Paul’s Second Missionary Journey
Acts 16: 6 “Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. 7 After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. 8 So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.”
Acts 21: 8 On the next day we who were Paul’s companions departed and came to Caesarea, and entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. 9 Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied. 10 And as we stayed many days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 When he had come to us, he took Paul’s belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’ ” 12 Now when we heard these things, both we and those from that place pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
Our focus here is how we hear and respond to the Holy Spirit. In a previous post, I mentioned three modes of listening within ourselves. By way of repetition, Jesus said “Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again’ (John 3:5-7). Dr. Luke wrote:
Acts 1: 4 “And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
In Acts 16: 6-10, we see the Apostle Paul, Silas, and Timothy traveling through the regions of Phrygia and Galatia. In Acts 15 Paul and Barnabas received letters from the Jerusalem Council regarding instructions on how the Gentile converts should live as Christians. The main body of these letters talked about placing no heavy burdens upon them. Some men had come down from Judea teaching that Gentile converts be circumcised according to the Law of Moses in order to be saved. These were probably a part of, if not the same Judaizers who troubled the brothers in Galatia. It is interesting how the Gentiles were getting saved and filled with the Holy Spirit in spite of the Law of Moses. Paul wrote in Galatians 2: 20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Ephesians 2: 5-8 supports this doctrine in saying “even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
What some fail to realize to this day is that there is no work of human hands that constitutes salvation. We all are touched with a bit of narcissism to a greater or lesser degree. We want credit for the things we do. If we helped an elderly person across the street, we expect a thank you. When we give financial gifts to our church, we make sure that our name is on that envelope, not only for recognition for our good works by the leaders of that church but also for our tax write-off. I would ask that you not take offense by this. However, I know human beings and how easily we are offended; after all, I happen to be one of them. This shoe does not fit everyone, because not everyone will take offense by this truth. Preachers have been teaching for centuries that “deny thyself” means to deny yourself cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, having a good time at a party and the like. What Christ truly meant was that we should put off that old man (or woman), who by nature is self-centered and has an innate need to hog the spotlight. These men who came out of Judea wanted to override the work that Christ has done that sets people free; releasing them from the bondage of the Law.