Spiritual Gifts (Acts 16) cont by Pastor Don
Continuation from the previous entry.
Acts 16:6-12 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. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. 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.” 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. Therefore, sailing from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and the next day came to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is the foremost city of that part of Macedonia, a colony. And we were staying in that city for some days.
The Supernatural comes through to the Natural. The natural eyes see naturally. Paul had a burden to preach the Word in Asia. Some people get super religious and feel they should preach the Gospel anywhere, anytime they want to preach the Gospel. But NO, that is not the way it works. God knows the right time when a person will be receptive to the Gospel, when they can be reached. It is not our job to do the business of the Holy Spirit. We are human and we want the victory NOW, but the Holy Spirit knows the right timing. If we are not working under the leading of the Holy Spirit we are spinning our wheels. Boldness can turn people off, and harden their hearts more. We need to sow seed at the command of the Head Farmer. The Lord leads by the Spirit when it is time to sow seed. People need to get in the presence of the Holy Spirit and ask, “Is it now Lord?” When it is the right time the other person will open the door for you. When that door is opened, then it is easy for God.
Initially, Paul was forbidden to go to Asia.
Pastor Don said that for him, when the Holy Spirit wants him to hold his peace, it is like a silent hand comes over his mouth, or in his heart, and a feeling of “don’t say that.” Sometimes he has gone to the pulpit with a message already prepared, and God tells him not to preach that message. The Holy Spirit will forbid it in a still small voice, an inner witness. When that happens Pastor Don waits, listens for God, and then God gives him the sermon He wants preached, complete with references, and Pastor Don preaches what God tells him to preach.
If the Holy Spirit tells us not to open the door, not to cross the street at a particular time, obey Him. Pastor Don told us about a time when his father was going to cross the street, but he had a feeling to not step off the curb. But the light had changed, the walk light was on, and no cars were in sight. He stepped off the curb, and felt invisible hands pulling him up and back onto the curb just as a car raced by. Had those angelic hands not pulled him back to the curb, he would have died. But Pastor Don warned that not always when we disobey the Spirit, will God prevent the “accident” from happening – It is better when we hear the inner witness to obey instantly.
Pastor Don once asked his father how to determine if something was good to do or not. His dad told him, “If the thought crosses your mind that maybe you shouldn’t do it, don’t.” If it was an opportunity that you should take, God will present it again, but listen to the check of the Spirit.
If you develop your ability to hear the inner voice the first time, then a whole lot of stuff that isn’t in your best interest can be avoided.
Pastor Don then told us that, if the conflict of doubt is standing in the way of your faith, then DO. Don’t let the doubts of flesh limit God’s Possibility. If the Holy Spirit tells us to do it, then do it in faith. When you have prayed and waited, and then receive the answer of the Spirit, obey the Spirit.
If we need confirmation about what we have heard from the Holy Ghost, we need to trust that God will confirm it, if we hesitate for Spiritual reasons. If we hesitate for the flesh, God is not in that, and we need to obey the Word of the Spirit.
Then (in the the above passage of Acts) we see God spoke in a vision. We must learn to wait for God’s timing, if there is a conflict and we are not hearing from the inner witness, the Holy Spirit may speak a different way – for Paul in this case it was a vision. God can correct and lead in visions and dreams. He will approach us in a way we can receive His Word, and He will use that to part the Veil between the Natural and the Supernatural.
Pastor Don asked how Paul knew that the men were men from Macedonia. It was because of their dress and speech. God did not want Paul to visit initially because God had to put some things into place first. God will sometimes have us wait until the right timing, when all the pieces of the puzzle are put together.
At other times there are things going on in the Heavenlies that we are not aware of. Daniel prayed and fasted for 21 days waiting on the Lord. God sent an angel, and the angel told Daniel that God had sent him from the moment the prayer went up, but there was opposition in the Heavenlies, and the angel had to ask for reinforcements before he could come to Daniel with God’s answer.
We are in the midst of warfare in the heavenlies. When we pray and God does not seem to be answering when we want Him to, there could be reasons we don’t even perceive that is delaying the answer. Keep praying.
When an answer is not coming we need to meditate, check out ourselves, see if there is hidden sin, if we are doing what we are supposed to be doing, if we are where God wants us to be, when we realize we are doing all the right things and the answer is not appearing to come, we have to trust that God is responding, and we need to wait and pray. If we start speaking doubt, begin thinking that God isn’t going to answer this prayer, that God is remote and not involved, or any other lie that satan wants to throw at us to pull us away from the truth of God, we can defeat our prayer.
satan will then help us to think we are inadequate or unworthy of God’s intervention. When he succeeds in that he has won the battle. When doubts creep in, hold onto the Word of God, don’t put your self emotionally into the mix. God could make something happen instantly. God is sovereign, but at times with earthly things He can’t act for He places His Word above Himself. Adam and Eve messed it up. God plays by the rules He set down.
We are under the Abrahamic Covenant where God will bless those who bless us and curse those who curse us.
Pastor Don also pointed out that sometimes when we are sick we kind of want to be sick – ie not want to go to work, take a few days off, get sympathy. But he told us that we should not volunteer ourselves to the devil through a lie.
Back to Acts 16 – Pastor Don pointed out that Paul was obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
HERE IS THE KEY OF ACTS 16
Acts 16:13-15 And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us.
God orchestrated Paul’s journey so he would meet Lydia – the woman who sold purple, and she was rich, thus able to help support the ministry. By following the Spirit of God, Paul through the Holy Spirit converted her, her household (which was many members) and God also gave them a place to stay and provision.
Sometimes, when God puts our prayers on hold, or doesn’t seem to answer them, it is not always a sin issue, but it may be God putting all the pieces in order to move big in our lives.
As the battle wages, God found a place for Paul to stay, a place where he can be protected. Had he gone earlier, Paul might not have met Lydia and those people might not have gotten saved.
God will provide for us.
Acts 16:16-17 Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.”
Pastor Don had us look at this girl who followed Paul. He asked us, Is there a spirit in the girl? Yes. Is it a Spirit from God? No. Yet this spirit is proclaiming truth – that Paul and his followers were servants of the Most High God, and that they were to proclaim the way of salvation. The devil will give mostly true facts, and then throw in a little lie to pull people off of course. He is not going to go with a bold-faced lie. Satan, familiar spirits, and other spirits that are not from God are aware of the truth and will use it against believers. But the source of this pronouncement is not a desirable source, for it will take glory from God.
Pastor Don said the devil will wrap a lie in the truth. Kind of like putting a little bit of poison in a good piece of meat – over time the poison will kill you but you won’t detect it at first.
We need to be able to discern, to wait through the confusion of life, to actively wait. If someone is trying to sell you something that sounds too good to be true, it is best to be patient and find out all the fine print, for probably it is too good to be true.
In the last days we must be discerning people, because many lies will be coming at us. If a preacher says if you believe the way that I believe than you are better than other Christians, they are saying a lie. If they begin to believe that only those who belong to me and are mine are going to be saved, the rest aren’t. It isn’t a good teaching. A person and their tenents are not the answer to salvation – there is only one way to salvation – Jesus Christ.
Pastor Don gave the example of a police line-up, where a person has to select one person from the lineup. There is only ONE way to salvation, we must pick Jesus Christ.
Pastor Don asked us, if there were fifty ways to believe God, why did God only send one savior? We need to ask God what is the truth when we receive a teaching, and also ask God to show us if there is a lie. Most cults appeal to PRIDE. They want you to think that you are hot stuff when you go through their system.
Acts 16:18 And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour.
Notice in this verse that Paul spoke to THE SPIRIT, He did not condemn the Girl! We need to remember that with everyone who is suffering with the demonic, we address the spirit in the person. The spirit duped the person to open the door for possession.
Pastor Don told us with spiritual warfare it is not the person. We are to stay in authority in the Name of Jesus Christ. When we walk in the Name of Jesus we can walk in love with everybody. The devil can’t stop us because God gives us authority, we are on assignment.
The spirit in the woman reacted to the Spirit of God, and the supernatural forces are wrestling for the influence of the woman. She could be caught in a battle. The Lord wold not permit her to to interfere with His servants who were sharing the Gospel. The Supernatural Force from God drove the evil spirit out of the woman. Pastor Don also told us that Paul did not recognize that this woman was possessed with an evil spirit, but over time Paul’s Holy Spirit showed him the truth and Paul then took action to cast out the evil spirit.
Pastor Don prays to God that God gives him enough time to finish the assignment God has for him. We too have assignments from God. And there is a spiritual battle that is going on, trying to prevent our success for God’s kingdom. If the things affecting us are not from God, they are making us a mess and they have to go in the Name of Jesus.
Praying your day is blessed! My kids went to bed hoping for a snow day or at least a two-hour delay.
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