God calls, are you listening?

Witness to the world: Book of Acts  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  54:18
0 ratings

Mission teams continues

So the new mission team, Paul Silas and Timothy continue on their journey with what seems to be obstacles are really open doors as you will see tonight.
(Insert Paul’s second missionary trip map here)
Letter delivered from Jerusalem to several churches (Act16:1-5)
Antioch of Syria, Cililicia then on to Derbe, Lystra and other cities
They gave letter and strengthened in faith (Act16:5)
And they increased daily (Act16:5)
(Transition) now we are going to continue the journey as they travel through, Galatia region under the power and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit sent them originally (Act13:2-4) and you see the Holy Spirit tonight is very much a part of the mission work and direction (Act16:6-7). In chapter 15-16 you can see if you slow down and look you will see that God directs his people, our passage tonight actually has the 7th time God does it.
Three points tonight (surprise, surprise)
God guides his people (Paul and company)
Discerning God’s guidance today
Seeking the God’s guidance today

God guides Paul and Company

In a time when they are coming off many being added, when things were going well, in spite of persecution, stoning being run out of town. Suddenly we come to a place where it seems doors are being shut, or are they?
Acts 16:6–7 NASB95
6 They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; 7 and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them;
Acts 16:8–9 NASB95
8 and passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. 9 A vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”
Acts 16:10 NASB95
10 When he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
What do you see, what do you notice, what sticks out to you?
Gleaning from the scripture:
Question: What happened to the team after leaving Galatian region (v.6)?
Forbidden by the Spirit to preach in Asia
Question: What did the Spirit do when they tried to go to Bithynia (v.7)?
The Spirit did not permit them.
(no need to say below when presenting, it is only for the handout)
Other scriptures used, referenced (Gal4:13-15; 2Tim4:11)
(Insert Paul’s second missionary trip picture again)
That makes no sense they had the gospel spreading, church growth was happening, elders being placed, churches strengthen, and look at the map. They were being withheld from Ephesus (a place he does go to eventually ans spends two years there (see Act19:1-10), from the region of the seven Asian churches found in Revelation.
Wonder how did the Spirit withhold them or prevent this effective ministry team from furthering the gospel? May I offer a few things.
Could it be withheld through a vision (v.9)? it clearly speaks of a vision, but maybe that vision was after the door seems to have been closed.
Some bible scholars believe that it was through physical infirmity. That Paul had contracted an Asian fever that directly impacted his eyesight, which we know he had seeing problems (see Gal4:13-15)
Galatians 4:13–14 NASB95
13 but you know that it was because of a bodily illness that I preached the gospel to you the first time; 14 and that which was a trial to you in my bodily condition you did not despise or loathe, but you received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus Himself.
Galatians 4:15 NASB95
15 Where then is that sense of blessing you had? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me.
This scenario is plausible due to the fact of the writing change from 3rd person to 1st person we see in (v.10)
Acts 16:10 NASB95
10 When he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
See the “we” and the “us” it would see that Luke has now inserted himself into it. Luke was a trained physician who travelled with Paul and was even imprisoned with Paul (2Tim4:11)
2 Timothy 4:11 NASB95
11 Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service.
Sometimes we need physical hold backs to keep us back from doing what the Lord does not want us to do and to prepare us for what He does want us to do.
Question: So after being withheld, God opens a door. Where and how was the door opened (v.9)?
A door opened in Macedonia, in a vision at night revealed to Paul
Question: What did Paul conclude and do after seeing the vision (v.10)?
Concluded that he was called to preach in Macedonia, and they went immediately.
Ever feel like you have a good plan but all doors are being shut before you? Then the Lord opens the door before you to do what He wants you to do and where He wants you to do it.
Where Paul had a vision at night that directed him, we have the Bible to direct us. The Spirit may nudge us, but the word directs us. Again remember how God speaks in the last days?
Hebrews 1:1–2 NASB95
1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.
Notice the tense here, it is past tense, has spoken. We have everything we need according to 2Pt1:3,how? Well, look at the verse and you tell me
2 Peter 1:3 NASB95
3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.
True knowledge! True knowledge of Him, which means there is fake knowledge too and hence we need to know Him so when fake shows up we know it and the Spirit confirms within us.
(Transition) So, God still guides people today, so may we take a few minutes and look briefly at understanding God’s guidance today.

Discerning God’s guidance today

Discerning, what a great word, it means having or showing good judgment. It is taking information you have and applying it. We need to know how God guides us today.
Understanding/discerning God’s proclaimed will (1The5:16-18; 1Pt2:13-15)
1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 NASB95
16 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Question: in looking at 1The5:16-18, what is God’s proclaimed will?
To rejoice, to pray, to give thanks.
God does not tell us His will and all for all things, but here is another example of letting His will be known.
1 Peter 2:13–14 NASB95
13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.
1 Peter 2:15 NASB95
15 For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.
Question: so what is God’s will according to (1Pt2:13-14) and why does God make it known (v.15)?
To submit to authority, so to silence the ignorance of foolish men.
Understanding through revelation (Heb1:1-2; Jn16:12-13)
God has made His will known through the prophets then through the Son (Heb1:1-2)
Through the Son and the Spirit to the Apostles
John 16:12–13 NASB95
12 “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.
Understanding through the Word (2Tim3:16-17; Rom12:2)
God’s revealed, proclaimed will through the Word
2 Timothy 3:16–17 NASB95
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
(Transition) where scripture speaks there is no doubt, no shadow of doubt on what God’s good, perfect and acceptable will is.
Romans 12:2 NASB95
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Understanding/discerning God’s providential will (Rom15:30-32; Jm4:13-15; 1Jn5:14-15) .
Romans 15:30–31 NASB95
30 Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me, 31 that I may be rescued from those who are disobedient in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may prove acceptable to the saints;
Romans 15:32 NASB95
32 so that I may come to you in joy by the will of God and find refreshing rest in your company.
Paul’s desire was for God’s will (provisional will) to make a way for him to go to Rome.
(transition) James speaks of seeking God for his provisional will too
James 4:13–14 NASB95
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” 14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.
James 4:15 NASB95
15 Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”
We are to make our requests known, ready to accept His will and His answer
1 John 5:14–15 NASB95
14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.
(Transition) where God’s providential will is not as solid as God’s proclaimed will, it is still there to be known with proper knowledge and discernment. This leads us to one more thing.
Knowing/discerning God’s permissive will (Act17:30-31; Isa10:5-7)
God’s permissive will allowed Satan to prove integrity through Job.
God’s permissive will imprisoned Paul so the whole praetorian guard could hear the gospel.
God’s permissive will has allowed even sinful choice, sinful behavior to be turned around, 1Cor5 and 2Cor2 (man committing sin)
Question: Has God allowed His permissive will in your life where it turned out for the good or for correction?
God’s permissive will examples
God allows hurtful things that one day will be judged (Act17:30-31)
Acts 17:30–31 NASB95
30 “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”
God allows rebellion, even fulfilling His will (Isa10:5-7)
Isaiah 10:5–6 NASB95
5 Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger And the staff in whose hands is My indignation, 6 I send it against a godless nation And commission it against the people of My fury To capture booty and to seize plunder, And to trample them down like mud in the streets.
Isaiah 10:7 NASB95
7 Yet it does not so intend, Nor does it plan so in its heart, But rather it is its purpose to destroy And to cut off many nations.
Speaking of Israel, a rebellious people that God is going to allow Assyria to come against them to accomplish His will.
(Transition) Though God gives permissive will does not equate to pleasing things to God, but God uses all things for His purpose. So now one more point for tonight.

Seeking God’s guidance today

Whom do you seek advise, guidance from? There are many sources we can turn to to seek advise, to seek guidance. Here are some things to consider for Simply Christians today.
Primarily focus on God’s proclaimed will when stated
Study God’s word to show thyself approved as it states in 2Tim2:15. God’s word tells us clearly on some things, implicitly/implied on others and even inferred on others what His will is.
Know God’s will and walk in it, practice it. God does not want us to be ignorant, uninformed on the things that are essential in our walk with Christ as simply a Christian.
By knowing God’s proclaimed will it may help you to avoid choices that are contrary to God’s will.
Seek Godly advise from Godly people (Pro11:14, 12:15)
Wisdom does not always come with age, experience does. Godly people, mature godly people are good people who by experience by example you can turn to for godly advise
Proverbs 11:14 NASB95
14 Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of counselors there is victory.
and add to that
Proverbs 12:15 NASB95
15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.
So seek counsel, seek advise, just be sure you are seeking the right kind of advise from experience and example
Seek God’s wisdom (Jm1:5-8)
A key way to seek God’s wisdom, well, ask Him.
James 1:5–6 NASB95
5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.
James 1:7–8 NASB95
7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
Question: in looking at (Jm1:5-8) there is a requirement what is it?
Must ask in faith without any doubting
Whatever you do, do it unto the Lord, be committed to Him and His will (Ps37:5-6, 23-26; Jm4:15)
Psalm 37:5–6 NASB95
5 Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. 6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light And your judgment as the noonday.
Question: When you commit, when you trust, what will God do?
He will do it, He will bring forth righteousness
Think about that for just a minute God will do it, do what? He will bring forth righteousness that would be bring forth His will! Why? Because you commit and trust Him.
James 4:15 NASB95
15 Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”
So, it is easy to say (Jm4:15), but if you are not committed and do not trust Him you have no way to truly discern God’s good, perfect and acceptable will (Rom12:2)
A few more thoughts I found on this subset before we close, most of these came from some writings by Mark Copeland
Some of the choices we make are not about good vs. evil, they cold be between good and better. So, listen to God through his proclaimed, His providential and His permissive will.
God can use us in many ways, some ways may not make sense to us. Remember Paul had great work, lots of conversions were happening and he just wanted to keep on going, but the Spirit withheld him. Maybe God will take us a different direction than we think and it will be even better than we think.
Not all choices need to be made right away, some need to be bathed in prayed, pondered with patience, and attentively seeking God through His Word.
Then, when you do make the choice, do it all in the name of the Lord!
Make your aim, your goal, as t says in Col4:12
Colossians 4:12 NASB95
12 Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.
That you may stand perfect assured in the will of God!
(Invitation slide: God is calling) invitation (prayer)
(Exit slide)
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more