Introduction and Prayer
Read Acts 16:1-2
Paul went first to Derbe and then to Lystra, where there was a young disciple named Timothy. His mother was a Jewish believer, but his father was a Greek. 2 Timothy was well thought of by the believers in Lystra and Iconium, 3 so Paul wanted him to join them on their journey. In deference to the Jews of the area, he arranged for Timothy to be circumcised before they left, for everyone knew that his father was a Greek.
Compare Paul’s background and pedigree with Timothy’s. Why has Paul chosen Timothy who has come from a mixed background of religious and racial diversity?
Why is Paul suggesting that Timothy get circumcised in light of the previous chapter?
Read I Corinthians 9:19-22
19 Even though I am a free man with no master, I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ. 20 When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law. 21 When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ. 22 When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. 23 I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.
What can this passage show us about a possible motivation for Timothy’s being circumcised?
Read Acts 16:4-8
4 Then they went from town to town, instructing the believers to follow the decisions made by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were strengthened in their faith and grew larger every day. 6 Next Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time. 7 Then coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed north for the province of Bithynia, but again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there. 8 So instead, they went on through Mysia to the seaport of Troas.
Do you see yourself as being a minister of the Gospel being led by the Spirt of God?
Describe a situation in which the Spirit of God has directed you? Does the Holy Spirit guide you in your day-to-day living?
Read Acts 16:9-10
9That night Paul had a vision: A man from Macedonia in northern Greece was standing there, pleading with him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” 10 So we decided to leave for Macedonia at once, having concluded that God was calling us to preach the Good News there.
What makes Paul have the conclusion that God was calling them to preach the Good News in Macedonia?
What is prevents us from telling people about the good news of Jesus?
Read Acts 16:11-15
1We boarded a boat at Troas and sailed straight across to the island of Samothrace, and the next day we landed at Neapolis. 12 From there we reached Philippi, a major city of that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. And we stayed there several days. 13 On the Sabbath we went a little way outside the city to a riverbank, where we thought people would be meeting for prayer, and we sat down to speak with some women who had gathered there. One of them was Lydia from Thyatira, a merchant of expensive purple cloth, who worshiped God. As she listened to us, the Lord opened her heart, and she accepted what Paul was saying. 15 She and her household were baptized, and she asked us to be her guests. “If you agree that I am a true believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my home.” And she urged us until we agreed.
How did God use Paul and the rest of the team to minister to Lydia?
What were they doing that allowed for their being able to meet her?
What was the ripple effects of Paul and this team of God followers as they obeyed the Spirit of God?
Read Acts 16:16-18
1One day as we were going down to the place of prayer, we met a slave girl who had a spirit that enabled her to tell the future. She earned a lot of money for her masters by telling fortunes. She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, and they have come to tell you how to be saved.” 18 This went on day after day until Paul got so exasperated that he turned and said to the demon within her, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And instantly it left her.
Have you ever encountered someone you thought may be controlled by demonic forces?
How would you handle this situation?
How did Paul handle it?
Are you willing to be bold for God in a situation like this?
If you have not encountered a demon situation like this what conversations have you had where you know God was leading you to be bold?
Read Acts 16:20-24
“The whole city is in an uproar because of these Jews!” they shouted to the city officials. 21 “They are teaching customs that are illegal for us Romans to practice.” 22 A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. 23 They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. 24 So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.
When Paul was being bold for God what type of opposition did he face?
Where have you allowed opposition or the threat of opposition to keep you from doing what God has said He wants you to do?
Do you know someone who needs to be set free from a life of being controlled by the enemy’s power?
What do you think the Lord is asking you to do if anything?
Read Acts 16:25-28
Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. 26 Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! 27 The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. 8 But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!”
Paul and Silas find themselves in prison. Is there response to God surprising why or why not?
What do the scripture say about praising God as a weapon?
Can you think of any other times in scripture where praise was the weapon first that brought down the enemy’s armies?
What situations are you or loved ones are facing right now where you see the enemy’s handiwork?
How can you/should you respond?
How does God show up and show off for Paul in this situation?
Does this help give you more reason to trust God in your situation?
Think on This…
What does praising God in the middle of your mess look like today?