June 17, 2018
I Will Build My Church: Paul’s Missionary Encounters
Paul’s second missionary journey almost never happened. Acts 15:36-41 records a dispute he had with his fellow worker, Barnabas, over whether to take John Mark with them again. Their conflict was so intense that they decided to go their separate ways. What could have been a disaster, however, still worked out for God, as Paul took Silas and Timothy with him, taking the Gospel all the way to Macedonia and Achaia (Greece).
Paul had many important encounters while on his second missionary journey. He had a vision of a man from Macedonia, urging him to come to that region to preach the Gospel. On the way, he met a woman named Lydia who was a worshiper of God, but hadn’t heard about Jesus. When Paul preached the Gospel to her, she believed and her whole household was baptized. In that same town, Paul was being harassed by a demon-possessed slave girl who was able to tell the future. When he cast the demon out of her, she lost her powers, and her owners were no longer able to make money off of her suffering. So Paul and Silas were thrown in prison, but even there they were able to witness to a man and lead him to Christ.
Paul’s second missionary journey shows us four truths that we can hold onto at all times. First, God is building his church! Jesus says in John 5:17, “My Father is always at his work, to this very day, and I too am working.” We see that this is true even after Jesus has ascended to the Father’s side! Second, God is God and we are not. God leads, and we follow and obey. Third, our comfort is not God’s first priority. He is building his church, and that means hard work for us! Finally, God is still doing great things through those who will trust him.