-Paul and Silas come back to Derbe and to Lystra on this second missionary journey of Paul. Lystra is where Paul picks up his son in the faith, Timothy, who is circumcised by him since his father was Greek. Timothy had a Godly heritage from his mom and grandmother and proved to be indispensable in partnership with the Apostle Paul (Acts 16:1-3, 2 Timothy 1:5). *Application* This narrative proves that Paul was a man of custom who did not desire to cause any offense to the gospel. He knew that the first individuals in the cities they would go to would be the Jews in the synagogues. If Timothy was to be effective and accepted by the Jews, he would need to be circumcised to prevent any kind of offense towards the gospel of Jesus Christ. This willingness to be “all things to all men” was a hallmark of Paul and Timothy’s ministry (1 Corinthians 9:19-23). In our lives, it is good to know our audience when relating the gospel, and remember to do all we can to prevent any distractions from telling the good news of Jesus Christ.
-The purpose for this second missionary journey is described for us in verse four. They were basically relaying the information discerned and approved of by the Jerusalem Council (see Acts 15) for the Gentile believers in these areas they had previously evangelized in Asia Minor. Verse five says that they continued to strengthen all the churches in the faith and the church kept increasing in numbers daily. *Application* How awesome to see the early church’s methodology of doing something every single day to affect life change in people. This is something that we’ve gotten away from in our modern culture. Does your church have activity which could daily change lives, or is it primarily a once or twice a week show for the saints? Compare the Scriptural difference we see here and ask, “What can I do to make a difference every single day?” or “What can our church do to make it more effective in the society we live in?”
-The leading of the Holy Spirit is again paramount as these missionaries desire to go one direction, but the Lord directs them another. Paul’s Macedonian vision is an important development as the team goes into Europe for the first time with the gospel. Notice that the action was immediate when the word of the Lord came. They got the call and responded without question and/or rationalization. God had great things in store for them as they went forward in obedience (Acts 16:6-10). *Application* When God reveals His will to us it is important to obey. This will not always be easy as we see here in the Scriptures (Paul and Silas were beaten and incarcerated for their faith), but the blessings and the power of God was on their lives through this obedience to God’s revealed plan. When we turn away from what you know the Lord wants us to do, we rob ourselves of blessing, honor, and power in the spiritual realm. We must always act out our faith, never compromising and never giving up.
-Philippi is where a majority of the action takes place as the missionaries invade Europe. Lydia is converted with her household and the disciples find a place to stay there with her. A spiritist girl is radically transformed angering her masters and upsetting the city. This leads to the beating and imprisonment, illegally, of Paul and Silas. This sets up the earthquake and dramatic conversion of the jailer and his household. What an array of diverse church members the Philippian church had! The point is that God was at work, and He was calling all people to Himself for salvation using a variety of methods and encounters (Acts 16:11-40). *Application* God is at work in our lives too! We should allow Him to direct us through each day observing where He is at work reconciling the world to Himself using us as an instrument for His glory. We are no different than Paul and Silas. Get to work! The simple message we proclaim is this, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…(Acts 16:31).”
Verse to Memorize: Acts 16:10