By Michael Koontz
Pastor, Pine Ridge Baptist Church
Focal Passage: Acts 16:6–15
In today’s text of Acts 16:6-15, Paul shows us a great example of “going out.” Remember, Acts 1:8 is our commission to take the gospel to all people. As we study this part of his second missionary journey, many truths come to light for us in handling roadblocks, preparing for service, and knowing God will provide as we go out with the gospel.
Roadblocks happen when we serve God. They can happen for multiple reasons, but Paul is in the midst of dealing with a major roadblock. He has been forbidden by God to minister in Asia. Don’t forget, there would be important churches in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Philadelphia, Laodicea, Sardis, Pergamum and Thyatira, all of which are spoken about in the book of Revelation. God has major plans in Asia, Paul knew there was great work to be done in Asia, but it was not where God would have him go.
We are not given the reason for why God would forbid Paul from going into Asia. We will not always know why God closes doors in our paths.
Later in life we are, at times, able to look back at our journey and see how God opened and closed doors along the way, and that is such a blessing to see. But then at times, we just don’t know. Yet in this roadblock, Paul was sensitive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
I pray that we would be so sensitive as well. As we serve in our church and communities, we need to be open to what the Holy Spirit is prompting us to do or not do. A closed door does not indicate we are failing God. Paul was not failing God. He was working to take the gospel out into the world.
Paul stayed faithful and God opened up direction for Paul to go to Macedonia, a significant event in the life of the church. For the first time, the gospel would enter the continent of Europe! What an honor for Paul and his companions. We still have people working to take the gospel to people groups around the world that have yet to hear about Jesus.
Paul’s team arrived in Philippi, an important city in Macedonia. Now, they had to prepare for the ministry at hand. The journey had been long so they no doubt needed to rest. At the same time, they would get to know the area. There was no synagogue in Philippi. Most likely because there were not enough Jewish men in the area. They would then learn where the place of prayer was at. Preparing is just as important for us to today as we go to serve. We want to be effective instruments for God and that requires careful research and planning. When Paul and his team went to the place of prayer, God revealed the why behind the previous closed doors. Lydia and her family would trust in Jesus!
God always provides. As Lydia was converted, a headquarters would be established for a new church. Lydia would be able to help support this work in Philippi. Paul and the team would have a place to stay. And later on, God would use this experience to encourage Paul as he would write Philippians while in prison. It is such an honor that God wants us to go out and love others to Jesus. B&R