The church strengthening journey continues and Paul and team travel through Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. Modern day Turkey, Asia was a Roman province and home to the great city of Ephesus. Perhaps this was where Paul first intended to go, but the timing was not God’s. Instead, second choice was Bithynia but again the Spirt did not allow them. Third choice, then, was Troas and it looks like they picked up quite an important team member there:
“A vision appeared to Paul during the night: A Macedonian man was standing there urging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!”
After Paul saw the vision, we attempted immediately to go over to Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.”
(Acts 16.9-10, NET, emphasis added)
Notice with me that as the group is now in Troas (v.8), it’s referred to as we and us. It seems that the writer of Acts (Luke by all internal evidence) joined the group in Troas. Maybe, then, some providential purpose was behind their not going to Ephesus or Bithynia?
Seeing a vision of a Macedonian man asking for help, the conclusion is that the Gospel needs to be proclaimed there. All too often we are keen to help many people in many ways, which is good, but there is no explicit Gospel-teaching going on at the same time. The biggest help we can give people is to proclaim to them the truths of the Gospel from the pages of Scripture. No doubt the Macedonians benefited in many ways from Paul’s party arriving and ministering to them, but the biggest help to be given to them was the proclamation of the Gospel.
The same is true today for you and for me. The biggest and most impactful way we can help those that God has called us to is to proclaim to them, with words and deeds, the truths of the Gospel from the pages of Scripture. Help in many ways, sure, but be sure to bring everything back to the grandest possible help available: the Gospel of Jesus Christ.