Archive for September 10th, 2021

You Can’t Steer A Parked Car

Friday, September 10th, 2021

You Can’t Steer A Parked Car

Pastor Don Carpenter

The Gospel On Tour / Acts 16:6–10

When I was 15, my dad started to teach me how to drive. We had a 1975 Honda Civic CVCC with manual choke, manual transmission, and rack and pinion steering. I remember when I first sat at the wheel I tried to move the steering wheel and found it to be very hard to turn. My dad said, “Donald, you have to wait until we are moving.” You can’t steer a parked car, it puts too much strain on the parts underneath. The wheel will turn just fine once you learn how to get the car moving in the first place”. Of course, then the slow and agonizing process of trying to teach 15 year old me how to manipulate the clutch, gas and brakes in order to get the car moving began.

I learned an interesting lesson that day on Mennel Road in Grafton Township, Ohio. Our lives are best directed by God when we are already moving somewhere. Tonight we are going to begin to study Paul’s Second Missionary journey. A lot has happened since they had returned to their sending church in Antioch. Bible Scholars believe that during this time, Paul wrote his letter to the Churches at Galatia. This was also when leaders from many churches gathered in Jerusalem to discuss whether or not Circumcision should be required for Gentile believers. Paul and Barnabas were called as witnesses to how folks were getting saved by grace through faith across cultural boundaries. After a consensus on doctrine was had, Paul and Barnabas had a huge dispute about whether or not to take John Mark, a defector from the first Missionary Journey, with them for the second journey. Paul was adamantly opposed to the idea. The argument was so strong, Barnabas took John Mark in one direction, and Paul took Silas in another. 

So in Acts 16, we find Paul and Silas at the beginning of the Second Missionary Journey. Today we will see that they are not content for direction to fall out of the sky, but instead they are going to get moving doing something, because you can’t steer a parked car.

Revelation 3:7 KJV

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;

Disciple Someone

2 Timothy 2:2 KJV

And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

Acts 16:1–3 KJV

Then 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: 

Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. 

Him 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.

 • Timotheus had a diverse background. One from Paul’s past, one from his future. His mom was a believing Jew and his father was a Greek.

 • Timothy had a good reputation among the believers at Lystra and Iconium.

 • Paul Took Timothy under his wing, circumcising him to remove stumbling block as they tried to reach some that were Jews.

1 Corinthians 9:20 KJV

And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;

Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, probably as a helper as Mark had been. There was a problem, however. The Jews to whom Paul would be preaching the gospel would be offended if a man with a Jewish mother was uncircumcised. So Timothy was circumcised. Apparently he had been uncircumcised because of his father’s influence.

This appears to contradict Paul’s thinking in Galatians 2:3–5 where he refused to let Titus be circumcised. The situations, however, were different. In Galatians 2 the issue was the method of justification; here it was a question of not giving offense (cf. 1 Cor. 9:19–23). The Jerusalem Council, of course, had determined circumcision was not necessary for salvation (Acts 15:10–11, 19). In Acts 16 Paul acted as he did for the sake of the ministry; it was a wise move.1

1 Stanley D. Toussaint, “Acts,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 398.

Strengthen Ministries that Were Already Started

Acts 16:4–5 KJV

And 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. 

And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.

 • Delivered decrees – the doctrine taught at the Jerusalem counsel.

Acts 15:19–20 KJV

Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: 

But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

Acts 15:29 KJV

That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.

 • Churches were established in the faith

 • Churches increased in number every day.

Search For Open Doors For Ministry

Acts 16:6–7 KJV

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.

 • They were on the move when the Holy Ghost stopped them from going into Asia

 • They were stopped from going into Bithynia

 • They kept moving down to Troas

Finally, at Troas, a seaport city on the Aegean Sea near the ancient site of Troy, God gave positive direction by means of a night … vision to Paul. Macedonia was a Roman senatorial province, corresponding roughly to northern Greece today.1

1 Stanley D. Toussaint, “Acts,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 398.

Acts 16:8–10 KJV

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.

 • God gave a clear direction through a dream of someone from Macedonia asking for help.

 • They went toward Macedonia because they believed the Lord was calling them there. Note Paul and Silas had the what of the call before they had the where.

Christian, if thou wouldst know the path of duty, take God for thy compass; if thou wouldst steer thy ship through the dark billows, put the tiller into the hand of the Almighty.

Many a rock might be escaped, if we would let our Father take the helm; many a shoal or quicksand we might well avoid, if we would leave to his sovereign will to choose and to command. The Puritan said, “As sure as ever a Christian carves for himself, he’ll cut his own fingers;” this is a great truth. Said another old divine, “He that goes before the cloud of God’s providence goes on a fool’s errand;” and so he does.

Charles Surgeon

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 12:33 PM September 10, 2021.