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Acts of the Apostles

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Acts Chapter 16

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Acts 16

1Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: 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:
2Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium.
3Him 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.

Why did Paul circumcise Timotheus? Was it necessary for his spirituality or right standing with God? No! It was because of the Jews! They knew his father was a Greek so they would be looking for trouble. This avoided the trouble and would allow them to minister in some semblance of peace.

1 Corinthians 9:20 "And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews."

Acts 16
4And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.
5And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.

They delivered the new law of the Gentiles from the Jerusalem council in Acts 15. This was not so much for the Gentiles to follow, but for the believing Jews not to impose any other law upon the Gentiles. Again we see the clue that the churches assembled together daily. How do they know the number increased daily unless the assembly was growing daily?

Acts 16
6Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,
7After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.
8And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.
9And 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.
10And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavored to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.

Luke the writer of Acts and the Gospel of Luke and is now joined with Paul at Troas. How do we know this? Well look at the text, before going to Troas Luke uses "they" referring to Paul and after Troas he uses "we".

Acts 16
11Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis;
12And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days.
13And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.
14And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.
15And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.

An amazing assumption is made, and quite a leap really, that verse 15 is where the doctrine of infant baptism and household salvation comes by the faith of the patriarch or matriarch has its roots. No where does it say that in this verse. It was obvious Lydia's household was present at the teaching of Paul, otherwise they could not have been baptized. With that said baptism is not salvation, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the only means of salvation.

Acts 16
16And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:
17The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.
18And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.

Can you imagine Paul trying to preach and having this damsel or young woman following them around crying, "These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation."

How many of us would tolerate "crazy", all the while in reality we are tolerating an evil spirit? Paul was "grieved" or aggravated, and commanded that spirit to come out of her. Now Paul had to have had compassion on this young woman to loose her from the oppression of this evil spirit. Obviously she was bound to men who would use her for profit.

"I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." No long prayer and babble - just direct and to the point. Simple really.

Acts 16
19And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,
20And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,
21And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.
22And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.
23And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:
24Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
25And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
26And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.

Now I can understand an earthquake opening doors. That could be explained away as a natural occurrence resulting from the earthquake, but not the loosing of the bands. This was the hand of God himself loosing Paul and Silas from their prison while they were wounded and worshipping. Here is again a similar miracle parallel to that of Peter's miraculous deliverance from the Jerusalem prison.

Acts 16
27And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.
28But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.
29Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,
30And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
31And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
32And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.

Now the jailer did not just shake his head trembling in belief of Jesus. Paul "spake unto him the word of the Lord and to all that were in his house". This is the key! A person cannot have faith if you do not know what you have faith in. You have to know what it is you believe, before you can believe!

Acts 16
33And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.
34And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.
35And when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, Let those men go.
36And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and go in peace.
37But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out.
38And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans.
39And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city.
40And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.


Roman citizens had rights and privileges of Roman laws and due process. Paul and Silas both must have been Roman citizens. At some point during this ordeal, Luke had returned to Troas, because the first person account ceases. We will pick him up later again in Acts 20.

Acts 16:31 "and thy house"

Paul was not saying if the jailer believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, his household would also be saved through the jailer's faith. No! Salvation was offered to the jailer and to his household to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. The jailer's household also believed! Every individual who would be saved must have faith for and of themselves in the Lord Jesus Christ. No one can have faith to save another. Each individual is responsible and accountable for their own souls. Even the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself as a sacrifice for us, cannot impute that righteousness on a faithless individual. You must have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved.