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Ambassador Baptist Church
1926 Babcock Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15209
(412)822-7255
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Pastor's Pen - November 19, 2007
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November 19, 2007

Acts 16-17
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Following Scripture Verses
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Acts
Chapter 16
  1. Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek:
  2. Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium.
  3. Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.
  4. And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.
  5. And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.
  6. Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,
  7. After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.
  8. And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.
  9. And 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.
  10. And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.
  11. Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis;
  12. And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days.
  13. And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.
  14. And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.
  15. And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.
  16. And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:
  17. The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.
  18. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.
  19. And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,
  20. And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,
  21. And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.
  22. And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.
  23. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:
  24. Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
  25. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
  26. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.
  27. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.
  28. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.
  29. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,
  30. And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
  31. And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
  32. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.
  33. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.
  34. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.
  35. And when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, Let those men go.
  36. And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and go in peace.
  37. But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out.
  38. And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans.
  39. And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city.
  40. And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.


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Acts
Chapter 17
  1. Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:
  2. And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
  3. Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.
  4. And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.
  5. But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.
  6. And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;
  7. Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus.
  8. And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things.
  9. And when they had taken security of Jason, and of the other, they let them go.
  10. And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.
  11. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
  12. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.
  13. But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people.
  14. And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea: but Silas and Timotheus abode there still.
  15. And they that conducted Paul brought him unto Athens: and receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timotheus for to come to him with all speed, they departed.
  16. Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.
  17. Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.
  18. Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.
  19. And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?
  20. For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean.
  21. (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)
  22. Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.
  23. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
  24. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
  25. Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
  26. And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
  27. That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
  28. For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
  29. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.
  30. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
  31. Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
  32. And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.
  33. So Paul departed from among them.
  34. Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.


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Thought for the day:
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 There are a couple different items that I would like us to notice in today's passage. First of all, in Acts 16:6-10 we can learn a little bit about the leading of the Holy Spirit. Paul was continuing on his missionary journey. He came through Galatia, and wanted to go into Asia, but the Holy Ghost forbade him to do so. He then desired to go to preach the Gospel in Bithynia, but once again the Lord did not allow him to go. Soon afterward, Paul received a vision in the night through which the Lord directed Him to go to Macedonia. Here is a simple principle: that which may seem to be a good thing is not always the thing that God wants you to do. People in Asia needed to hear the message of salvation as did the people of Bithynia. However, those were not the areas where God wanted Paul to minister at that point. I'm sure that people would have gotten saved had Paul witnessed in Asia. I'm certain that Paul saw an opening, and saw a need, and assumed that this was the Lord's will for him. However it was not, and thankfully he was sensitive enough to the leadership of the Holy Spirit to wait for His direction, and then respond properly when that direction came. When seeking the will of God, availability, burden and need are not necessarily the same thing as a call. Paul had a burden, he saw a need, and he was available, but it wasn't God's plan. Be sure to spend much time in prayer seeking the Lord's leadership, and then get into the Word of God, for this is the means whereby the Lord will make His program known. Emotions and feelings are not sufficient, for those will fade when the going gets tough. "Peace" is not enough, for I have known many people who claimed to have an inner peace about decisions that they had made that were blatantly un-Scriptural. Be sure that you have the Spirit's leading through the Word before you make any decisions.

 A second item of interest is found in Acts 17:11 which reads,

"These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."
Here the Christians in Berea were being complimented for their attitude towards the Word of God. There are two aspects of this attitude that should be noted. First of all, the Christians were ready and anxious to receive the Word. They did not have to be dragged kicking and screaming to hear Biblical teaching; they were excited about the opportunity. In addition, their minds were ready to put into practice the things that they were taught. The second aspect was that they searched the Scriptures for themselves to verify that the teaching they were receiving was, in fact, correct. I believe that it is worth noting that the preaching that they were checking on was the message that Paul was delivering. How interesting! Some people today will tell you that you ought to accept anything the pastor tells you because he is the "man of God". However, Luke tells us that the Bereans were more noble because they did not take the preaching at face value, but rather studied the Word for themselves to be certain that they were being told the truth. How much better off we would be if church members today did this! We need people who have a hunger for the Scriptures and a willingness to obey whatever the Bible says. We also need those same Christians to become self-feeders who are capable of reading the Bible for themselves and are able to allow the Holy Spirit to illuminate Truth for them.

Pastor Mark J Montgomery

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