Hearing Lost Men’s Cry for God
August 14, 2022
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Background (Acts 15:36; 16:1-5)
A. Acts 15:36 And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do.
B. Paul and Barnabas head off from Antioch on a SECOND Missionary Expedition – they split up and go into two different directions, each taking someone with them
1. Barnabas takes his nephew John Mark with him
2. And Paul takes a man named Silas with him
C. They were a MIGHTY army of… 4!
D. Travelling throughout modern day Turkey (Galatia, Asia minor…) (Acts 16:1)
1. Passing through so many different cultures, languages, religions… and dangers
2. They are doing everything they can to get the word out about Jesus outside of the nation of Israel – to both Jews AND Gentiles
3. They went soul-winning, preaching, teaching and talking about the Gospel
4. Jesus said, Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
5. They came back to Derbe, Lystra and Iconium where they had been a year before (MAP)
6. Acts 16:1 Then came he [PAUL] to Derbe and Lystra…
E. They pick up Timothy (Acts 16:1-3)
1. Acts 16:1-3 … 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: Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. 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.
2. A young Christian man, who had a godly testimony, and wanted to serve God
3. Now they are an army of FIVE!
F. Establishing the New Churches (Acts 16:4,5)
1. These three went to the churches that had been started the year before and established them
2. Acts 16:4,5 And as they went through the cities [TO ALL THE NEW CHURCHES], they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.
3. ‘Establishing’ means:
a. They ANCHORED the churches in the ROCK, Jesus Christ – not in their baptism, or church membership, or religious best efforts – but in Jesus alone!
b. They told them the Scriptures were all they needed to know God, and to do right
c. They taught Christians to set limits on their liberties so that lost people would see a humble church and listen to them
d. And they compelled them to focus on the big things – like souls, and not personalities
e. Established churches don’t change with the times – they keep doing and preaching and believing the things Jesus said, end of story! Even 2,000 years later!
G. So, Where to Next?
A. Backed Into a Corner (Acts 16:6-8)
1. They Were Literally Walking by Faith (Acts 16:6)
a. Act 16:6 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia…
b. So, on to Phrygia in Galatia they went [MAP]
c. City after city, house after house, region after region
d. Never ending!
2. But then they were BLOCKED by the Holy Ghost (Acts 16:6)
a. Act 16:6 … and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,
b. Usually the Holy Spirit spends a lot of effort trying to motivate us, push us to get going!
But here, the Holy Spirit was
stopping them, hindering them, blocking them
[ROAD BLOCK] [DIVERSION]
d. The Bible says they were FORBIDDEN by the Holy Spirit
e. Now THAT is new!
1) Normally it was people and governments and religions that blocked them
2) But Paul and Silas and Timothy clearly understood that the Holy Ghost did not want them to go and preach in Phrygia
3) It was like the Holy Spirit put up a huge wall was blocking them from going forward
3. NEWS FLASH… The Holy Spirit Influences the Life of the Believer
a. Acts 8:29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
b. Acts 11:12 And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man's house:
c. Acts 13:2-4 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.
d. God has given you another voice in your soul – the Holy Spirit
e. To guide your decisions… as I will show you in a few moments
f. Isaiah 30:21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.
4. But Satan is also a spiritual influencer
a. 1Thessalonians 2:18 Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.
b. So we have to be discerning (1Corinthians 2:14) But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
5. So, They Changed Direction
a. Act 16:7 After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia…
b. Assayed means attempted, like when someone attenpts to climb a tree
c. They changed direction and headed for Mysia and then for Bithynia attempting to find an open door for them to preach the Gospel
d. They just kept going forward!
1) We all do that when we come to a detour
2) They were like those little robot vacuum cleaners… always going forward until they bump into something, and then they just change direction a little, and keep going!
6. And that was when the Spirit of God stopped them AGAIN (Acts 16:7) Strange!
a. Act 16:7 …but the Spirit suffered them not.
b. He would NOT allow them to go into Mysia and Bithynia
B. Question… How does the Holy Spirit STOP a Christian from doing something?
1. The Holy Spirit influences every believer…
2. Ask yourself…
a. Does the Holy Spirit of God ever try and STOP you from doing something?
b. Does He ever try and stop you from saying something?
c. If you are doing something sinful, or about to, you better believe He tries to stop you!
d. From yelling, or arguing, or fighting, or lusting, or coveting, or lying, or stealing?
e. The Holy Spirit of God pulls and tugs at the hearts of HARD Christians, to save them from divorce, and from shipwrecked faith, and from cults, and from sorrows upon sorrows – but so few let Him stop them from going their own ways!
f. They just race ahead and do what they feel like doing, no one stopping them
g. If the Holy Spirit doesn’t stop you from sinning, then that ought to terrify you!
1) You either are hardened towards God – which is dangerous
2) Or not saved! Which is even more dangerous!
3) Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
4) Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
3. By the words of Scripture (Acts 8:36,37)
Act 8:36,37 And as they went
on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is
water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest
with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus
Christ is the Son of God.
PHILIP QUOTES SCRIPTURE TO HINDER THE EUNUCH
b. THIS Book tells us what is the right/wrong thing to do
1) Work on a Sunday?
2) Sell alcoholic drinks?
3) Spend time alone with a single woman?
4) Watching fornication on your TV?
5) Staying home when there is soul-winning to do on a Saturday?
c. You need to hear the words in this Book, and obey them!
d. If you don’t, there is a serious problem! Like having no brake on your car!
1) John 8:47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
4. By Mature Spiritual Discernment
a. Mature MEN can tell when the Holy Spirit is saying GO, and when it is saying NO.
b. Because God gave us ANOTHER voice in our soul…
1) John 10:1-4 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
c. That voice quietly speaks to our heart, and guides us and pulls us back from doing wrong
d. Isaiah 30:21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.
e. And that voice is wonderful to hear and know!
5. By God physically making something impossible for you to do – which is rare
a. Like an illness, a storm, a major disaster, a locked door, or an actual tree across a road
b. All those things will usually stop you from doing what you want
6. By godly counsel – please don’t ignore this important influence!
a. PLEASE be humble enough to listen to godly counsel
b. Proverbs 11:14 Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.
c. Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.
d. So, Ask for advice from your own father and mother, your pastor, from GODLY friends
e. They might hinder you from making a HUGE mistake in your life!!!
C. At Troas… Now What? (Acts 16:8)
1. So, they just passed on my Mysia and kept going some more
2. Until they came to Troas (Acts 16:8)
a. Act 16:8 And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.
b. Paul was probably frustrated
c. They were at the end of the road so to speak – only water was ahead of them
d. Should he go back east and into Asia? Go back to Antioch? Or go north beyond Bithynia? Where should he go?
e. They were at the end of the world they knew
f. Beyond them was ancient Europe, Greece, and Mighty Rome! Places and people they could not begin to imagine!
3. Paul needed God’s direction now more than ever
a. Before, it had been, just GO!
b. Now, he and Silas and Timothy are going to learn to WAIT for God to show them a direction they would never have taken otherwise!
c. Learn to be sensative to the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit, and be patient
d. It was at Troas (not in Jerusalem, or Antioch, or in Galatia) that Paul had a dream, a vision – he saw something, or rather someone talking to him way off in the distance…
4. He found it at Troas… Paul got directions to the next place at Troas!
a. A small town just a few kilometres from the Mediterranean Sea, but a very special place
b. Near to ancient Troy (Troas), made famous by Homer’s Iliad
c. This town is in ruins now
d. But in Paul’s day, around 55 AD, it was there in Troas that a great door of opportunity was opened to Paul by the Lord (2Corinthians 2:12) Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord.
5. These three men needed to be in Troas
a. They were exactly where they were supposed to be!
b. God would not show them their next step unless they had taken this one. God usually does not show you the full trip ahead, but usually one or two steps at a time (see Psalm 119:105) Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
c. They needed to be trying to FIND God’s will, while DOING God’s will
d. Paul’s will was pretty good – going to Phrygia, Mysia, and Bithynia – all needy places, all good places – not sin to try and go to those towns
e. But none of them were God’s will
f. Doing a Good thing is not a good thing to do unless it is God’s will that we do it
6. You and I Have Got to Get to Troas Too
a. Question… Are you doing what God has already told you to be doing?
1) Simple things like reading your Bible, page by page, every day?
2) Talking to God, and asking for help for everything you do?
3) Loving God, and loving and forgiving everyone – no exceptions?
4) Coming faithfully to church and hearing this Book preached, every Sunday and Wednesday?
5) Serving in some ministry in your church, faithfully?
6) Forgiving everyone who ever hurts you?
b. If not, then you will NEVER know the plans He has for you – the awesomeness of the work that He will do through your life and home!
D. A Long Distance Call for Help (Acts 16:9)
1. This is where Paul heard a long distance call for help!
2. Act 16:9 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.
3. It was there in Troas, that God put something into Paul’s heart
a. What was it?
b. A dream, a voice, a call, a cry
c. Like waking up and hearing a distant cry for help – you would stop breathing just to make sure you were hearing things correctly!
4. God rerouted a call from a man way over in Macedonia
a. The call came from a single solitary man way off in the distance
b. Macedonia was 200 kilometres away across the vastness of the Aegean Sea
c. God reroutes the cry of the lost all the time
1) God rerouted Cornelius’ cry to Peter in Acts chapter 10!
2) God rerouted the cry of the Ninevites to Jonah
d. Paul couldn’t see this man’s face, but he recognised him as a man dressed in strange clothes, European clothes, from a region of Greece called Macedonia [MAP]
5. A Passionate Request – “Come and help us!”
a. This was not a request for a sandwich, or for a few euros – this man was in danger!
b. He was crying out for help.
c. The Macedonian man probably didn’t even know what kind of help he needed – he just knew he needed someone to help him!
d. And if it weren’t for Paul getting this vision, that Macedonian Man, and ultimately his entire nation would have died with no hope and no Saviour for another decade or so!
6. SOBERING FACT: The lost call out to God all the time!
a. They cry out because of abuse
b. They cry out because of hurt and pain
c. They try and reach the Unknown God – the God they do not know
d. Please stop everything you are doing right now, and hear them!!!
1) Because, God hears them all
2) And He sends His people – US – to help them find Him!
3) That was what Paul was answering – A redirected call to him for help
E. What Could Paul Do? (Acts 16:10,11)
1. Should he ignore the plea? Say it is not your problem? Many Christians do!
a. This was like getting a desperate late-night long-distance phone call from someone you don’t know who just had a car accident and needed help…
b. Could YOU ignore it? Someone crying out in the darkest of nights, “HELP!?”
2. He could not save that man and his people – that is Christ’s job
3. But Paul could help them
a. Isn’t that a wonderful word the Macedonian man used… HELP me!
b. Paul could just simply give the Macedonian man the same thing that helped HIM
c. These men actually believed that the news about Jesus Christ being alive was enough to help anybody, no matter who they were or where they were!
4. So, the next morning, Paul woke everyone up and said, “I know where to go now!”
a. And he pointed out over the Aegean Sea, and said, WE are going to Macedonia!
b. I got a “call” last night from someone over there asking for our help!
c. Just a single solitary nameless man was waiting for them to find him!
5. A Step into the Unknown – he had no idea what was ahead!
a. So Paul and his two co-labourers (Silas and young Timothy) immediately left on the next ship leaving Troas for Macedonia
1) Act 16:10 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. Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis;
2) They were just as sure of their calling as they were of their salvation!
3) No debate
4) No hesitation
5) And no regrets!
b. That is faith – that is what a Missionary does! Points to a far away place and says “I see and hear the cries of the lost, and must go!”
6. They had never dreamed of going into Europe
a. And yet here they were, a bunch of born again believers in Jesus Christ, going into the very heart of ancient Greek culture
b. And it would change the world from the very beginning of modern civilization
c. Greek thought and Greek wisdom was going to be radically influenced by the Gospel now!
d. And forever changed for the better!
e. We owe most of our freedoms and our knowledge and learning in the Western world to the Gospel’s influence on the beginning of democracy in Greece 2,000 years ago
f. Greek thought, and Greek wisdom, when filtered through the Bible became everything that is great about Western Civilization…
1) Our laws are based on God’s laws in the Bible
2) Our freedoms and rights come from the God of the Bible, not from government
3) Our personal safety comes from the value we learn to place on every human being, born and unborn, black or white, red or blue, male or female!
7. All because of hearing a lost man’s cry for help!
III. Application and Conclusion
A. Someone is calling right now, and no one hears it!
1. The cry of lost men and women, and especially children is reaching heaven, every moment of every day!
2. You and I need to know the lost are crying out right now
3. And honestly, no one has their mobile (spiritual mobile) turned on – Christians are not hearing the cry of the lost!
B. Will you do some things this morning?
1. Get busy doing the first things, the basic things we all must do as Christians?
2. Allow the Lord to back you to the wall so-to-speak – to push you to the edge of yourself?
3. Get desperate for the Lord to break your heart about those that do not know Jesus as Saviour?
4. Ask God to redirect that call to YOU – right now?
C. And is there anyone here crying out for God this morning? You are not here by accident! And the Gospel is for you! The good news that Jesus saves sinners is for you!
D. Stay around and talk with me! I’d like to help you know that you know how to be forgiven