Obedience

Paul’s Obedience to the Macedonian Call

February 7, 2014

Obedience is the first and critical principle in the Christian faith. Hebrews 11:6 states “…for he that cometh to God must believe that he is…”. This principle is at the core of every part of the faith. From salvation, to growing in grace, to success in the Christian life, all of it begins with obedience.

Paul was an Obedient Servant

Paul was an excellent servant of God. He knew all about the importance of obedience, and exercised it in his daily life without question. He demonstrated his commitment to God while on his missionary journey to Asia Minor…

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

In verses 6 and 7, we find that Paul (and his team) did not obey their own will. They were “forbidden of the Holy Ghost” in verse 6, and the “Spirit suffered them not” in verse 7. They had intentions to preach in those areas, but they obeyed the Lord, and passed on by into Troas.

What if Paul had followed his own will, and gone into Asia (Minor)? The spread of Christianity might look like this today…

Acts 16 Gospel Spreading Map (possible if disobeyed)

But because he obeyed the Lord’s Macedonian call, the spread of Christianity looks more like this…

Acts 16 Gospel Spreading Map

(Jesus speaking to his disciples) Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
John 4:34

I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
John 5:30

For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
John 6:38

(Jesus in the Garden) And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
Matthew 26:39

Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Philippians 2:4-8

Do you think our Lord thought it would be fun to get up there on the cross? Do you think he was really happy, giddy and just wanted to be up there? No, but because of his love for the father, and because of the father’s love for us, he humbled himself, made himself low, and submitted to the father, and died in our stead.

God Requires Believers to be Living Sacrifices

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Romans 12:1

He expects believers to sacrifice what they want to do in life, for what he wants them to do. Believers cannot do anything for God, until they give up their own will. Paul and the men that were with him in Acts 16 gave up their own will and obeyed the Lord, knowing that there were people in those places that needed to hear the word of God.

Paul Had a Vision

And 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.
And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia,
Acts 16:9-10a

He saw the great need that the people in Macedonia had, and he immediately followed the Lord there. The question might be asked, do you have a vision?

But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
Matthew 9:36

Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
John 4:35

No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.
The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.
Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.
If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.
Luke 11:33-36

Do you have any vision at all? How about a dim vision?

And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him.
And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.
And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.
After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.
Mark 8:22-25

Maybe you need the Lord to restore your vision for lost souls. Or perhaps, you have no vision because you have not yet been saved…

Paul and his company had a vision for those who did not know the Lord.

Paul and his Team had a Calling

And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.
Acts 16:10

What an amazing call they had. It’s amazing to think that God would call his children to preach his word to the lost.

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Mark 16:15

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Mat 28:18-19

Did you know that God wants you to know what that calling is?!

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
Ephesians 1:17-18

But it takes a little seeking, perhaps a little volunteering to get there.

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13-14

Every Christian has a Calling

Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.
I Corinthians 7:20

If you don’t find God’s will, his specific calling…you are just like a wandering bird.

As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.
Proverbs 27:8

Only 3 different encounters are recorded in Acts 16 when they went into Philippi.

  1. Lydia was saved. (Acts 16:14)
  2. An Unnamed possessed damsel was healed. (Acts 16:16, 18)
  3. The Philippian jailer and his household were saved. (Acts 16:25-34)

Later we find an entire church came out of that, and a whole book of the Bible.

So where do you stand with God?

Have you been obedient to the faith?

Do you know Christ as your Lord and savior? (If not, click here to learn more.)

Do you have a vision for lost souls?

Do you know what your calling is?

Please leave a comment below. We would love to hear what you think!

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