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Default Day 317: Acts 16-18 - 10-20-2016, 04:05 PM

Acts 16
Paul Makes a Map From a Dream

1Then 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:
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.

After the big long rigmarole about circumcision (Acts 15:5-6), Paul decided to go ahead and skin his new friend Timothy’s wiener for good measure (Acts 16:1-5). He did this so Timothy wouldn’t offend the Jews, and I guess the Jews’ ID policy to get into the synagogue was more rigorous than it is today. It worked, and after a few days of walking very little, and very slowly at that, Timothy helped Paul plant many churches.

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,

The Holy Ghost made Asia off bounds. We don’t know if He showed up and reprimanded Paul and Timothy in person, through a vision, sent a messenger angel, gave Timothy a painful infection on the tip of his newly raw wiener every time they got their bags packed, or just created too many potholes on land and choppy waters in the sea and they figured out the message through a series of unfortunate events. We do know they didn’t go to Mysia or Bithynia either, which was their plan, as there were souls there than they thought needed Saving. The Holy Ghost disagreed, and all those souls are still writhing in Hell today, to the Glory of God (Acts 16:7).

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.

Lydia was very fortunate to not have been in Asia at the time, and immediately believed the stories Paul and Timothy told. She invited them back to her house for a party, and the most popular event was baptizing everyone.

Beat Up and Thrown in Jail

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.

Now, you may think that it must be a pretty sweet thing to be followed by a beautiful young woman telling people how honest and good you are and to believe what you say because it’s the truth, but that just annoyed the snot out Paul. He turned on her and kicked out the spirit that was living peacefully inside her. He didn’t mind the slavery part, just the spirit living inside her part (Acts 16:16-18).

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,

The problem was, this young woman was a slave girl, and that spirit living inside her made a lot of money for the girl’s masters because with it she could tell people things no one else could. Maybe that spirit let people know where their missing child was, or whether or not your wife was stepping out on you. The bible doesn’t say what kinds of things people paid to hear, just that they did. A lot. So when the masters of this slave girl found out that Paul had taken away their cash cow for no reason, they got mad and sought to punish Paul and Silas, his travelling companion for this trip. Paul and Silas were arrested, stripped, beaten, shackled, and thrown into prison (Acts 16: 21-24).

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.

No angel this time (Acts 13:2), this time a great earthquake shook the very foundations of the prison which not only unlocked and opened all the doors, but miraculously unlocked every single shackle, too. What are the odds?

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.

The guard slept through Paul and Silas’ singing, waking from the great earthquake to find the cells had been opened and the prisoners gone. The guard knew he was screwed for letting the prisoners escape, so he got ready to kill himself.

28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.

What a stroke of luck for that guard that he woke up before Paul left. The guard helped our heroes escape, taking them to his home rather than putting them back into the cells, and he and his family had such a great time were baptized that very night. They all partied into the next day (Acts 16:29-34).

35 And when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, Let those men go.

“What another stroke of luck,” said the guard. “Everyone who wanted you guys beaten and locked up and punished for stealing a respected citizen’s form of livelihood decided just now to let you go!” We don’t know how they knew this, if a co-worker from the prison came by, messenger boy ran up to the front door, or if it was the Holy Ghost Himself who delivered the message, we just know that Paul and Silas were told they were off the hook.

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.

Paul is pissed, and because he’s a Roman citizen, he makes the magistrates sweat. He tells the guard, “They treat Roman citizens like regular schmucks, then have the audacity to try and sneak us out of town so no one hears about it? Screw that. Let them come and escort us in style in broad daylight.” (Acts 16:38-39)

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.

At some point they ended up back in prison, even though the conversation seems to take place at the prison guard’s home. The bible doesn’t say if they were escorted back to prison to hear the news they were free to go, or if they went back in the morning so the prison guard didn’t lose his job, or if the Holy Ghost miraculously plopped them down there to avoid rush hour traffic. What we do know is that Paul and Silas left the prison, went to Lydia’s house to say good-bye, then left.

Acts 17

17 1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:
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.

Paul and Silas arrived in Thessalonica, and after preaching for a few weeks in the Synagogue that Jews shouldn’t be Jewish any more but should be Christian now. Some Jews ate it up, others were bitter and hired local thugs to cause trouble in order to blame Paul (Acts 17:1-5).

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;

The bitter Jews couldn’t find Paul and Silas so they rounded up Jason and and trumped up some charges of blasphemy against him instead (Acts 17:6-9).

10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.

Paul and Silas bravely ran away, and found their way to Berea. There they preached the same message, that Jews should stop being Jews and become Christians instead. Some said, “Yeah, that makes sense when you think about it,” and others said, “That’s screwy.” But word got back to the Jews in Thessalonica, who took their bully show on the road. Paul bravely ran away again, leaving Silas and Timotheus to fend for themselves (Acts 17:10-15)

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.

Paul preached in Athens (Acts 17:16-21) because he noticed they were a bunch of superstitious people and they needed to get right with God before Judgement Day. He explained they’re really looking for the One True God, and as luck would have it, Paul knew all about Him. Not only is the One True God a real god, and not a make-believe god like every other god worshiped in that city, but He will judge them all and sentence them to an eternity of damnation if they don’t shape up and become Christian (Acts 17:23-31). Some people made fun of his idea that everyone who died would come back to life, others thought that was a pretty sweet deal, it must be true. Paul left with some new friends (Acts 17:31-34)

Acts 18
1After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;

In Corinth, Paul hooked up with a Jew named Aquila, and his wife Priscilla. He stayed with them and helped them with their tent making business, but took as much time as he could to convince the Jews to stop being Jewish, and the Greeks to stop being homos, and everyone should sign up at church, sing hymns, have some communion, play bible verse bingo, that kind of stuff. Silas and Timotheus finally escaped from Macedonia, met up with Paul in Athens, and Paul was so excited, he revved up his preaching to full time. It didn’t take long before he got very frustrated that he couldn’t convert all the Jews, and decided to let them all be damned for all eternity (Acts 18:1-6).

7 And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man's house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue.
8 And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.

Paul realized he’d been a bit hasty in telling the Jews to go to hell, and found himself many more Jews who were happy to give up their Jewish religion, the religion of their families for hundreds of generations, the religion they believed was God’s path for them, and embraced Christianity instead. Paul must have felt pretty validated, but the bible doesn’t say.

9 Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace:

The Holy Ghost was busy, and so God personally sent His message to Paul in a dream: Keep on with the preaching. I’ll keep you safe and won’t let anyone hurt you, no matter how angry you make them (Acts 18:10-11). A year and a half later, Paul was brought into court for blasphemy, but the governor didn’t care about a bunch of bitter Jews squabbling. Paul was let go and the Greeks now got into the rubble and turned on Sosthenes, the head of the synagogue at that time. Sosthenes didn’t have God’s promise not to get hurt and the bible doesn’t say if Paul ever tried to help, or even cared. The governor didn’t (Acts 18:10-17).


18 And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.

Paul eventually got a haircut and left for Syria, travelling with Priscilla and Aquila. He came to Ephesus and forgot his promise to let the Jews be damned, and started telling them they should join the church he and his friends are planting (Acts 18:19-21).

24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.

Meanwhile, a Jew by the name of Apollos took the opportunity to tell the Jews about John the Baptist, which is as far into the New Testament as he’d read. Aquila and Priscilla told him the rest and they made a lot of converts (Acts 18:25-28).
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