The Second Missionary Journey

Acts: The Beginning of a Movement  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  33:32
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Have you ever made plans and find that they quickly come to an abrupt halt and are driven to go in another direction?
This past week I was able to take in a quick course and during the discussion we talked about change and what happens when change is thrust upon us. The discussion lead to the fact that the change is the event and what follows is the emotion and results that happen after the event.
This mornings text, although is a description of Paul’s second missionary journey it is much more.
Paul constantly faced changes in this missionary journey.
This morning as we look through the text, I hope to give you one pattern of how we seek direction and fulfill God’s will for our lives as we hear and watch the journey that Paul went through.
As with all journey’s there is preparation.
I have handed out a copy of a map for you to follow along with the scripture this morning. It is a road map of the scriptures we will be reading.
If you are looking at this map and are attempting to see how it fits into today’s world, the majority of Paul’s second missionary journey would be through modern day Turkey.
The journey begins at the bottom right hand corner of the map, Jerusalem.

Preparation for the Journey

Last week we talked about the council meeting and this is where we left of Paul, who is in Jerusalem.
Acts 15:22 ESV
22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers,
This marks the first part of the journey.
The purpose of the journey was to spread the Gospel throughout the ancient world and to share the letter from the council to the Jewish believers.
The group of people made their way to Anticoch, then shared the news contained in the letter and Paul and Barnabas stay for a while preaching to the folks.
One thing you will find out about Paul is that he was a church planter.
He had a passion to spread the news of Christ far and wide and to establish churches throughout the land.
This was a calling upon his life was so driven that they began to make plans to form another missionary journey, his second.

Assembling the team

The plan was set and in motion so Paul and Barnabas began to develop and assemble the team.
Have you ever been responsible to put together a team?
In some of my ministries, I have fallen back on the 3 C of a team. They may not be a perfect way to discern the team, but I am sure if we read this text, I believe that Paul and Barnabas would be following a similar model
Character, Competency, Chemistry are the three parts when putting together a team.
Let’s read the account.
Acts 15:36–41 ESV
36 And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” 37 Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

How to handle conflict

Picking team members.
I always had moments of dread when we were kids on the playground.
You know what I am talking about.
A group of children gather together to have a game whether it is baseball, football, or soccer, teams need to be picked.
First thing.
Pick the captains.
Then one by one each captain picks whom he or she believes would be best for their team.
Why did I dread this?
I’m not sure about you, but I don’t remember being picked as the captain.
I do remember that often I wasn’t the first picked player, in fact, with the lack of skill as a child, I was often near the end of the roster. I could go on and on about my in-competencies of a child athlete, but this is not about me. Its about picking a team.
Maybe some of you can relate or not. Maybe you were always the captain.....
But in any case you can imagine the scene, but you say, that was children.
Well look at the text.
Who were the captains?
Paul & Barnabas
In fact at this point they were on the same team- Co Captains.
Competency- Paul did not want Mark to come because of the lack of competency. He was at one time responsible for being a part of the group that was challenging Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles.
Character- Paul did not want a person on his team that wasn’t 100% behind his calling.
Barnabas wanted him because of his character. He saw something in him, that at this point Paul didn’t see. He had chemistry with him as a cousin. They would have known each other all their lives.


A sharp disagreement arose.
Paul & Barnabas- had words.
Sharp words.
The two men who where full of the Spirit, driven to do God’s work were divided over who would be on the team.
One person put it this way,
The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 9: John and Acts (2. Disagreement and Two Missionary Teams (15:36–41))
The fact that Luke does not gloss over the quarrel between Paul and Barnabas shows his honesty. The Greek word for “disagreement” (paroxysmos) is so neutral as not to touch upon the question of responsibility, and it is idle for us to try to apportion blame. Yet far from letting the disagreement harm the outreach of the gospel, God providentially used it to double the missionary force, with Barnabas taking Mark and returning to Cyprus (cf. 13:4–12).
The team has been set,
Paul and Barnabas set off in different direction and this leads us to the text that we will be focusing in on this morning.
Turn with to Acts chapter 16 and lets’ read the first few verses. Remember to keep the map in front of you
Acts 16:1–5 ESV
1 Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. 2 He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium. 3 Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4 As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.

Developing the Next Generation

It is this moment in the story that we are introduced into the relationship that developed over the years.
Paul and Timothy.
1 Timothy 1:2 ESV
2 To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
Paul saw something “Character”, and the “Chemistry” between the two and over the years their relationship grew.
It also set in motion something that is important or at least should be important in all of our lives.
Are you looking for a Timothy in your life, your ministry?
Are you looking around you, someone that God is placing in your life that you will bring along in the faith.
So I ask you again, Is there a Timothy in your life? For the ladies in the room, is there a Trish in your life.
Read through Titus and Paul tells us again the importance of Men and Women having a Timothy and Trish in our lives.
So Paul found him and brought him into his circle.

Cultural Adaptations

Now if you are reading along and are wondering about the actions of Paul in verse 3 you are not alone.
You may be wondering why would Paul have to circumcise him.
There is a cultural adaptation that was happening in this scene.
Paul was well aware that circumcision had nothing to do with the faith, but it was an identification of who Timothy was, who his mother was, Jewish.
Timothy’s mother was a Jew growing up in the outlaying land and married a greek man.
The faith of the mother was to have her son circumcised, but the Jewish custom would fall to the wishes of the father. The Jewish people were not as strong in this area and did not stand up to the Greek customs and Timothy needed to be circumcised.
Scholars believe that Paul circumcised him for a couple of reasons.
1. He was Jewish in faith from the strength of the maternal faith, both in his mother and grandmother. They believe that He was standing up for the customs of his lineage and not that of the need for salvation.
2. Timothy will be travelling with him and to the communities of Jewish and Gentile believers.
The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 9: John and Acts 3. Paul Adds Timothy to the Team in Galatia (16:1–4)

As for Timothy, because of his Jewish mother, he was a Jew in the eyes of the Jewish world. Therefore, it was both proper and expedient for Paul to circumcise him. As Paul saw it, being a good Christian did not mean being a bad Jew. Rather, it meant being a fulfilled Jew

In fact as one person puts it

The circumcision of Timothy shows us something else. Paul did not disregard the Law of Moses and repeatedly in his ministry in succeeding years showed his faithfulness to customs and traditions. Though they were not required before faith or justification, they could be helpful expressions of that faith. Paul was free to be “all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (1 Cor. 9:22). That’s freedom and flexibility.

Paul understood Cultural adaptations.
He knew that the message of the Salvation, the Good News hadn’t changed, but to have a road in to speak the truth he didn’t want to be offensive.
Look at this text.
1 Corinthians 9:19–23 ESV
19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
The team was now set and forward they moved.
They moved to cities, sharing the letter and the Good News found in Jesus.
Let’s read the next section in our text
Acts 16:6–10 ESV
6 And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. 7 And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. 8 So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

Discerning a Call

How do you in your life discern the call God has for your life.
This passage gives us some ways in which God works in our lives. I see there are three ways that we need to be aware of as we seek to see God’s direction for our lives.
If you were looking at this text
you may have also notice that terminology in describing God changed throughout the text.
It shows us that this early church as it was growing began to relate to the trinity of the movement from Spirit to Jesus to God showing that all are a part of the same when we seek direction.
The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 9: John and Acts A. Providential Direction for the Mission (16:6–10)

The heightening of terminology in vv. 6–10 from “the Holy Spirit” to “the Spirit of Jesus” to “God” is not just stylistic but an unconscious expression of the early church’s embryonic trinitarian faith

Holy Spirit Involvement is Critical

The first step especially in this story is that the Holy Spirit’s involvement in guiding them was critical.
It should be critical in our lives as well.
If you are a follower of Christ, the Spirit dwells within you. We need to be better listeners of the Spirit speaking to us as we plan out directions.
You see Paul wanted desperately to head to Asia, to spread the news to the people there, but was strongly directed by the Spirit dwelling within him to not go in that direction.
How are we listening to the Spirit.
In our busy worlds, do we stop to listen.
Listening takes intentional effort.
Most of us don’t listen well, but it is Critical that we learn to listen.
I was once in a seminar as the leader was challenging us to be better listeners.
Specifically listening to God’s Voice.
He asked the crowd to be silent and listen. To hear the spirit speak. It was at that moment, my cell phone went off and rang.
It wasn’t a message from God, but it was apparent to me that we often are busy with things that we need to spend time listening.
How are you. Are you taking time in your busy life to stop and listen? It is critical for our lives.

Discernment is Dynamic

The second part of discerning a call is knowing that it is dynamic.
Sometimes we move in a direction, set ourselves on a path and sometimes it can change.
If you look at the map and the text you will see that they once again begin to move, they saw a place that needed to hear the gospel.
The intentions were good, they were moving in a direction and then once again, discernment spoke and it was redirected.
Now for some of us in the crowd this is a struggle. For those in the crowd that like a plan and like to stick to the plan, this can be very frustrating and often look at those who move directions quickly as flaky, but once again, we can take caution in both ways.
God’s plan and direction for our lives is moving and at times can be dynamic and appear changing.
It isn’t that God’s plans change in our lives, but we must be willing to be open to the dynamic path God has outlined whether it is direct or changing of our plans.
In both of these directions, Paul was listening to God speak.
God speaks to us today by his Word, written word, and by the Spirit within us as the Word is shared with us.
Are you in the Word, are you allowing God to Speak to you by His Word?

Obedience is Vital

The final part of discerning a call is in the area of obedience.
It is vital.
God once again spoke to Paul and obedience to follow the call was quick.
When we go through a process of discerning and it is verified we need to move.
Do we all have visions, no, but some may.
What we need to know that if we are called however you arrive at your calling, you should be obedient to God and go.
Be obedient.
as one person put it,
Authentic turning points in history are few. But surely among them that of the Macedonian vision ranks high. Because of Paul’s obedience at this point, the gospel went westward; and ultimately Europe and the Western world were evangelized. Christian response to the call of God is never a trivial thing. Indeed, as in this instance, great issues and untold blessings may depend on it.
Longenecker, R. N. (1981). The Acts of the Apostles. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: John and Acts (Vol. 9, p. 458). Zondervan Publishing House.
Has God been speaking to you lately and you have been hesitant....
Have you been encouraged to step out of your comfort and God’s been directing you.... be obedient.
The best way to be discerning and obedient to God’s calling in your life is to surround yourself with others who will speak into your life.
Notice verse 10
Acts 16:10 (ESV)
10 And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
WE sought...... US
Discernment involves others in our lives.
If you want to have discernment, you need to have the Spirit Involved, and surround yourselves with people who will also speak into your lives.
Listening to the Spirit is critical, hearing Christ’s word is dynamic and obedience is required.

The Results of Paul’s Missionary Journey

The final section that I want to cover this morning is the looking at some of the people impacted in His journey.
After all this was a missionary journey and we should hear their report.


The first person of significance outside of Timothy is Luke himself.
From what I understand, Luke was a doctor located in the City of Troas or that is what the history books relay.
It was at this point Luke began to follow and joined Paul in his missionary journeys.
IT is found in Verse 10 that the third person narrative changed to a first person as Luke was a witness to the events and was no longer re-telling of the stories.
in fact Luke was a co-laborer with Paul in the starting of Churches.


The second key individual was that of Lydia
If you are still following along in the map, you will notice they make their way around the top part of the map.
The story now tells us of the beginning of the church outlined in the Biblical book of Philippians.
People have speculated that Luke spends time describing this as he was a part in the beginning of this church but it was a church plant that was dear to the heart of Paul.
I’m not sure if you know this as it is not written in the text, but a synagogue in Jewish custom could not be established unless there were confirmed 10 men gathering. And if there is not synagogue people would just gather to pray and read God’s Word.
As this was a city full of Romans, and solders, it was unlikely there were was a strong presence of Jewish people.
The text also gives us hint as Paul and company began to look for a gathering of prayer on the Sabbath.
You see, the Jewish people of the time would seek out a gathering of Jewish followers to gather on the sabbath and read the scriptures.
Paul found these women and one of them was a lady called Lydia as scholars have determined she was from Lydia and had moved to increase her business.
IT was this encounter that marked the beginning of a powerful church plant.
Planted by the obedience of the team.
Planted by the obedience of the Message of Christ
Flourished by the working of the Spirit upon the lives of the people.

The Jailer

The last person converted and a what I would image a powerful testimony in the church was that of a jailer.
There Paul and Silas because of a working of God, found themselves in prison.
Bound in shakles and singing praises, God released them.
Upon awakening, the jailer thinking he had lost his prisoners wanted to end his life. Instead of losing his life, through Paul & Silas he was saved for eternity.
Folks if you haven’t read this passage, may I encourage you to read vs 25-40 later today to discover God’s power over those who believe they hold power.
This was the beginning of a thriving church plant. A women and her household who was seeking God and a jailer who’s household became new converts.
I can only image the testimonial times in the service as this church began to grow.
If you would once again look at your map, you will see that we are only at step 4-5 of the journey of 9 parts of this second missionary journey.
I encourage you to spend some time this week reading the rest of the story of Paul’s journey and listen to what God has in store for you.

In Summary

As the worship team comes forward let me say this.
These were wonderful times in the beginning of the new Church. Live were being saved.
I wonder sometimes if we don’t spend enough time celebrating times in our lives when God worked out his grace in our lives.
Many of us have stories of God’s grace in our lives and as we looked at the calling of Paul’s life it should challenge us to take some time and reflect upon the calling of God on our lives.
May I challenge you this week to write out, tell someone, give testimony to God working in your life.
If you write it down, I would love to hear it
Let’s Pray.

Response to Worship


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