Praying through Acts- Chapter 16

Praying through Acts  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Intro:
Acts 16:6–10 NKJV
6 Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. 7 After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. 8 So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.
Tonight, we will continue Praying through Acts, focusing specifically on chapter sixteen.
I have studied through the Bible this year, focusing on the topic of prayer. There has been something stick out to me that I have never thought about before and that is one word— voice.
Bekah and I have listened as Davis has begun to make noise. We’ve asked each other before, I wonder how His voice will sound.
A voice is a gift from God, for through the voice, we have the ability to communicate. While there is nonverbal communication, such as facial expressions and body language, there is nothing like having a conversation with someone.
When Jesus promised to give the early church power from the Holy Spirit, they took the promise literally. But they did not sit silently and internalize God’s promise.
Instead, they used their voice to TELL God how much they needed Him and they waited on Him with prayer and supplication. Then God overtook their voice and enabled them to speak in tongues.
Which led Peter to use his voice to explain the Good News to the crowd.
God has given us a voice because He has a voice.
We use our voice to speak to us, then He uses His voice to speak back to us! They used their voice to pray and God sent His power.
Acts 1 - promise of power
Acts 2 - received power
Acts 3- exercised power
Acts 4 - prayed for more power
Acts 5- people lied and God displayed His power
Acts 6- conflict arose and God used people of power to help the church
Acts 7- Stephen reminded them of God’s power in history
Acts 8- walked in power to spread Gospel in Samaria
Acts 9- Saul was converted through an encounter with God’s power
Acts 10- the power of God fell on the Gentiles as Peter preached
Acts 11- Peter defended Gentiles receiving power
Acts 12- the church prayed and Peter was released from prison
Acts 13- God sent Barnabas and Paul as a result of prayer
Acts 14- Paul and Barnabas took the gospel to new regions proclaiming God’s message with power
Acts 15- they prayed and God gave powerful discernment
Now, Paul was eager to go to a new region to reach people. However, he wanted to hear God’s voice on the matter. He waited on God and the Holy Spirit told him what to do and what not to do.
Had he ignored God’s voice, he would have went forward outside of God’s will. But he felt a check in his spirit, and waited to hear God’s voice as to what God wanted.
Through a vision, God spoke to him and told him to go to Macedonia. God listened to Paul and he was the first one to take the Gospel on European soil.
Let’s discuss our voice for as we look at, [Voice of the Enemy], [Voice to Exalt], and [Voice to Explain].
Let’s begin
1.A Voice of the Enemy
Acts 16:16–18 NKJV
16 Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” 18 And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour.
God sent Paul to Philippi, where he met a wealthy woman named Lydia. The Lord used her to fund and help Paul reach people. As Paul and his companions go to prayer, something supernatural happened.
Often when I say, something supernatural happened, I focus on the supernatural from God’s perspective. But, know the enemy has power.
However, his power is far inferior to God’s power. Nevertheless, Satan will attempt to deceive people about his power.
So this girl was used to voice the enemy’s distraction of Paul’s ministry. She was a slave to people who used her to tell people’s fortunes.
She kept following Paul and shouting, THES MEN ARE SERVANTS OF THE GREAT HIGH GOD. Many would have been impressed by such accolades.
But Paul had discernment. He identified that this girl was not voicing God’s words, but the enemy’s words. Therefore, Paul used his voice, and commanded the the spirit to come out of the girl.
Immediately the spirit left her and she was set free.
The enemy will voice his lies every chance he can. Therefore, when we keep silent, he gains ground.
I find it interesting that this demon possessed girl said what on the surface was sounded spiritual. But Paul knew otherwise.
Likewise, we live in a day where people say the right things and can talk spiritual. However, we have to use our voice to declare truth!
When our voice is empowered by the Holy Spirit, we can silence the enemy’s voice.
2. A Voice to Exalt
Acts 16:25–26 NKJV
25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.
Because Paul used his voice to bind the enemy, Satan did not give up without a fight. The owners of the slave girl realized that she lost her ability to tell fortunes.
Therefore, they stirred up the Jewish leaders against Paul and Silas. They dragged them to the street, beat them, and placed them in prison.
Many people would have used their voice to:
complain about the persecution
retract their statements about God
withdrawn and silenced their voices
However, Paul and Silas were people of prayer. They knew that the enemy was using people to voice lies about God. Therefore, they needed to use their voice to exalt God.
As they sat in stocks, they decided to lift their voices to praise God. They thanked God for Him. The praised His greatness. The more they praised God the less they focused on their problems.
Eventually, they were in such a supernatural place of exalting God, something happened. God sent an earthquake. Interesting part of this earthquake.
It was strong enough to open the doors, but weak enough to keep the foundation, walls, and roof in tact.
Exalting God in difficult times sets us up for divine intervention and supernatural help.
Satan will use spiritual attacks to keep us silent. Therefore, when we use our voice to EXALT God, He cannot defeat or destroy us.
3. A Voice to Explain
Acts 16:30–32 NKJV
30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.
Most people would have cut and run, enjoying their freedom. However, Paul did not want to waste this opportunity to use his voice to explain what God just did.
The jailer feared for his life because he assumed that all the prisoners had left. Just when he was at the end of his rope, Paul called out to the man and told him not to harm himself.
When Paul and Silas went to the jailer, he sensed something supernatural occured. Notice the power of God at work. Long before Paul shared about Jesus, the Lord was working on the jailer.
They then spoke prophetically about Jesus. They declared salvation, but prophesied that the jailer’s family could accept Christ.
The entire family came and Paul and Silas shared God’s word to them. His entire family was baptized.
Think of it, in the worst of circumstances, Paul used his voice to exalt God. Then he explained about the God he exalted. Because he prayed and was close to God, he was always ready to talk about Jesus.
We must stay ready to explain the grace and power of God to others.
However, that readiness comes from consistently communicating with God. We must use our voice to speak to God, and then listen for His voice to speak to us!
Close:
I don’t know why, but through this year, I have been brought back to our voice and our language.
Without a voice that can speak a language, communication would become very difficult, if nonexistent. Therefore, we must remember the power of our voice.
We live in world that constantly voices its opinion. Furthermore, we are hearing more and more voices come against the body of Christ.
However, God has given us a voice!
A German pastor named Martin Niemoller shared a profound thought after World War II. He was a fierce opponent of Adolf Hitler. Here is what he said about his experience:
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
How many people have sat silently when they watched the enemy attack someone, but thought, well it is not me.
Therefore, we must use our voice to pray, to exalt God, to explain how good Jesus is to us.
God always uses His voice to speak blessings, help, wisdom, and power to us!
We must not stay silent. For God has given us our voice as a gift.
Let’s use our voice to
pray
praise
worship
witness
prophesy
declare truth!
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