Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Dream of Macedonia

Today I am beginning new series, a study through the book of Philippians, Paul’s letters to Jesus believers at Philippi. But first, a little back story.

Open up just about any Bible to the back pages and you will find a section of maps, usually in full color plates. Almost always, you will find one titled something about “Paul’s Missionary Journeys.” Look in the upper left section of that map and there is Italy. To the right you will find Macedonia, and below that, Greece. A little further right, you will see the regions of Galatia and Phyrgia.

Phrygia and Galatia are where the apostle Paul and his mission team had been ministering, about AD 50, and they desired to go on into the western region of Asia Minor. But the Holy Spirit would not let them. So they skirted around to the west until they came to Mysia, to the north. They had thought to cross eastward from there over to Bithynia, but again, the Holy Spirit stopped them. So they continued westward to Troas.

At Troas, Paul had a dream, a vision in the night. In this vision, he saw a man of Macedonia who begged him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” That settled the matter for Paul and his ministry associates. Since the Holy Spirit would not let them minister in Asia or Bithynia, and now Paul had this vision calling them to something that had not been on their itinerary, they concluded that the Lord was calling to them to go to Macedonia and preach the good news about King Jesus there. So they set sail from Troas to the small Greek island of Samothrace. The next day, they landed at Neapolis, and from there came to Philippi, about ten miles inland.

All of this is in Acts 16:6-12, a transitional passage of how the Lord interrupted Paul’s plans and directed his way for a very significant change of course. Some very important times of ministry lay ahead for Paul and his team at Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth and Ephesus. However, we will be focusing on what happened at Philippi.

Focus Questions
  1. How to you suppose the Holy Spirit might have kept Paul and his associates from going on to Asia and Bithynia?
  2. How did those prior actions of the Holy Spirit give greater significance to Paul’s dream?
  3. Do you think God still leads us in this way today?

There is Always Joy!
There is Always Joy!
Paul’s Letters to the Jesus Believers at Philippi
Bite-Size Studies Through the Book of Philippians
by Jeff Doles

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Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.

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