TUESDAY, OCTOBER 17
SCRIPTURE: Acts 16
As this chapter opens, we are introduced to another character who will play an important role in the spreading of the Gospel and the growth of the New Testament Church. His name is Timothy. He will take the place of John Mark who went with Barnabas in the previous chapter. Timothy will become a very special assistant to Paul. And as you get further into the New Testament, you will find that Paul wrote Timothy at least a couple of letters. Those letters are among what we call the pastoral epistles. And those epistles are absolutely invaluable to the church today.
In this chapter we also encounter the Macedonian Call. As you read about that, you will find that Paul and his missionary team seemed to be intent on going into Asia to preach the Gospel. That was not God’s plan at the time. He wanted the Gospel to be taken west into Europe.
There are a couple of important things to consider about this. One, God has a plan. His plan is not always our plan. His ways are not always our ways. His thoughts are not always our thoughts. But He has a plan. And the best thing any of us can do is discover that plan and dedicate ourselves to it. The second important thing to consider about this is even the apostles were not always clear what they were supposed to do. Uncertainty is not bad when we are unclear about what God is saying. Uncertainty, however, is bad when we are clear about what God is saying. When we know what God is saying we need to move on with certainty.
Paul and his crew headed off to Europe and arrived in Philippi. Since I heard a very dynamic sermon about Lydia just a few days ago, I am going to skip over her story. What a sermon that was…
Paul and Silas end up in a Philippian jail. Have you ever thought about how many of those early church leaders spent time in jail? I am not sure how the modern American church would react to that. I suspect we would fire the person for such behavior. Thankfully, the early church seemed to be more understanding. The other interesting thing about those early church leaders and jail, is that jails had a hard time holding them. They always seemed to be escaping.
Although Paul and Silas could certainly have escaped this Philippian jail, they chose not to. Instead they turned a potential jail break into an amazing opportunity to preach the Gospel. The jailer, who was going to kill himself because of the supposed jail break, instead was saved.
It is absolutely amazing how God can orchestrate any and all of our circumstances to further His redemptive plan. And it is absolutely amazing how God’s love for all people, even a Philippian jailer is so obvious throughout the Bible. I am glad He loves us.