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Devotional - week of June 24, 2007


FORBIDDEN BY THE SPIRIT TO PREACH

 

Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them.  Acts 16:6-7

 

 

Paul and Silas were visiting churches established by Paul and Barnabas while they were on an earlier missionary journey. When they were in the place that is now called Turkey, they wanted to evangelize in an area called Asia. They were forbidden or prohibited by the Spirit to do so. Then they wanted to evangelize in a place known as Bithynia. The Holy Spirit would not let them evangelize there either.

 

This forbidding action by the Holy Spirit was not an indication that God was finished with Paul and Silas. God wanted them to evangelize elsewhere.

 

He guided them westward to a city called Troas on the Aegean Sea. There is no evidence that they preached the gospel there. Just across the Aegean Sea was Europe. Europe was the place God wanted Paul and Silas to preach the gospel.

 

Do such things like this happen in our day? They surely do! The message of Acts 16:6-7 is that God’s children must serve under the strict leadership of the Holy Spirit.

 

There are many stories concerning men of God which prove the truth of the lesson of Acts 16:6-7. For example, a seminary professor resigned his teaching position to become the pastor of a church. His testimony is that in a matter of weeks he realized he had made a mistake. He resigned his preaching position and returned to the seminary. He gave many more years of distinguished service to the Kingdom of God in his teaching position.

 

In 2 Corinthians 10:13-16 Paul writes about his “sphere” of service. By this he means having a ministry that is under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. To be effective in the work of the Kingdom one must serve in his sphere of service.

 

When a child of God walks in the Spirit, he will always be in his sphere of service. God will have an effective and fruitful ministry through him as he continues to walk in the Spirit.