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Are you hearing the cry of the Lost? (Acts 15:36-16:10)

Acts: The Book of Mission, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Are you hearing the cry of the Lost? (Acts 15:36-16:10)

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Are you hearing the cry of the Lost?

Acts 15:36-16:10 (Pastor Heo)

Disagreement Between Paul and Barnabas

15:36 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, 38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. 39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

Timothy Joins Paul and Silas

16:1 He came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek. 2 The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. 3 Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4 As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.

Paul’s Vision of the Man of Macedonia

6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.


Antioch was not a parking lot for Paul, but a Launching Point. In Jerusalem, after his first missionary journey, there was a council that discussed whether a Gentile believer should be circumcised or not to be “saved.” Paul and Barnabas were there. After the conference, they returned to their home church at Antioch with wonderful news:

  • Gentiles are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, plus nothing.
  • Gentiles do not need circumcision nor any other Jewish traditions to be saved.

But they were asked to restrain themselves from 4 things:

  1. sexual immorality
  2. food sacrificed to idols
  3. meat of strangled animals
  4. blood

This was for the purpose of unity in diversity and diversity in unity.

They were joyous about this and Paul suggested they revisit the same churches they had previously visited to deliver this wonderful news.

v. 36

“36 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.””

Yes, Paul and Barnabas agreed on the importance of the next trip, but disagreed upon the selection of their team.

v. 37-41

“37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, 38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. 39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. “

Barnabas wanted to take John Mark (cousin or nephew) but Paul disagreed because he had left them in the middle of their first missionary journey (at Perga, Pamphylia).

They were both good, devoted Christians, but they were unable to solve their disagreement.

  • Paul focused on: God’s work – what can a man do for God’s work?
  • Barnabas focused on: God’s man – what can God’s work do for a man?

Yes, both of these are very important, but sometimes it is difficult to keep these things balanced.

[parak susmos] – parachism? (violent attack, conversion, eruption, explosion) 발작 (지랄)

Who was right? Who was wrong? BOTH were right in some things, BOTH were wrong in other things.

At this moment, they agreed to disagree.

We know their long-term personal relationship and story.

Long ago, when Paul first believed, the other Christians didn’t trust him, but Barnabas did and brought him with him to Tarsus to work together. They shared all things, victories, joys, abundant fruit, hardship, suffering.

They were soul brothers.

They may never have dreamed of being separated except by physical death, but now, they separated and each formed his own missionary team.

  • Barnabas + John Mark -> to Cyrus
  • Paul + Silas -> another place

The positive thing:

  1. Through man’s disagreement and failure, God made DOUBLE the missionary work.
  2. The purposes of God cannot be delayed or failed through man’s disagreements.
  3. If one man fails, another is put there in his place.

Even today, the BEST Christians do not always agreed. Even sometimes intensely disagree.

But what is important, is finally, our disagreements and differences should be forgiven, forgotten, reconciled someday.

These three, Paul, Barnabas, and John Mark, sometime later, forgave each other. This is the nature of a true Christian.

But from now, in the book of Acts, it focuses on Paul and his companions and their missionary journey.

v. 1-3

“16:1 He came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek. 2 The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. 3 Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.”

Paul went through Syria and Silicia, then Derbe, Lystra, and Iconium – the reverse of his first journey. These last three are where he was persecuted at the second half of his journey. In Lystra, he was stoned and left for dead, and now, this is the third time he journeys here – and risks his life – to encourage the believers there. He found Timothy there – possibly an eye-witness to Paul’s stoning, deeply affected by it.

  • Timothy’s mother (Eunice) was a good Christian, as he was. And his grandmother (Lois) was also a good Christian.
  • Timothy is the FIRST third-generation Christian mentioned in the NT. The faithfulness of his mother and grandmother prevailed, so we can see a beautiful lesson here: we need to treat our children – in our homes, in our care, as a “future Timothy.” So that’s why in some churches, Sunday school is called “Timothy school.”

Paul wanted him to join this ministry, but there was a problem: Timothy’s mother was a Jew, and his father was a Greek. At that time, if this kind of international marriage occurred, the family considered the two of them “as good as dead.” This kind of marriage was not accepted. So, Timothy was “technically” an illegitimate child. So, Paul circumcised him – NOT as a matter of salvation – but as a matter of effectiveness in ministry. This would remove the biggest barrier in his ministry.

Also, we must go beyond minimum requirements in order to help our audience receive our testimony. What personal sacrifices would you be willing to make for the sake of the gospel?

So, now Timothy is added to the group with Paul and Silas.

v. 4-5

“4 As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers. “

Remember, one of the new items on this missionary journey agenda was to share the message of the Jerusalem council: “You don’t need to adapt the Jewish lifestyle to be saved. You are saved by grace alone, through faith alone.” But a problem happened.

v. 6

“6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. “

There was a problem. For a time, all doors seemed closed to Paul. He wanted to preach the gospel, but God closed all the doors. Why? This seems very strange that Paul is prevented from preaching the gospel in Asia – by the Holy Spirit. WHY?

Phrygia and Galatia were part of much of Turkey. This “Asia” was what is now called “Asia Minor” (also Turkey).

Because he was blocked by the HS here, next he tried to go to another place: Mysia.

v. 7

“7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.”

Bithynia is very near the Black Sea today.

Because he was hindered in this area, he moved to another place, and another place. But the Holy Spirit again did not allow them to go there. The HS had shut the door now multiple times. Paul must have wondered: “Which geographic direction should I take?”

We don’t know how he was instructed to go to Asia, but God called them to Macedonia. Even today, it is very difficult to know the will of God for you. To know the will of God is the BEST knowledge we can get in this world. HOW can we know the will of God? This doesn’t mean we must hear an audible voice because God leads in various ways. We must be sure of these things:

  1. Your plan is in harmony with the Word of God
  2. Get help from mature Christians
  3. Check your motivation, hidden motives (“Am I seeking what Iwant or what God wants)
  4. Pray that God will open and close the doors as he desires
  5. The BASIC direction = the Bible

Basically, fundamentally, the Bible, the Word of God shows the will of God to us. It is very important for us to learn what God wants us to do and not do; where God wants us to go and not go. So, we need to pray to God in all our steps and all our stops.

“All your steps; all your stops.”

In this moment, Paul was not just sitting around waiting for a light or a voice. Before he began this work, he was plowing until God told him to stop – he was hindered here, and hindered there. Then he tried to go to another place (Troas) – and there God opened the door.

The next few verses are a very important turning point in Christian history.

v. 8-10

“8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. “

This passage is called “Paul’s Macedonian Vision at Troas.” This means: “go as far as Europe.”

Where is Macedonia today? Greece (the northern part).

Paul planned to go east in Asia, but God led him west to Europe. This means that Europe was crying for help – the people needed the gospel of Christ.

In church history, through Paul’s second missionary journey, the churches were planted and cultivated in Europe:

Phillip, Thesalonica, etc

Alexander had moved from west to east to conquer the world with everything Greek. Now, Paul is moving from east to west to conquer the world for Christ.

This is the first step of Christian missionaries into Europe.

Now, see here that the Trinity God is at work:

  1. The HS prevented them
  2. The Spirit of Jesus didn’t allow them
  3. God called them

The three-in-One called them.

This is a great turning point in church history.

v. 10 shows the first appearance of “we” in the book of Acts – this is a major turning point.

v. 10

“10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. “

This is the FIRST appearance of “us” here – this means the author (Luke) joined the missionary team here.

The team consisted now of 4 men:

  1. Paul
  2. Silas
  3. Timothy
  4. Luke

And they set out for Europe. They got ready “at once” – as soon as Paul saw the vision.

Paul saw a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and calling:

“Come over to us! Help us!”

The four men prepared immediately to head out.

How about you? Are you ready NOW, immediately, to do the vision God has for you?

All members of this missionary team agreed that God was calling them to Europe. Usually, nothing makes a person so strong as hearing a voice crying out, “Help me! Help us!”

Perhaps you’re walking along the road, so exhausted, ready for bed, but you hear a voice: “Help me! Someone is dying!” If you hear this voice, you will forget your tiredness in order to become strong to help others (actually, people have been able to lift CARS off of people in this kind of situation).

If you hear this miserable, desperate cry of the lost, you will go immediately as well. In this world, so many souls are crying out, “Help me!” If your spiritual ears are open, you will hear. God bless us all to hear this desperate cry.

If you can hear this cry, you are blessed in God’s plan of world evangelization.

God bless you.

Let’s pray.

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So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Listen
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