In Search of Guidance
Topic: Sent Passage: Acts 16:6–16:10
A Recap of Sunday's Sermon
Preaching text: Acts 16:6-10
It's very common to hear someone claim "the Lord told me," but such people often neglect to explain how that works.
Acts 16:10-16 recounts a specific experience of divine guidance that happened early in the Apostle Paul's 2nd missionary journey. He and his companions had decided to go through the regin around Galatia and strengthen the churches started during his 1st mission. They wanted to go into the Roman province called Asia (Western Turkey) but the text tells us that "the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them." Right away, we see an important truth that is still the case today.
The Spirit of Jesus is always guiding his people.
However, in Numbers 12:6 and 1 Corinthians 13:12, we see that God often chooses to communicate in somewhat obscured messages. Still, he does communicate and guide us. We can learn several things from the example of Paul.
1. The Holy Spirit's guidance is not only negative, but also positive. In my experience, it is rare that he will prohibit me without also showing me an alternative path. To Paul he says, "no" to Asia, but "yes" to Macedonia.
2. Divine guidance is not only circumstantial but also rational. God expects us to use our reasoning abilities to make sense of circumstances. They "concluded" that Paul's vision was an open door.
3. Discerning the Spirit's guidance is not only individual, but also corporate. The text tells us that "they" (plural) concluded what to do. Paul shared what he was experiencing with others before making a decision.
We should all expect to receive guidance and then obey it!
Taking It Home:
Discuss with your household how the Holy Spirit has guided you in the past and what he might be saying to you in your current situation.