The Macedonian Call 6 And j 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 k the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. 8 So, passing by Mysia, they went down l 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 1 had seen the vision, immediately m we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. The Conversion of Lydia 11 So, setting sail from Troas, we n made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to o Philippi, which is a leading city of the 1 district of Macedonia and p a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. 13 And q on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate r to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we s sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. 14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, t who was a worshiper of God. The Lord u opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. 15 And after she was baptized, v and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she w prevailed upon us. Paul and Silas in Prison 16 As we were going to x the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had y a spirit of z divination and a brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and us, b crying out, “These men are c servants 1 of d the Most High God, who proclaim to you e the way of salvation.” 18 And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, f “I command you g in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And h it came out that very hour. 19 But i when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and j dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. 20 And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. 21 They k advocate customs that are not lawful for us l as Romans to accept or practice.” 22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders m to beat them with rods. 23 And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. 24 Having received this order, he put them into the inner n prison and fastened their feet in o the stocks. The Philippian Jailer Converted 25 p About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly q there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately r all the doors were opened, and s everyone’s bonds were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and t was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer 1 called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he u fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, v what must I do to be w saved?” 31 And they said, x “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you y and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them z the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he a was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34 Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he b rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God. 35 But when it was day, the magistrates sent the police, saying, “Let those men go.” 36 And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Therefore come out now and go in peace.” 37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, c uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.” 38 The police reported these words to the magistrates, and c they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens. 39 So they came and apologized to them. And they took them out and d asked them to leave the city. 40 So they went out of the prison and visited e Lydia. And when they had seen f the brothers, they encouraged them and departed.
6 Διῆλθον δὲ τὴν Φρυγίαν καὶ Γαλατικὴν χώραν κωλυθέντες ὑπὸ τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος λαλῆσαι τὸν λόγον ἐν τῇ Ἀσίᾳ• 7 ἐλθόντες δὲ κατὰ τὴν Μυσίαν ἐπείραζον εἰς τὴν Βιθυνίαν πορευθῆναι, καὶ οὐκ εἴασεν αὐτοὺς τὸ πνεῦμα Ἰησοῦ• 8 παρελθόντες δὲ τὴν Μυσίαν κατέβησαν εἰς Τρῳάδα. 9 Καὶ ὅραμα διὰ [τῆς] νυκτὸς τῷ Παύλῳ ὤφθη, ἀνὴρ Μακεδών τις ἦν ἑστὼς καὶ παρακαλῶν αὐτὸν καὶ λέγων• διαβὰς εἰς Μακεδονίαν βοήθησον ἡμῖν. 10 ὡς δὲ τὸ ὅραμα εἶδεν, εὐθέως ἐζητήσαμεν ἐξελθεῖν εἰς Μακεδονίαν συμβιβάζοντες ὅτι προσκέκληται ἡμᾶς ὁ θεὸς εὐαγγελίσασθαι αὐτούς. 11 Ἀναχθέντες δὲ ἀπὸ Τρῳάδος εὐθυδρομήσαμεν εἰς Σαμοθρᾴκην, τῇ δὲ ἐπιούσῃ εἰς Νέαν πόλιν 12 κἀκεῖθεν εἰς Φιλίππους, ἥτις ἐστὶν πρώτη[ς] μερίδος τῆς Μακεδονίας πόλις, κολωνία. ῏Ημεν δὲ ἐν ταύτῃ τῇ πόλει διατρίβοντες ἡμέρας τινάς. 13 τῇ τε ἡμέρᾳ τῶν σαββάτων ἐξήλθομεν ἔξω τῆς πύλης παρὰ ποταμὸν οὗ ἐνομίζομεν προσευχὴν εἶναι, καὶ καθίσαντες ἐλαλοῦμεν ταῖς συνελθούσαις γυναιξίν. 14 καί τις γυνὴ ὀνόματι Λυδία, πορφυρόπωλις πόλεως Θυατείρων σεβομένη τὸν θεόν, ἤκουεν, ἧς ὁ κύριος διήνοιξεν τὴν καρδίαν προσέχειν τοῖς λαλουμένοις ὑπὸ τοῦ Παύλου. 15 ὡς δὲ ἐβαπτίσθη καὶ ὁ οἶκος αὐτῆς, παρεκάλεσεν λέγουσα• εἰ κεκρίκατέ με πιστὴν τῷ κυρίῳ εἶναι, εἰσελθόντες εἰς τὸν οἶκόν μου μένετε• καὶ παρεβιάσατο ἡμᾶς. 16 Ἐγένετο δὲ πορευομένων ἡμῶν εἰς τὴν προσευχὴν παιδίσκην τινὰ ἔχουσαν πνεῦμα πύθωνα ὑπαντῆσαι ἡμῖν, ἥτις ἐργασίαν πολλὴν παρεῖχεν τοῖς κυρίοις αὐτῆς μαντευομένη. 17 αὕτη κατακολουθοῦσα τῷ Παύλῳ καὶ ἡμῖν ἔκραζεν λέγουσα• οὗτοι οἱ ἄνθρωποι δοῦλοι τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ὑψίστου εἰσίν, οἵτινες καταγγέλλουσιν ὑμῖν ὁδὸν σωτηρίας. 18 τοῦτο δὲ ἐποίει ἐπὶ πολλὰς ἡμέρας. διαπονηθεὶς δὲ Παῦλος καὶ ἐπιστρέψας τῷ πνεύματι εἶπεν• παραγγέλλω σοι ἐν ὀνόματι Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐξελθεῖν ἀπʼ αὐτῆς• καὶ ἐξῆλθεν αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ. 19 Ἰδόντες δὲ οἱ κύριοι αὐτῆς ὅτι ἐξῆλθεν ἡ ἐλπὶς τῆς ἐργασίας αὐτῶν, ἐπιλαβόμενοι τὸν Παῦλον καὶ τὸν Σιλᾶν εἵλκυσαν εἰς τὴν ἀγορὰν ἐπὶ τοὺς ἄρχοντας 20 καὶ προσαγαγόντες αὐτοὺς τοῖς στρατηγοῖς εἶπαν• οὗτοι οἱ ἄνθρωποι ἐκταράσσουσιν ἡμῶν τὴν πόλιν, Ἰουδαῖοι ὑπάρχοντες, 21 καὶ καταγγέλλουσιν ἔθη ἃ οὐκ ἔξεστιν ἡμῖν παραδέχεσθαι οὐδὲ ποιεῖν ʼΡωμαίοις οὖσιν. 22 καὶ συνεπέστη ὁ ὄχλος κατʼ αὐτῶν καὶ οἱ στρατηγοὶ περιρήξαντες αὐτῶν τὰ ἱμάτια ἐκέλευον ῥαβδίζειν, 23 πολλάς τε ἐπιθέντες αὐτοῖς πληγὰς ἔβαλον εἰς φυλακὴν παραγγείλαντες τῷ δεσμοφύλακι ἀσφαλῶς τηρεῖν αὐτούς. 24 ὃς παραγγελίαν τοιαύτην λαβὼν ἔβαλεν αὐτοὺς εἰς τὴν ἐσωτέραν φυλακὴν καὶ τοὺς πόδας ἠσφαλίσατο αὐτῶν εἰς τὸ ξύλον. 25 Κατὰ δὲ τὸ μεσονύκτιον Παῦλος καὶ Σιλᾶς προσευχόμενοι ὕμνουν τὸν θεόν, ἐπηκροῶντο δὲ αὐτῶν οἱ δέσμιοι. 26 ἄφνω δὲ σεισμὸς ἐγένετο μέγας ὥστε σαλευθῆναι τὰ θεμέλια τοῦ δεσμωτηρίου• ἠνεῴχθησαν δὲ παραχρῆμα αἱ θύραι πᾶσαι καὶ πάντων τὰ δεσμὰ ἀνέθη. 27 ἔξυπνος δὲ γενόμενος ὁ δεσμοφύλαξ καὶ ἰδὼν ἀνεῳγμένας τὰς θύρας τῆς φυλακῆς, σπασάμενος [τὴν] μάχαιραν ἤμελλεν ἑαυτὸν ἀναιρεῖν νομίζων ἐκπεφευγέναι τοὺς δεσμίους. 28 ἐφώνησεν δὲ μεγάλῃ φωνῇ [ὁ] Παῦλος λέγων• μηδὲν πράξῃς σεαυτῷ κακόν, ἅπαντες γάρ ἐσμεν ἐνθάδε. 29 αἰτήσας δὲ φῶτα εἰσεπήδησεν καὶ ἔντρομος γενόμενος προσέπεσεν τῷ Παύλῳ καὶ [τῷ] Σιλᾷ 30 καὶ προαγαγὼν αὐτοὺς ἔξω ἔφη• κύριοι, τί με δεῖ ποιεῖν ἵνα σωθῶ; 31 οἱ δὲ εἶπαν• πίστευσον ἐπὶ τὸν κύριον Ἰησοῦν καὶ σωθήσῃ σὺ καὶ ὁ οἶκός σου. 32 καὶ ἐλάλησαν αὐτῷ τὸν λόγον τοῦ κυρίου σὺν πᾶσιν τοῖς ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ αὐτοῦ. 33 καὶ παραλαβὼν αὐτοὺς ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ὥρᾳ τῆς νυκτὸς ἔλουσεν ἀπὸ τῶν πληγῶν, καὶ ἐβαπτίσθη αὐτὸς καὶ οἱ αὐτοῦ πάντες παραχρῆμα, 34 ἀναγαγών τε αὐτοὺς εἰς τὸν οἶκον παρέθηκεν τράπεζαν καὶ ἠγαλλιάσατο πανοικεὶ πεπιστευκὼς τῷ θεῷ. 35 Ἡμέρας δὲ γενομένης ἀπέστειλαν οἱ στρατηγοὶ τοὺς ῥαβδούχους λέγοντες• ἀπόλυσον τοὺς ἀνθρώπους ἐκείνους. 36 ἀπήγγειλεν δὲ ὁ δεσμοφύλαξ τοὺς λόγους [τούτους] πρὸς τὸν Παῦλον ὅτι ἀπέσταλκαν οἱ στρατηγοὶ ἵνα ἀπολυθῆτε• νῦν οὖν ἐξελθόντες πορεύεσθε ἐν εἰρήνῃ. 37 ὁ δὲ Παῦλος ἔφη πρὸς αὐτούς• δείραντες ἡμᾶς δημοσίᾳ ἀκατακρίτους, ἀνθρώπους Ῥωμαίους ὑπάρχοντας, ἔβαλαν εἰς φυλακήν, καὶ νῦν λάθρᾳ ἡμᾶς ἐκβάλλουσιν; οὐ γάρ, ἀλλʼ ἐλθόντες αὐτοὶ ἡμᾶς ἐξαγαγέτωσαν. 38 ἀπήγγειλαν δὲ τοῖς στρατηγοῖς οἱ ῥαβδοῦχοι τὰ ῥήματα ταῦτα. ἐφοβήθησαν δὲ ἀκούσαντες ὅτι Ῥωμαῖοί εἰσιν, 39 καὶ ἐλθόντες παρεκάλεσαν αὐτοὺς καὶ ἐξαγαγόντες ἠρώτων ἀπελθεῖν ἀπὸ τῆς πόλεως. 40 ἐξελθόντες δὲ ἀπὸ τῆς φυλακῆς εἰσῆλθον πρὸς τὴν Λυδίαν καὶ ἰδόντες παρεκάλεσαν τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς καὶ ἐξῆλθαν.
Father, help us to see with eyes of faith even the small beginnings of what you are doing, and not to despise them. The gospel of the Lord Jesus takes root in Europe Introduction : 'the day of small things' [mustard seed. But boy are we slow to learn] [yet we don't do this with children developing - since we perceive the bigger trajectory] Second missionary journey. How will the gospel do as it gets to wealthy places like Philippi or Thessalonika , and intellectual places like Athens, or wicked places like Corinth? On this journey, the gospel reaches Europe! Think of everything that came downstream of this journey! 6-10 The Lord Jesus guides them into Europe V6 forbidden; could simply read 'prevented'; similar in v7. The point is that they were seeing clearly the guiding and directing hand of the LORD JESUS in all this. v6-10 the clear sovereign leading of God! We aren't given details. v6-8 must have been so utterly baffling...yet this is how God used them to bring the gospel to Europe, through utterly insignificant-seeming people. What a lesson for our times of baffle-ment! cf Jacob burying Rachel in Bethlehem, not knowing that in due time a King would come from his descendants, in that very town. Don't despise the day of small things! What matters is not scale but shape. It's ok to be baffled. Cf Daniel and others after visions. V10 now the narrative switches subtly to US; Luke has joined the team. Concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. Reading providence, and visions, alongside the great commission, and seeing a specific calling. 11-15 The gospel is received by the first converts Philippi. Proud to be 'citizens of Rome' ever since Mark Anthony had avenged Julius Caesar's assasination there. So a big deal to be told that your 'citizenship is in heaven'. Named after Philip of Macedon (Alexander the Great's dad). Macedonia in 4 quarters; Philippi the leading city of Macedonia. v13 not even 10 Jewish men for a quorum to form a synagogue. So the gospel enters Europe through...women! V13 a place of prayer rather than a full synagogue; not enough Jewish men to provide a quorum. They speak with women; unexpected and unprecedented. This is how the gospel enters Europe! Men following a seemingly random call to an obscure location outside the city. The Lord opened her heart - and thus opened the gateway to Europe. Lydia clearly a wealthy lady. FCF: We despise the day of small things. [Real church planting.] [Numbers, cf Spurgeon etc] By nature - we just find ourselves doubting or despising (Israel in desert) By choice - we choose to ditch the small stuff and do a deal to get big stuff. Garden and fruit was a deal. Anglicans have done a deal. Seeker sensitive. Chances are you're chasing something a bit bigger and cutting some corners to get it. Even the seeming successes of this way of doing life and ministry are, in time, shown to be empty. 16-40 Opposition to the gospel leads to the birth of the Philippian church Slave girl. Python spirit - i.e., the snake that guarded the temple of Apollo and the Delphic oracle at Mounth Parnassus. Apollo thought to be embodied in his female devotees, called 'pythonesses'. [Demonic powers, work through structures and ideas in the world, which appeal to and work through the flesh] Paul deeply disturbed. The gospel must not be publicised or associated in this way. The means and messenger matter, along with the message. V16-18 the slave girl with the pythonic spirit. Clearly a successful trade. And what she cries out is utterly true! These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation. Why does Paul become so upset? Was it the distraction? v19-22 the spiritual warfare manifests under other guises; cultural, economic...and whole systems of opposition to God's Christ. Slave owners - etc. Opposition to the gospel in layers of self-interest of world, flesh, devil. Flogged and beaten. Agonising. Yet the jailer washing his wounds a beautiful picture of healing within the church. The church planters were not criminals but men of integrity. v26-29 the LORD, the great rescuer! cf Psalm 107. Presume Paul and Silas had sufficiently witnessed to, or in some way won over, the other prisoners so that they did not escape..or were the prisoners themselves feeling utter dread and terror? Paul opposes the honour suicide. v30-34 what must I do to be saved? An unlikely convert asking the most important question a human can ask. Cf centurion in Mark 15. Interesting mention of household v31, then they told the gospel to all his house v32, then all his family were baptised v33, and he rejoices v34 that all his household had believed in God. So the point seems to be that the gospel reached a whole household; that this was a key beach head. Not that he believed and then baptised all his children on that basis - rather that he opened the door for the gospel to reach his whole household, who all believed and were all baptised. It can't be that he believed, and so baptised his household, since that would mean baptising adults like his wife who did not yet believe. And so now we have Jews and Gentiles in Europe turned to Christ. The jailer's family are the first Gentile believers in Europe. Philippian church v40 was very diverse when you review the chapter! National, social, personal. Lowest of the low, the female slave. Day of small things: baffling preventions at the start; only women; a female slave; and now a jailer. This is how the gospel in Europe began?! But isn't this what God loves to do. Conclusion : is this success or failure? Which angle are you looking from? [cf Elijah and the cloud the size of a man's hand] Glory of God: he works incredible things from baffling, obscure, or pathetic beginnings FCF: We despise the day of small things. By nature - we just find ourselves doubting or despising (Israel in desert) By choice - we choose to ditch the small stuff and do a deal to get big stuff. Garden and fruit was a deal. Anglicans have done a deal. Seeker sensitive. Chances are you're chasing something a bit bigger and cutting some corners to get it. Even the seeming successes of this way of doing life and ministry are, in time, shown to be empty. This is offensive to God since it is a way of doubting and rejecting his word; he tells us what is good and right to do, regardless of how impressive it might seem at a snapshot in time. Jesus' person - cut no corners. Tempted in the wilderness to make a deal. Jesus' work - right to failure and death, in order to secure our victory and triumph. So we say with certainty, 'our labour in the Lord is not in vain!' In Him, there actually isn't any true failure left - do you see that? Specific repentance and faith - stop resisting or despising something because it seems too pathetic, not big enough or effective enough. Instead, trust that in the Lord Jesus, everything done in his name, big or small, success or failure, will be seen to be not in vain. In Jesus, just as Paul, Silas and Luke knew, the day of small things is just fine. Hebrews 11 as an example. You could read it alongside Acts, since it all comes together. Father, help us to see with eyes of faith even the small beginnings of what you are doing, and not to despise them. Lord's Supper: No more condemnation, failure, or shame of small beginnings, since the old life has been put to death. We participate in Jesus, so we participate in the true life. By faith we know that our labour is not in vain.