Acts 16:1-10  When God says No


One of the most DISCOURAGING words in the English language is the word No!!/ most of the time we don’t like to Hear it

A.)Kids hate it – mommy ice cream – NO!

Taking  Little kids to store can be real trial { they want everything! NO!!


B.) A Young man expresses heart to young woman – asks if she feels the same    way – she says   no – heartbreaking{ No is a Hard word to hear!


C.)And it doesn’t get any easier in the Christian life because – we can approach God about things –

  A dream / a desire/ A hope / Make a request

1)He too will at times answer no


D.) Been said God answers our prayers in 3 ways / yes rejoice. 


E)Wait Ok  still hope – often the waiting answer is jus met by silence

1) We want direction  go?  Silence.  He is saying wait – stand still

That is hard but I can deal with it


But The toughest ANSWER is when God says no

A)In our text this morning we are going to see where God says No to the Apostle Paul.


B)How did Paul react to that news – what did he do?

1) We will also look at another great man of God – that God said no to and see what we can learn from his situation.

                     RD V.1-5


So Paul and Silas head off to Visit the Churches that Paul and Barnabas planted on their first missionary Journey.

A)The first place he goes is to Lystra – this is the place where Paul was stoned and left for dead – revived – Goes back into the city.


B)Five years have passed. Upon his return to the people who had stoned him,

1)Paul discovered that his ministry “took” in a young man of real promise named Timothy.


C)Timothy would become a special young man in Paul’s life. Six times, in six different epistles.

1) Paul referred to Timothy as “my son in the faith.”


D)If you’re older in the faith, one of the greatest joys you’ll ever have is that of investing yourself in a younger person. Son or daughter in the faith.


Now I am sure there are some of you who are scratching your heads over v.3 – Paul had Timothy circumcised.

A)Didn’t we just see in Ch. 15 Paul making a big deal of this in Antioch – no need for the Gentiles to be circumcised  - Council at Jerusalem.

B)Why is Paul doing this now – is he caving in ? Compromising. ? No not at all


C)See notice the text again closely – v.1 tells us that Timothy’s mom was a Jew and v1 tells us that his father was a greek.

1)Obviously in this area of their family life – Dad won out – My son doesn’t need to be circumcised. – Was not the practice of the greeks.


D)But now Timothy was going on the road with Paul – they would be going into cities – going into Jewish synagogues – Timothy’s dad was well known.

1)The Jews would want to Know – He is ½ Jewish is he circumcised?


E) Paul didn’t want Timothy to be a stumbling block to the very people he sought to win!

1)It was a matter of sensitivity.


Paul’s Philosophy of ministry is stated in

1 Corinthians 9: 19-22

“For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law(not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”

Timothy went along with that Philosophy – for the sake of the Kingdom. – But he didn’t have to.

Aa)He could have said – Circumcision – I will pass- stay here in Lystra.


B)Timothy could have had a ministry in Lystra – he was well respected in Lystra and Iconium – could have just stayed


C)The people in those cities were mostly Gentile they could care less if he was circumcised or not –

1)Timothy sacrificed for the sake of the Kingdom – Big Sacrifice.


C) What about you and me – Are we willing to sacrifice for the sake of the Kingdom –

1) Good question to ponder today!


Pick up the story in v.6 -

6 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.

A)When Paul finished his ministry in Galatia, he decided to go south and minister in Asia (not the continent of Asia, but a small province called Asia, where Ephesus was located).


B)Ephesus was the chief city of the province of Asia. Reach Ephesus major impact on the region - smart


Note: Paul had a GREAT VISION for Asia Minor. BUT - The Spirit of God had something else in mind.

A)We are told that Paul was forbidden by the Holy to preach the Word down in Asia.


B)That is really amazing, isn't it? Interesting statement –1)Paul was called to go preach – take the Gospel all over the world – reach as many people as Possible –


C)He is trying to go to this city that needs Jesus

1)But he was forbidden by the HS to do what He was called to do! –  Seems Weird. 


D)But the HS knew that Ephesus wasn’t ready to hear that message Yet.

1)See when we get to Ch.19 God did some things to prepare them.


Specifically how did the Holy Spirit restrain Paul? A)Not told – but here are some ideas – what God does with us.


B)Loss of peace? Did He lose his peace

1) He couldn’t move forward because no peace – He knew –he would be fighting God if he went.


C)Maybe it was a lack of provision. –

1)He couldn’t move forward in that direction because of Cost. God guides he provides


D) A Prophetic word?

I think also Possible that it was illness,

A)The reason that I think that is  because Luke, a physician, joined them right after this time, as is shown in verse 10


B)Notice that the narrative changes from they to we in v.10 when Luke changes the narrative from “they” to “we.”


C)At this point The story is no longer told in the third person but in the first person. 

1)That tells us that Luke was there, an eye-witness and a companion of Paul.


D)In 17:1 it changes from we back to they suggesting that Luke may have stayed in Philipi to minister at the new fellowship.

1)Then in Ch 20:5 it reverts back to we – and that happens again in Ch.27:1-28:16


E)Three different occasions where Luke all of a sudden joins the team.



QUESTION: Why should Luke emerge so suddenly on the scene?    Luke was a doctor.

A)It seems very likely that he met Paul then because Paul needed his professional services, Paul got sick


B)That could have been the means by which the HS forbade Paul to move forward.

C)Whatever the case – we see God saying No to the great Apostle Paul

1)forbidding him to go in the direction that was really on his heart. What did Paul do? Quit Sulk – angry?


D)What do you do when God says no – how react – how affect your walk with God.


Before we see what Paul did – lets turn now to

1 Chronicles 17 and see how another great man of God – handled God saying No to him.

A)That man was David – King in Israel for about 10 yrs by this time –  


B)David was UNIQUELY  given this title by God: David is a man after my own heart. –


C)Doesn’t get any better than that – But to this man after his own heart – God said no


David was about 40yrs old he had been reigning in Israel about 10 yrs.

A)He had ESTABLISHED his kingdom, SUBDUED his enemies, and PROSPERED materially in that he constructed a glorious palace.


B)David was not partying in this palace, he was FELLOWSHIPPING with a prophet named Nathan


C)As they were talking, David came up with an idea

As David sat in his palace with Nathan, his heart and mind raced outside to where the Ark of the Covenant was sitting in a tent.

A)David desired to build a house for the Ark of the Covenant unto the Lord


VERSE 2  Go for it David... That’s a great burden”


B)NOTE: Nathan was a PROHET of God and He spoke on behalf of the Lord     for God is with you

1)Any man of God... Any prophet of God, is still a man


C)As anointed and gifted as Nathan was, he was still a man. And here we see his humanity.... his fallability.


D)He spoke in his own wisdom... in his own energy.

But he was WRONG




The Lord said: “David, you CAN’T build Me a house”

A)But then the Lord went on to do something that is so characteristic of Him.


B)The disappointment that David experienced was tempered with a new appointment.

1)“You CAN’T build Me a house, but I’ll build YOU a house.”



C)And then He gave the promise that there would come a descendant of  David that would rule forever.

1)This is a promise of the coming of Messiah


D)God was going to allow David’s Son Solomon to build a physical house

1)But God was going to build a Spiritual house – the Body of Christ – Thru David’s descendant Jesus


Perhaps YOU are confused as to why the Lord is saying “NO” to you.

A)“Lord, I’ve offered myself to You to serve. Why have you closed the door? Why can’t I serve?”


B)“Lord, I wanted to adopt that child. Why have you closed the door?”


C)“Lord. I wanted to start that buisness so that I could give money to Your work.

1)Why did you allow it to go bankrupt?”


D)“Lord, I wanted to marry him and be an assistant to him in the calling that you have upon him.

1)Why hasn’t that relationshipped developed?”


It is in those times that we need to be careful because when God shuts doors and says no -we can become vulnerable to becoming bitter.

A)What did David do when God said “NO”.

1 Chronicles 17:16  And David the king went and sat before the LORD

He did NOT stomp out and say: “FINE... GREAT... See if I ever offer to build You a Temple again.”

1.) When God says “NO” to you, sit down, don’t stomp out


A)David could have become very hurt because this door didn’t open. “God didn’t APPRECIATE my offer.”


B)But rather than respond like that and stomp out or stand up in defiance, or crumple in despair before the Lord we are told that David sat down before the Lord


C)Bridget Salas – 24 hr rule


NOTE: Because David sat down before the Lord he was given enlightenment.

1 Chronicles 22:7-8 

7 And David said to Solomon: "My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build a house to the name of the Lord my God; 8 but the word of the Lord came to me, saying,'You have shed much blood and have made great wars; you shall not build a house for My name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in My sight.


The Lord did NOT initially give David the reason.

A)But as David was quiet before the Lord the Lord gave David insight into WHY He said “NO”.


B)Man of war and Blood Shed – House of Peace ….

Built by Solomon a man of Peace.

As You sit down – God will enlighten you – help you see what you are missing – see the situation from a different perspective – from his perspective.

A)NOTE: Because David sat down before the Lord he was given ENCOURAGEMENT.


2 Chronicles 6:8 God speaks to David – about his desire to build God a House

God says the desire of your heart was good – your heart was in the right place.”                         


B)Man refers to that structure as “Solomon’s Temple”. But God looked at it as “David’s”.

1)David din’t do the actual building, but it was in his heart.


C)It is what is in your heart that counts.


1.) David Sat before the Lord.


2.) When the Lord says “NO” we should focus in on the blessing rather than freaking out on the disappointment

A)Some people perpetually freak out over the disappointment and fail to see the OBVIOUS blessings.


B)In David’s case, the Lord said: “You can NOT build me a house, BUT I will build YOU a house.

From your loins will come the Messiah. You will be the ancestor of the anointed One.... My Son.”


C) What did David say as he sat before the Lord?

1 Chronicles 17:16

“Then King David went in and sat before the Lord; and he said: "Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far?”




1 Chronicles 17:18-20

What more can David say to You for the honor of Your servant? For You know Your servant. 19 O Lord, for Your servant's sake, and according to Your own heart, You have done all this greatness, in making known all these great things. 20 O Lord, there is none like You, nor is there any God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears.



NOTE: David is NOT freaking out over his disappointment, but he is focusing in on the blessing

A)APPLICATION: When the Lord says “NO” to you and me, we should immediately get our eyes OFF of the disappointment and get them on to the blessings of God


B)Starting with the fact – You are Saved – not going to hell! - RELATIONSHIP – INHERITANCE – destiny

1)You have a Job – a family that loves you. –

Friends that are believers - Not starving –


C)Life is not as easy as it once was – but it could be a lot worse!

1)Church family that loves you – stand by you.


REALITY: IF God NEVER answers a prayer in the affirmative.... or NEVER opens a door that you desire to walk through....

A)IF God NEVER blesses you in any other way....


 B)You and I should be CONTINUALLY sitting before God blessed and blown away for what He has already done.


C)Given us already way more than we deserve



3.) When the Lord says “NO” we should pray in the promises, don’t pout

A)AFTER he was blessing the Lord for what the Lord had promised to do, David begins to pray


1 Chronicles 17:24-27

24 So let it be established, that Your name may be magnified forever, saying, 'The Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, is Israel's God.' And let the house of Your servant David be established before You. 25 For You, O my God, have revealed to Your servant that You will build him a house. Therefore Your servant has found it in his heart to pray before You. 26 And now, Lord, You are God, and have promised this goodness to Your servant. 27 Now You have been pleased to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue before You forever; for You have blessed it, O Lord, and it shall be blessed forever."    


NOTE: Don’t pout when God says “NO” or doesn’t seem to responding as you had expected or desired.

A)Instead, take the promises that God has given you & say: “Lord, on the basis of Your promises I am going to pray”


B)EXAMPLE: You are financially wiped out. Things did NOT go the way you had expected.

Instead of pouting pray in the promise of God that says: Philippians  4:19  But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.


EXAMPLE: You are desiring to be married and you have just experienced a heartbreaking disappointment. Instead of pouting you can go to the promise of God that says: Psalm  37:4  Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give you  the desires of your heart.


EXAMPLE: You are lacking peace. Instead of pouting over a beer or a drug you can pray in the promise of God that says: Isaiah 26: 3 You will keep him in perfect peace,whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.


There are over 4,000 promises in this Book. A)You can chose to POUT or you can chose to PRAY in the things that God has promised to you.


B)That is what David Chose to do.


4.) Rather than complaining about what couldn’t do he did what he could do.

A)David could not build the Temple. But he saw what he could do.


He gathered financial resources – he gathered timber – He gathered gold and silver – he met with architects and had plans drawn up.


B)NOTE: David did NOT say: “Why even do anything? God seems to always pass me by so if I can’t do this or that then I might as well do nothing.


C)The heart of David said: “I CAN’T build the Temple, but He didn’t say I couldn’t get the supplies and devise the plans. I’ll do what I can


APPLICATION: Perhaps you CAN’T go to the mission field. Do what you can do...... Pray, give, send.

A)What Can you do?  


B)In what ways like Timothy are you willing to sacrifice for the Kingdom?


C)know this: It is the man after God’s own heart who does what he can rather than complaining about what he can’t do


That is the same thing we see in the Apostle Paul – turn back to Acts 16 – V. Acts 16:7-9

7 After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them.

                      ANOTHER NO!

8 So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas.

A)Paul kept knocking on doors kept moving – kept going with the mission


B)He did what He could do in the situation and continued to wait on the Lord for further direction


C)Notice v.9 it came! 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." 10 Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.


D)God uses a vision a man with a need – and they responded.


Note Immediately - This was a ready response.

A)No Procrastination – no debating – no discussion

God said Go and they went!


B)God loves that kind of response – That is the Kind of person He can lead – do amazing things with

C)We will see what God does in Phillipi with Paul in our study next time. – Meet this Man from Maced.