|Create Date||November 24, 2018|
|Last Updated||November 24, 2018|
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FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT
OLD IRISH BLESSING:
May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
The rains fall soft upon your fields
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
v12 They arrive at Neapolis and walk the 10 miles to Philippi. For the first time - followers of Jesus enter the city of Philippi. There were so few Jews in this city that it did not even have a synagogue. So the challenge was, how to preach the gospel in such a place? So what do they do. v13 They prayed!! Ever feel like you don’t know which way to turn or what course of action to take, pray!
What a beautiful word picture. In the next part of Paul’s missionary journey he has a vision of a man calling him to come to Macedonia and help them.
READ Acts 16:9-40 I will be commenting on these verses.
v11 “Sailed straight for Samothrace” is a nautical term “sailing before the wind”. The wind was at their backs propelling them forward. But as we all know, winds like life can be fickle. A balmy west wind can easily change to an ice blast from the north.
v14-15 Lydia and her household believe and are baptised. She invites Paul and Silas into her home. They now had a base for operations. But the winds they are a changing.
v16-17 The slave girl through whom a demon was speaking was speaking the truth. She was a fortune teller. Real fortune telling powers can be demonic. At first reading it seems like she might be helping the cause. Telling people where they can find salvation. In the Greek, it says, these men are proclaiming “a” way of salvation.
You have a way of salvation, and we have a way of salvation. Let’s join forces. But Paul was having none of it.
v18 He casts out the demon! And so her fortune telling powers are gone.
v19-22 Paul and Silas are persecuted and beaten with rods because the slave girls masters lost their sourse of income. They stirred up a mob and dragged them before the authorities. Where did this hurricane of trouble come from?
GREED: The girls masters used and exploited the girl for monetary gain.
PREJUDICE: These man are Jews!! They did not like Jews.
EXAGGERATION & LIES: They were not the one’s causing the uproar in the city, or proclaiming unlawful customs.
So, wrongly accused, beaten, thrown into prison, body bruised, bleeding, muscles cramping. Rats scurrying across the floor. No doubt, cold and damp. Feel like singing praises to God? That is what they did. v25
God had come to the party. v26 A violent earthquake rocks the prison, and everyone is set free. The jailer panics, and is about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. v28 Paul stops him.
Why did Paul and Silas not flee when they had the chance? If ever there was a sign from God, surely this was it. It is the middle of the night, there is a violent earthquake, the prison doors are flung open, the chains fall off. The guard is asleep. God has set us free!! We will go to the next city and we can preach the gospel their.
I think because Paul and Silas were focussed on proclaiming the gospel - not on saving their own lives. Their love for the people was the driving force. v29-34 In doing this, they saved the life of the jailer, and he and his entire household believed and were baptised.
WHERE IS YOUR FOCUS?
Are you so wrapped up in your own affairs that the work of God takes a back seat?
The Spirit-filled life is not, as many suppose, a life of peace and quiet pleasure. Satan wants us to draw back, to live a low-keyed, ineffective Christian life. One that will stunt our growth, and render us unfruitful and ineffective.
TOZER WRITES "Oh God, don't ever let me compromise to take the pressure off! Keep me fit for battle; strengthen me for the constant warfare. Don't ever let me settle for 'peaceful stagnation' as long as I have breath to serve You.
Romans 8:35-37 NIV Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
We who bear Christ‘s name have been called to love one another just as he has loved us.
John 15:12 NIV My command is this: love each other as I have loved you.
PAUL’S EXAMPLE v37-40 Paul was not going to be intimidated by the authorities. He had the law on his side. He was arrested, beaten, thrown into prison without a trial. That was illegal especially because they were Roman citizens. They had a right to a fair trial and were not allowed to be beaten without being convicted.
God’s victories are always overwhelming. He will fight our battles for us.
Not always perhaps in the way we might want or expect. He has promised to never forsake us.
END OF THE IRISH BLESSING SUMS IT UP
Even if the road crumbles before you,
Or the wind is at your face;
If the sun beats hot upon you,
Or the storms destroy your fields;
Even if we never meet again,
Remember, God will still hold you in the
palm of His hand.