Every one desire some sort of opportunity, either an opportunity for a business and /or a business deal, or a work or ministry opportunity. And waiting for any opportunity can be the most difficult thing to do since it calls for patience. Nonetheless, opportunity always comes with patience but mostly there have to be some trying times and or even dry times while waiting for that opportunity. But it doesn’t matter how long you’re waiting for that opportunity God will grant it in due season.
Understand that opportunities leads you to open doors, because opportunity allows you to get into the place that God has assigned for you to be in and this will give you access to all open doors. Some of us may experience our open door right in the midst of our trials or it may come when we least expected. Whichever way we may gain opportunity, we have to be sensitive enough to know that it’s the will of God before we accept it, because not all opportunity or open doors means it’s of God.
Once more, opportunity produces open doors. As you accept an opportunity that is of God, you will find that it will lead you to major breakthrough and you will be able to produce unceasing fruits. Through open doors, we will gain financial blessings, good health, unceasing miracles, multiplication in gifts, salvation for love ones and ministry breakthrough. I want to say that in this time and season that you should get ready for some open doors from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Since this lesson deals with open doors, we will look carefully at Acts 16:16-28 and see how God can create open doors in the midst of our trials. Part one of this lesson will focus on the purpose of the book of Acts, the theme, who was Paul and Silas and get a little into the text, but will conclude this lesson next week has we get more in dept of the text.
Looking at the text we find that the book of Acts was written by Luke in 61-64 A.D. to the Acts of the Apostles. And Luke wrote this book while he was in Rome to the Romans. And the book of Acts theme is based on the history of preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God or to provide a history of the early church, but most importantly it shows us how our spiritual fathers/sisters were empowered by the Holy Spirit. And it is written with the purpose to tell us about the birth and building of the church, the eyewitness account of the spread of the gospel. Luke also shows us the fulfillment of Jesus’ words, “I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” Matthew 16:18.
As we read the book of Acts we will find that it emphasis is on the importance of the day of Pentecost and the Apostles being endowed with power to be effective witnesses for Jesus Christ. Acts records the apostles being Christ's witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the rest of the surrounding world. And in less than thirty-five years the gospel had reached cities from Jerusalem to Rome. And the book of Acts opens with the disciples in Jerusalem in the upper room.
And before Jesus ascended to heaven, He commanded His followers to make disciples of all nations in Luke 24:46-49. Therefore Luke begins Acts with a reiteration of that commission and description of how it would be carried out. And since the book of Acts emphases the works of the apostles we find that the book opens with instructing the disciples with the final commission by the Lord Jesus Christ to wait for the promise of the Holy Ghost which will give them the power to be witnesses in Acts 1:8 and that promise was fulfilled in Acts 2. By receiving this promise we find that the disciples were able to function effectively and with power and authority when they had preached the Gospel. And that is the reason it is called the Acts of the Apostles because it records or emphases the works of the apostles.
The Acts of the Apostles summarize the accomplishments of outstanding men. Note that the Acts of the Apostles records the acts of Peter in chapters 1-12 and of Paul in chapters 13-28. That’s why the record or story mentioned in the book of Acts shows the disciples fulfilling God’s work. Most of the book of Acts deals with the apostle Paul. And Paul’s first missionary journey had been about five years before the events of this chapter here in chapter 16, and Paul was eager to continue up the work of the Lord among these churches founded five years before.
Now bear in mind that prior to Paul’s missionary journey here in chapter 16, Paul had great success on his first missionary journey in Derbe in Acts 14:20-21. And it was on that same trip while they entered Lystra, a crowd had tried to honor Paul and Barnabas as pagan gods on the first missionary journey Acts 14:8-20 and then they stoned him (Acts 14:19)! So it is here in Acts 16 Paul and Silas had faced another incident.
This was their second missionary journey, here in Acts 16 Paul and Silas revisited and strengthened those churches in the faith they had previously founded during their first missionary work. Let us take a look at who Paul and Silas were since they are the ones in the text we are dealing with.
Who was Silas? He was a Roman citizen and a helper of Paul. The name "Silas" is a shortened form of "Silvanus", and the Silvanus whom Paul mentions in his writings to the Corinthians (2 C 1:19) and the Thessalonians (1 Th 1:1; 2 Th 1:1). Silvanus who carried the Apostle Peter's first letter (1 P 5:12) to its scattered recipients. He and Barnabas were chosen to accompany Paul to Antioch and deliver a letter which contained doctrinal instructions for the Gentiles there in Acts 15:22-30. This was Paul’s second missionary journey that he accompanied Paul. Silas who was also a close associate of the apostle Peter, did the actual writing of at least one of Peter's epistles in I-Peter 5:12. And we have no information of his family birth.
Now who was Paul? The apostle Paul was one of the most famous citizens of the Roman Empire and without question one of the most influential individuals in history. Saul was born around the same time as Christ. Now Saul was his Hebrew name and Paul was his Gentile name. The name ‘Saul’ means ‘little’ or ‘same’. And the Jewish law required a boy to start studying the scriptures at five years of age, with him taking on the full obligation of the law at 13. Once a boy reaches thirteen years old they receive their ‘bar-mitzvah’ and the girls receive their ‘bat-mitzvah’ between ages 12-18. So once Paul had reached thirteen years old, he was sent to Jerusalem for religious training He was trained under the highly renowned teacher Gamaliel, another Pharisee who was also a member of the Sanhedrin, the ruling council in Jerusalem in Acts 22:3. As a young man, Paul learned the trade of tent-making. Fourteen of the New Testament epistles have been attributed to the apostle Paul. Paul was actually born as Saul according to Acts 13:9. He was born in Tarsus in Cilicia around A.D. 1–5. Paul’s father was a Jew a Pharisee, of the tribe of Benjamin, of pure and unmixed Jewish blood according to Acts 23:6 and Phil. 3:5. We learn nothing regarding his mother. He had a sister and nephew in Acts 23:16. He had other relatives (Rom. 16:7, 11-12).
Now let’s get into the text.
In this text, we find that Paul and Silas, departed into the region of Macedonia according to the vision that God gave them to go to Macedonia and preach the gospel in v. 9-10. Immediately Paul, Silas, Timothy (v.1-3), and now also Luke who had joined them at Troas, firmly concluded God had called them to carry the message to Macedonia. However, Paul and Silas had wanted to go into other regions like (Asia v.6 and Bi-thyn-ia v. 7) but God had led them to Macedonia. Macedonia is a region of Greece and is the largest and second most populous Greek region or Europe in Acts 17:6-10.
Even though Paul was commissioned to carry the gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15; Eph. 3:1-12), it was his policy to begin his ministry among the Jews, usually at the local synagogue where the Old Testament was known and revered. When Paul and Silas arrived in Philippi, they expected great things to happen. After all, the Lord had clearly commanded them to go to that city, v. 6-12. His will was further revealed when Lydia and some others came to faith in the Lord, v. 13-15. As soon as the Lord started blessing, however, the devil began his work. But Paul and Silas were in the Lord’s will, doing the Lord’s work and still misfortune occurred in their lives. They found themselves in a place of misery.
When Paul and Silas were in Macedonia they met with the damsel who was possessed with a spirit of divination. The spirit of divination there is known as: A python, which was a divining spirit. Or Pytho was, according to fable, a huge serpent, that had an oracle at Mount Parnassus, famous for predicting future events; Apollo slew this serpent, and hence he was called Pythius, and became celebrated as the fore teller of future events; and all those, who could or pretended to predict future events, were influenced by the spirit of Apollo Pythius. It also could be a mythical serpent that was one of the names of the Grecian god of the fine arts, of music, poetry, medicine, and eloquence.
This particular cult was popular in Greece, especially in Corinth. This woman’s masters gained a lot of money through her and we are taught in the Old Testament that certain things we shouldn’t do. We find in Leviticus 19: 31Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.” Also Deuteronomy 18: 10There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. 11Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.
But she grieved Paul by saying these men are servants of the most high God. She was speaking the truth, but Paul was annoyed because the girl was being viewed as the source of truth, when she had a spirit of divination. So they had to cast out the spirit.
Now, Paul and Silas was preaching salvation, which the damsel acknowledged in verse 17 and ‘salivation’ there in Greek is ‘so-tay-ree'-ah’/ ‘sótéria’ and means, Welfare, Prosperity, Deliverance, Preservation, Safety. God's rescue which delivers believers out of destruction and into His safety. Notice that Paul and Silas were preaching the word of God and people were being saved which the young lady with the spirit of deviation came to them.
This leads us to Paul and Silas’ experiences which we will conclude next week. As you read and or study this lesson, I encourage you to focus on the doors that you want God to open for you and the opportunity that you have been seeking him for, and trust Him that HE will. There is an open door that God wants to open for you, but you must remain faithful and prayerful.