Responding to Need

Key Verse: “A vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.”
—Acts 16:9

Selected Scripture:
Acts 16:6-40

AT THE CONCLUSION OF our last lesson, we found Paul and Barnabas returning to Antioch after the council held in Jerusalem on what part of the Mosaic Law was to be observed by the new Gentile brethren. They decided to take the letter of decisions made in Jerusalem to all the churches they had established during their first journey. Barnabas wanted to take John Mark, his nephew, with them and Paul did not. This led to a separation and Barnabas took John Mark and sailed for Cyprus. Paul took Silas and left to visit the churches of Syria, Cilicia, Phrygia, and Galatia.

After delivering the letters to these churches they wanted to go to Bithynia and Mysia but were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to do so.—Acts 16:6,7

One night Paul received a vision asking him to come to Macedonia to help them. Recognizing God’s will in the matter, he and his party immediately left for Macedonia, arriving at Philippi. There was no synagogue in Philippi, but devout Jews went to a place by the river for prayer. There Paul preached the Gospel message for the first time on the continent of Europe and met a well-to-do woman of the city named Lydia. The Lord opened her heart (Acts 16:14) and eventually she and her household were immersed. She asked Paul to come to her home. (Acts 16:15) Hospitality is one of the earmarks of Christian living.—Rom. 12:13; I Pet. 4:9

As Paul’s party of Silas, Timothy, and Luke went to the place of prayer, they were followed by a woman possessed with an evil spirit, who had the power of divination, that is, the ability to predict future events. She followed them crying out, “These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.” (Acts 16:17) She kept doing this until Paul finally cast out the evil spirit within her. It was then that her masters, seeing their loss, brought Paul and Silas before the magistrates. Their charge was that “These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.”—Acts 16:20,21

Paul and Silas were beaten and cast into prison, their feet placed in stocks. Although suffering pain, at midnight, Paul and Silas sang praises unto God, and all the prisoners heard them. (Acts 16:25) What a witness this was, bruised from the beating and feet shackled, yet able to sing songs of praise to God.

Suddenly there was an earthquake, which opened the doors and released the bands on all the prisoners. The keeper of the prison seeing what had happened thought to take his life. Paul told him not to harm himself saying, “We are all here.” (Acts 16:28) Seeing this, he fell down at the feet of Paul and Silas and asked what he must do to be saved. They responded by speaking unto him and his household the word of the Lord. (Acts 16:32) The keeper of the prison washed and dressed their stripes and as they continued to talk about God’s plan, they were baptized. Paul’s response to the needs of the people in Macedonia had been rewarded by the finding of brethren in Christ. These formed the basis of a new ecclesia and Luke stayed with them as the others moved on.

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |