3.17 Acts -- The Macedonian Call
Paul's missionary journeys were not always pre-planned. There was a dynamic, spontaneous element to them, indicated by the immediate guidance of the Spirit:
The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit... (Acts 13:4).
They tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to (Acts 16:7).
Sometimes this guidance failed them:
Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company (Acts 15:37-39).
Once, God gave Paul a vision of his next destination:
During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." 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 (Acts 16:9-10).
The notable thing about this vision is that the Holy Spirit was directing Paul to a remote region with very few Jews. In Philippi, he couldn't even find a synagogue to preach in (Acts 16:13). We are a long way from Jerusalem! And yet, this was the Spirit's purpose, to spread the news of Jesus far beyond the familiar boundaries. It is not just that Paul went a long way geographically. More significant is the cultural distance he travelled, impelled by the Spirit Himself.