word with divinely arranged external circumstances, internally discerned choices and sensitive consciences.

Travelling With God

Acts 16:11-13

Paul knew exactly where he had to go (Acts 16:9). The destination was Macedonia and the nearest entry point from Troas was Neapollis. It was only a short journey by sailing ship, but rocky islands made the journey hazardous at night.

Finding A Ministry Start-point

Acts 16:14-15

Wherever Paul travelled, he always tried to find a 'ministry start-point'. The Lord had personally commissioned him to take the gospel to the Gentiles, but Paul's usual approach was to go to the synagogue first, preaching to the Jews and God-fearing Gentiles (Romans 1:16). But in Philippi there was no synagogue.

Time To Deal With Trouble

Acts 16:16-18

Paul, Silas and their team were in Philippi. The riverside meeting place, where God-fearers gathered to hear the gospel (Acts 16:13), also attracted a demonised woman.

Trouble Bites Back

Acts 16:19-24

Paul and Silas were preaching the gospel and teaching the new believers how to live their new life in Christ (Acts 16:13-15).

The Lord Who Delivers

Acts 16:25-28

In the Philippian prison for preaching the gospel and releasing a demonised slave girl from her oppression (Acts 16:16-21), Paul and Silas were full of praise, singing and praying from the depths of their dark cell.

The Lord Who Saves

Acts 16:29-32

In the middle of the night in Philippi, the earthquake released all the prisoners from their shackles (Acts 16:25-26). The jailer trusted Paul, as he took command of his fellow inmates. None of them escaped.

The Lord Changes Things

Acts 16:33-36

So much had changed within hours. At dusk, Paul and Silas were shackled by their ankles in an inner cell of the prison in Philippi (Acts 16:22-24).