Submission to who?

Submission to who?

Passage: Acts 16
Service Type:

Intro: Stark Raving Obedience

This is Paul’s 2nd missionary journey.

We start off with the introduction of Timothy. His mother was a Jew and his father was a Greek. 

The people spoke well of him.

A good name is better than gold.

They circumcised him for the benefit of others and brought the message from the council meeting to the churches.

6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas.

When it says, “Kept by the Spirit”, or “the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them..”

What does that actually look like? 

Maybe a Border closed. Bad weather. Sickness, lack of funds, just a sense, etc.

Was it God or the enemy? Discernment.

How to we get better spiritual discernment?

Spiritual discernment comes through submission:

1. God’s word 2. God’s will 3. God’s people

Now a feature of a man’s maturity is responsibility toward other people, toward existing orders. He must let himself be controlled, ordered, restricted.

~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

A government that doesn’t acknowledge God sets itself up as the ultimate Authority and no longer submits to anything or anyone. In this way, it claims to know what’s best and ultimately names itself as God.

This is exactly what Hitler did. Power for the sake of power.

Blessed are the meek,

    for they will inherit the earth.

Matthew 5:5

meek – submissive 


1. The righteous voluntarily submit to the hand of God.

Biblically – “used to the hand” and peacefully so. 

Bridled power.

an unbroken horse (useless)

“Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. 

Psalm 32:9

team of horses (calm and useful)

A horse can only win a race if he is bridled and broken.

God doesn’t give us character. He gives us invitation to be transformed.

Benefits of Submitting to Christ: Moving from curse to blessing.

…from frustration to satisfaction

grumbling to contentment 

worry to confidence

jealousy to trust

cynicism to faith

chaos to order

rage to self-control

9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

Paul’s obedience to the Spirit of God led them to Macedonia and they started the church at Philippi…

They met a female slave who could tell the future because she had an evil spirit. Paul cast the demon out and she could no longer tell the future. 

19 When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”

The reason – advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice

and the real reason – their hope of making money was gone

What were they submitting to?

FEAR of loosing what they had. (Money and Fame) 

2. The wicked voluntarily summit to fear.

“The wicked flee when no one pursues, 

but the righteous are bold as a lion.”

Proverbs 28:1

You might see wicked people who seem confident, and they might not fear God, but they are motivated by fear.

The fruit of FEAR: 

frustration, worry, jealousy, cynicism, lying, chaos, and rage.

You can even identify FEAR working in your own life when you see these fruits.

In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

2 Timothy 3:12-13

In our story, the people dragged Paul and Silas to the magistrates who threw them in jail. About midnight, they were singing hymns and praying. 

We can see these men acting out the fruits of the submission: 

satisfaction, contentment, confidence, trust, faith, joy, and self-control.

 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

They had confidence not to run but to continue submitting to the hand of God.

At this point, Paul lead the jailer and his whole family to Christ and they were baptized.

35 When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: “Release those men.” 36 The jailer told Paul, “The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace.”

37 But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.” 38 The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. 39 They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city. 

Christians are not called to passively do nothing.

When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted. 

Psalm 138:3 

3. To have Jesus is to have courage.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13

Benefits of Submitting to Christ: Moving from curse to blessing.

…from frustration to satisfaction

grumbling to contentment 

worry to confidence

jealousy to trust

cynicism to faith

chaos to order

rage to self-control

Doesn’t that sound like a great way to live?

Renounce fear every time you see its fruit.

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