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147: Paul’s Second Missionary Journey – Part I [Cooperation; Conflict; Commencement]

May 15, 2009

Text: Acts 15:30-16:10

Outline:

  1. God’s Vision for the Established Church             Acts 15:30-34
    [Communicating]
  2. God’s Vision for the New Churches                        Acts 15:35-16:5
    [Mentoring]
  3. God’s Vision for Macedonia                                       Acts 16:6-10
    [Preparing]

Context/Discussion/Comments:

Paul’s Second Journey doesn’t actually begin until Acts 15:40 but the purpose of the journey was to communicate the decision of the Jerusalem Council and to mentor those churches begun on his first journey. Therefore, this interlude in Chapter 15 lays important groundwork for Paul’s second trip. We should note that Paul’s First Missionary journey was born out of persecution. Paul’s Second Missionary Journey is born out of doctrinal conflict. The doctrinal conflict caused the missionaries to go and the personal conflict doubled the number of missionaries from two to four.

The letter from Jerusalem not requiring Gentiles to be circumsized was well received at Antioch. Judas and Silas stayed on to encourage the Antioch church. Paul and Barnabus continued their teaching ministry until Paul suggested they return to the churches they had planted. Paul and Barnabus had a sharp disagreement on whether or not to take John Mark. That conflict split the team so Barnabus went with John Mark and Paul chose Silas and went through Syria and Cilicia strengthening the churches. They came to Derbe and Lystra, doing the same.

They learn of Timothy, a believer as a result of Paul’s first trip and a man respected by the churches at Iconium and Lystra. Paul wants Timothy to join him so he circumcises him because his mother was a Jew and because of the number of Jews in the area. Timothy actually takes the place of John Mark, who was on Paul’s first trip. So they traveled town to town delivering the Jerusalem decision, strengthening the believer’s faith, and growing the numbers of believers. They traveled throughout Phygia and Galatia and then on to Troas because the Holy Spirit prevented them from entering Asia.

Here Paul receives his vision to go into Macedonia. In Acts 16:10 we see that Luke is with them and is part of the party going to Macedonia. Perhaps Luke is one who came to Paul and spoke to him about coming to Macedonia and that Paul’s vision confirmed it was the will of God. Luke was a physician and most likely was trained at the medical school in Philippi, the lead city of Macedonia.  There is also evidence that Philippi was his home town.  We toured western Turkey in 2012 and visited Perganum.  Below that city is a place called The Asclepeion, described by our guide as the “Mayo Clinic” of the region.  It is easy to imagine that Luke met Paul there [perhaps Paul sought treatment] or they traveled together to Troas.

Lessons/Applications:

  1. Conflict, if appropriate, can result in blessing. If we are completely yielded and faithful to Him, blessing will grow out of both persecution and conflict.
  2. Communication is ineffective without lovingly sharing and ministering to one another. Time must never get in the way of duty.
  3. Knowledge/confirmation of God’s Grace leads to Peace which enables us to sense God’s Presence.
  4. It is not unusual for conflict to arise out of true Peace and Divine Purpose if one yields to self-edification/pride.
  5. All of us have a responsibility to identify, mentor, and encourage future Church leaders; providing them opportunities for growth and maturity.
  6. We must be willing to adapt to our environment in order to present the Gospel.Love-Hug Principle: We can not offer a cup of cold water with one hand and not give out the Gospel message with the other. Likewise, we can not give the Gospel with the other hand and refuse to offer a cup of cold water. We must extend both arms in a “loving hug” of Gospel and water.
  7. Usually we must enter the “water” to find out where we can cross [go].
  8. Visions usually come while we are knocking on different doors of opportunity.
  9. Our vision is always shorter sighted than God’s vision. We can see the horizon. God can see beyond the horizon. Therefore, we must exercise our gift of Faith or risk being disillusioned.

Results Model [God’s Will] for the Church

For Individuals

From Acts 2:42-47

Pray, Study, Fellowship, and Serve

For Elders/Leaders

From Acts 15:30-34

Lead, Communicate, and Manage the Vision

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