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Chapter Sixteen — Part Two: The Book of Acts

By: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne

Publish date: 05/01/2022

Foundation Scriptures:
Acts 16:6-12

1. Prevented by the Holy Spirit.
a. Acts 16:6 NKJV — 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.
b. Forbidden (Greek ko-loo’-o) meaning: to stop; prevent (by word or act); cut off or cut short; to check; forbid; hinder; keep from; withstand.
c. The Lord strongly checked them from going into Asia.
d. The text does not specifically mention how the Lord communicated with them in this directive—whether through a leading of the Holy Spirit or a prophetic word.
e. The Holy Spirit knows all things; therefore, it is essential that we be led by Him, just as the Israelites were led by the pillar of fire and the pillar of cloud.
f. If we disobey Him, at the very least, we will waste our time and be unproductive and unfruitful; at the most, or worst, it could cost us our lives.
g. They had already established churches in certain provinces of Asia minor—in Galatia, Phrygia, Pisidia, Lycaonia, and Pamphylia.
h. Therefore, it must have been the northern and western parts—Bithynia and Mysia—where the Holy Spirit forbade them to go at this time.
i. Perhaps those areas were not ripe for the Gospel yet.
j. Almighty God knows everything; therefore, we must obey Him in direction AND timing.

2. Restrained by the Holy Spirit.
a. Acts 16:7 NKJV — After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them.
b. The word “tried” is rendered “assayed” in the KJV.
c. In the bad sense it means, “tempted” but in the good sense it means, “tried, attempted, or endeavored.”
d. They tried to go into Bithynia, but the Holy Spirit restrained them—He did not permit or allow them to do so.
e. It is not that the Lord did not want the Gospel to be preached there, but He had other plans for Paul and his group at that time.
f. At some point, these areas were evangelized, and churches were planted.
g. We know that Peter was one of those who ministered there.
h. 1 Peter 1:1 KJV — Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.
i. Bithynia means: “a violent rushing.”
j. It was a Roman province in Asia Minor, bounded by the Euxine Sea, the Propontis, Mysia, Phrygia, Galatia, and Paphlagonia.
k. The city of Nice was in Bithynia.

3. The Call to Macedonia.
a. Acts 16:8 NKJV — So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas.
b. It was a province of Asia Minor on the shore of the Aegean Sea, between Lydia and Popontis; and included the cities of Pergamos, Troas, and Assos.
c. Troas was a city on the coast of Mysia, in the north-west of Asia Minor.
d. It was named after ancient Troy, which was about 4 miles to the north.
e. Acts 16:9 NKJV — 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.”
f. Macedonia was a Roman province lying north of Greece.
g. Paul had many visions—some of them were to encourage him, and some of them were to give him directions in his ministry work.
h. Many people long to be led by visions and special prophetic words, rather than by the voice of the Holy Spirit.
i. Firstly, we should not seek supernatural manifestations—they are as the Lord wills.
j. Secondly, there’s often an urgency about the mission revealed in this way, requiring us to promptly obey.
k. Thirdly, this kind of supernatural leading could also be a preparation for supernatural persecution and opposition.
l. Finally, we will be held responsible to fully obey the heavenly directive.
m. You must still make the choice to obey God, whichever way He directs you—whether it is through that still small voice, a prophetic word, or a vision or dream.

4. Obedience to the Call.
a. Acts 16:10 NKJV — 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.
b. Paul was not disobedient to this heavenly vision but endeavored immediately to head for Macedonia.
c. When we receive a leading from the Lord, it is best not to delay or defer, but to immediately obey; lest we harden our heart against His voice and His call.
d. Paul saw the vision, but when he shared it with the others, they all agreed together that it was the will of God for them to go to Macedonia and preach the Gospel to the Macedonians.
e. They went cheerfully and willingly.
f. It appears that this is the time that Luke joined Paul in his journeys.
g. Because he begins to speak of “us” and “we” for the first time.

5. The Journey to Macedonia.
a. Acts 16:11a NKJV — Therefore, sailing from Troas…
b. The KJV says, “Therefore loosing from Troas…”
c. “Loosing” means, to weigh anchor, launch out, set sail, or depart to a place.
d. Acts 16:11b NKJV — …we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and the next day came to Neapolis…
e. Samothracia is an Aegean island, about 20 miles around.
f. Neapolis was the harbor of Philippi, which was about 10 miles away.
g. This was Paul’s first trip onto European soil with the Gospel.
h. Acts 16:12a NKJV — …and from there to Philippi, which is the foremost city of that part of Macedonia, a colony.
i. Philippi was the place of the decisive battle which ended the Roman republic in 42 B.C.
j. It was a colony of Rome, with a Roman garrison, many Roman inhabitants, and Roman magistrates and/or governors.
k. Acts 16:12b NKJV — And we were staying in that city for some days.
l. They arrived in Philippi, but there was no one waiting for them.
m. They were there for a number of days without preaching or ministry.
n. There were no synagogues in Philippi, and they would have to look elsewhere for opportunities to begin their ministry there.