Sunday Worship Service Sermon (10-22-2023)
As the Spirit of Jesus would allow
A pastor came to see Pastor Billy Graham and
asked. “Pastor, how can the church be revived?” At that time, Pastor Billy
Graham answered him as follows: “As long as the pastor does not become an
obstacle to God, the church will revive.”
Today's text is the story of Paul and his
companions on their second missionary journey and they almost became God's
hindrances. (We can be a hindrance to God or be helpful to God and His work)
began his second missionary journey with Silas to see how the believers who had
heard the gospel through him and Barnabas during the first missionary journey
were doing and to further strengthen their faith (Acts 15:36). They traveled to
Syria, Cilicia, Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, Pisidian Antioch, etc., visiting the
believers. These are all areas where Paul and Barnabas preached the gospel
during their first missionary journey. (Acts 13:41). So, the churches were
strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers (Verse 5). And during this
travel, Paul met Timothy, who was living in Lystra, and Paul had Timothy
accompany them on their missionary journey (Verse 1). Afterwards, Paul planned
to go straight west and preach at Ephesus in Asia, next to Pisidian Antioch.
However, Paul and his companions were kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching
the word in the province of Asia (Verse 6). So, they traveled throughout the
region of Phrygia and Galatia, located north of Antioch in Pisidia, and they
came to the border of Mysia, trying to enter Bithynia under the Black Sea
(Verse 7), but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So, they passed by
Mysia and went down to Troas (Verse 8).
are important words to note here. One is, (verse 6), ‘having been kept by
the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia', and the
other is, (verse 7), ‘The Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.’
was the Holy Spirit who called Barnabas and Paul, who were living
religious lives at the Antioch church, and said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and
Paul for the work to which I have called them’ (mission to the Gentiles). So,
after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them
off (Acts 13:1-3). And the two men began their missionary journey after being
sent by the Holy Spirit. And they were filled with the Holy Spirit
and preached the gospel wherever they went (Acts 13:9).
is a pattern that was repeated over and over again with Paul, Barnabas, and the
church in Antioch (and throughout the book of Acts): 'The Holy Spirit said’,
'Sent by the Holy Spirit’, 'filled with the Holy Spirit’, and they immediately
stopped doing what the Holy Spirit was preventing them from doing. They
immediately stopped doing what the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. What
life patterns do we see in these people? We can see that the Antioch Church,
Barnabas, and Paul are always acting under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
This is the life of the church (disciples) established by the Lord. If we have
lost this life, we must repent and quickly recover. This shows us how our
church community and the believers should live in the world (the attitude of
are people who confess this faith and live according to this faith, ‘You are
Christ, the living God’. People who make this profession of faith and live with
this faith must be people who live with this attitude of life. We must live as
the Holy Spirit speaks and as the Spirit of Jesus allows, so that we can receive
guidance from God (like the Antioch church, like Barnabas and Paul) and achieve
God's will. If we do not live like this, the works of God will not happen through
us. Then, we will see that everything remains at the level of what we can do
with our own strength.
they knew this fact, Paul and his group obeyed the Holy
Spirit's prohibition against preaching the Word in Asia. And they tried to go
to Bithynia, but when the Spirit of Jesus did not allow it, they again followed
the will of the Holy Spirit and stopped their will and plan. And as the Spirit
of Jesus permitted, the place they went to was Troas (this is a port city).
the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him,
"Come over to Macedonia (now Greece, Europe) and help us
(verse 9). After Paul had seen the vision, they got ready at once to leave for
Macedonia, concluding that God had called them to preach the gospel to them
preach the gospel to them’ (verse 10) – this is why God called us.
This is why He brought us here. This is why He saved us and why He established
our church here. This is why our church is here even in difficult times. This
is why we live here. This is why He gave us health and business. Who is 'that
person to whom we will preach the gospel' for you?
Paul and his companions realized through this vision why the Holy Spirit had
led them there, they immediately obeyed the Holy Spirit.
They got ready at once to leave for Macedonia. We must also become
people who can get ready at once to ‘spread the gospel to those people.’ This
is the image of the ‘Church established by the Lord’ shown in the Bible. So,
they put out from Troas to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace (Island), and
the next day they went on to Neapolis (Port) (Verse 11). And from there they
traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of
Macedonia (Verse 12). Paul and his company stayed there several days and, on
the Sabbath, they went outside the city gate to the river, where they expected
to find a place of prayer (verse 13). Whenever Paul went to a new city, he
always searched the Jewish synagogue first. Jews could only build a synagogue if there were 10 adults over the age
However, because there were not 10 Jews in Philippi, a synagogue could not be
built. That's why Paul and his company went outside the city gate to the river
expecting to find a place of prayer on the Sabbath. Then Paul sat down and
began to speak to the women who had gathered there (verse 13). One of those
listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, who was a worshiper
of God (but did not know Jesus) and a dealer in purple cloth from the city of
Thyatira. This woman was a businesswoman from Asia who had come to Philippi.
The Bible says that this woman was a dealer of purple cloth. Purple was the
clothing worn by kings and nobles in ancient times. This woman must have been
wealthy because she did business with kings and nobles.
Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message.
and the members of her household were baptized and she invited Paul and his
company to her home to stay at her house. Lydia’s family became the first
believers of the Philippian church, which became the first church in Europe. And
through Paul and his companions, God saved the jailer in the Philippi prison
and his household, allowing his family also to be among the first believers of
the Philippian church.
at these results, we can fully understand why the Holy
Spirit kept Paul and his companions from preaching the word in the province of
Asia and why the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to go to Bithynia when
they tried to do so. This is because God wanted Paul and his party to
visit this woman and her family in Europe and spread the gospel to her and save
them all. And because God wanted to save the jailer and his family in the
Philippian prison, he sent Paul and his group there to preach the gospel to
them. Through them, God wanted to establish a church there and save all
the Gentiles in Europe. This is how the Philippian Church, the first
church in Europe, began. Lydia's family and the jailer's family became
the first believer of the Philippian church.
Philippian church, established in this way, became the best supporter and
co-worker of Paul's mission throughout his life. To carry out God's plan,
the Holy Spirit sent Paul and his group 1,216 km (or about 755 miles) from
Antioch in Syria to Philippi: It is 1,000 km (or about 620 miles) by land
from Antioch in Syria to Troas. And from Troas to Neapolis, it is 200 km (or
about 125 miles) by sea. And from Neapolis to Philippi, it is 16 km (or 10
miles) by land.
love and grace of God who wants to save a life and a family is amazing.
God is the one who pours everything out for the salvation of a family. So, to
save you and me, God came from heaven to us on earth in a human body, took on
the cross to save us from sin and death, and was resurrected three days later.
Moreover, in order to save your and my family, God sent us someone like Paul, who was so full of the
joy of salvation, so that we could hear this gospel. In order to save these two
families, the Holy Spirit kept Paul and his company from preaching the word in
the province of Asia and led them from Antioch in Syria to Philippi.
Paul and his companions had ignored (=rejected) the guidance of the Holy Spirit
and moved according to the plans and will that they believed to be right, then
Paul and his companions would have become an obstacle to God's plan to save Lydia's
family and the jailer's family. And they would have become obstacles to the
work of God who wanted to spread the gospel beyond Asia to Europe. However,
when they lived as people of God, they laid themselves down and always obeyed
the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Even though they made their plans for the
Lord, they stopped immediately if the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to
continue. So, God continued to work with them as they lived according to the
guidance of the Holy Spirit, and He accomplished His will through them.
The reason God gave us these words was so that
we would also live as the Spirit of Jesus allows and as the Holy Spirit leads. If we are living as we please rather than
following the guidance of the Holy Spirit, God wants us to restore the life led
by the Holy Spirit. Only then can we become people who are helpful to God and
So, what should we do if we want to live as the
Spirit of Jesus allows (if we want to live according to the guidance of the
(1) We should pray that no matter what we do or
who we meet, the Holy Spirit will always lead us and guide us to live as the
Spirit of Jesus allows. (2) And Like Jesus, we must pray, “Yet not my will, but
Father’s will be done.” (3) Also, by reading, learning, and listening to the
Word of the Lord every day, we should to try to live with God’s wisdom in all circumstances.
Above all, the life led by the Holy Spirit is 'to go and share the gospel
with those outside the church who ask us to come and help them.' Paul and
his companions not only went to Macedonia as allowed by the Spirit of Jesus,
but also preached the gospel to the people whom the Lord had met, whether by
the river or in prison. Paul and his companions lived a life led by the Holy
Spirit. I believe that God will help us live a life like this. Amen!