Publication Date: 1976-1977
Walter J. Cummins graduated from the Power for Abundant Class in 1962.
He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Ohio State University in 1968 and his Master of Education degree in Secondary School Administration in 1978 from Wright State University.
He was ordained to the Christian by The Way International in 1968. He has studied at The Way International under Victor Paul Wierwille and K.C.Pillai. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he was director of the Research department of the Way International and served as assistant to the president.
The Macedonian Call
Remember the outreach in the Galatia area; how the churches increased in numbers daily? One thing to remember is that this was an area that had already had “WOW’s”, Paul and Barnabas. And it was established before; they had gone back and established it. Now they were just moving and swooping over the area so that everybody could hear. That’s why it was increasing in numbers daily. This didn’t always happen when he’d go into a new area but once a work got established you saw some increase. After this they pass up to Troas and this is where Paul has this Macedonian call.
Acts 16:9-10: And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.
And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.
When God says, “Go to Macedonia.” Where do you go? Macedonia. When? Right now. When God says, “Jump.” You jump. You don’t ask how high until you’re on the way up. When God says, “Go.” Don’t ask questions, just go and witness after you get there. Suppose you get there and there’s nobody that wants to believe. Just keep witnessing. God wouldn’t send you there for no reason at all. Why are you there? Because God wants you there and you’re going to open up that area if you’re faithful to the principles of the Word. If nobody believes that first week, so what. You still keep witnessing. If you want to argue, argue with God.
There are a lot of communities like Macedonia, where there are people crying, “Help us.” How many have you heard on television? Not too many. Television tells you about all those people that are condemning the movement of the Word; that hold up the negatives; that say that anything that’s Biblical is inaccurate. That’s what you hear on the natural media. It’s natural, what do you expect? Something spiritual? No, it’s going to be natural. Anything opposed to the Word, you’ll find being pushed in the natural media. But there are people in those communities crying, “Help us.” It will be a spiritual call. Not a call by your television or radio. God calls us.
“to preach the gospel” – No, He wanted them to do some social work. I ran into that so many times last year. “Words never help people,” was the line. “What good are words to someone? They need material help. What good does “words” do for a person?” Then they cite the examples: unmarried mother to be in three seconds. What do you do? Teach her the Word or give her an apartment to stay in, welfare and so on? Give a man
a fish and he eats how long? Teach him how to fish with the Word and action and he’ll eat the rest of his life. Teach him God’s Word and he’ll eat forever. That’s the principle.
Acts 16:11-12: Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis;
And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days.
Troas is where he got the Macedonian call. From there he sails to Samothracia which is an island out in the Aegean Sea. The Aegean Sea is the sea between what we know as Turkey today and Greece. He sails out to Samothracia. From there they sail over to Neapolis which is the seaport. From Neapolis they walk up to Philippi. Philippi is about eight miles away from the seacoast. That is the chief city, it says, of that part of Macedonia.
Macedonia was at one time divided into four parts. This part was one of the parts and the chief city was Philippi. Philippi, it says, was a colony which is a military settlement. There’s a road called the Egnatian Way that terminates in Neapolis at the seaport and passes through Philippi. This was one of the chief Roman military roads that connected Rome with the east. That tells you there were quite a few people from all walks of life passing through Philippi. That’s where Paul went to teach the Word Because God told him, “Come on over.”
“we were in that city abiding certain days” – Does it say they won anybody? No, they were just staying there. They were there a few days.
Acts 16:13: And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made [customary to have prayer]; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.
Normally Paul started out in the synagogue. Here it was custom for people who looking for answers or praying to go down by the riverside. That’s where Paul, Silas and Timothy headed.
Acts 16:14: And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.
The Sanskrit reads:
And a certain woman named Lydia of the city of Thyatira which is noted for selling purple.
That’s the Sanskrit text which is the Bible that Bishop K.C. Pillai used in India. It’s in an Indian language.
Acts 16:15: And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.
“her household” – this sort of indicates that she was a widow. She was the one chiefly responsible. It wasn’t just her who believed but her whole household.
Lydia was the first person to believe in what we today call Europe.
Acts 16:10: And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.
This is the first “we” section in the book of Acts. There are four “we” sections in the book of Acts. Before it was always “they,” “he,” “them.” Now it’s “we,” “us.” Here, at Troas, Luke joins Paul and sails over to Philippi wit him. “We” would include the writer which would be Luke. Now you have Luke, Timothy and Silas with Paul.
Acts 16:11-13: Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis;
And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days.
And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.
So, it was really four men that were witnessing to the women there; Luke, Silas, Timothy and Paul.
Acts 16:14-19: And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.
And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.
And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:
The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.
And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, ...
And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,
In verse 19 it reverts back to Paul and Silas and later on it picks up Timothy again and it drops the “we.” Apparently Luke must have sailed with them from Troas up to Philippi and apparently stayed in Philippi. The next “we” section is after Paul completes this second itinerary, goes back to Jerusalem, goes up to Antioch, and then he comes back to Ephesus, goes over into this territory again in chapter 20.
Acts 20:3-6: And there abode three months. And when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to sail into Syria, he purposed to return through Macedonia. [Philippi is in Macedonia]
And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus.
These going before tarried for us at Troas.
And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days.
Paul picks Luke up there again. From there he sails all the way to chapter 21.
Acts 21:17: And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly.
Luke goes with him from here all the way to Jerusalem when Paul wasn’t supposed to go to Jerusalem. Then When Paul later goes to Rome from Caesarea Luke sails with him on his prison journey.
Acts 27:1: And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered
Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus' band.
Acts 28:16: And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him.
Luke stayed at Philippi apparently until Paul went from this area down to Jerusalem when he wasn’t supposed to go to Jerusalem. When he made that trip Luke went with him and then Luke stayed in that area and later sailed with him to Rome on the prison journey to Rome.
II Timothy 4:11: Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.
Colossians 4:14: Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.
Both of these verses have reference to Luke being in Rome with Paul. These were written apparently from Rome. So Luke was the physician. They also had an attorney named Zenas.
Titus 3:13: Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them.
Acts 16:16: And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:
“divination” – putheon – we get the English word python from this. In Greek mythology there was a dragon by this name that Apollo had defeated. Apollo is connected a lot with divination, with soothsaying, with predictions. Apollo was worshiped as a god along with the other temples in the area. Behind every idol there is a devil spirit. Those who worship these and really get involved who possessed are possessed of some of these devil spirits. This was one of them. She was a soothsayer who had the spirit of divination, the spirit of python. Because of this she brought her masters a lot of money. She was in the big business, making predictions.
Acts 16:17-18: The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.
And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.
“Paul, being grieved” – he knew what was going on. It looked real good on the outside; it looked she was really for them. It looked like she was really backing them 100 %. Paul said, “Hmm, something’s inside there.” How did he know? Not by sense knowledge; revelation, discerning of spirits.
“this did she many days” - Why didn’t he throw it out the first day? No revelation. When there’s no revelation, you don’t throw out devil spirits. Don’t get “devil spirit-happy.” But when God said, “Throw it out,” do you know what he did? He threw it out.
“same hour” – immediately
Acts 16:19: And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,
This woman had been producing things for their pockets for a long time. She was doing the predicting and that’s what kept them in the “black.” That’s what kept their greed up. When the spirit saw Paul come, it just put on a big front; “Yea man, this is a great man of God teaching the way of salvation.”
In Dealing with the Adversary, we talk about Satan’s fronts. Devil spirits will really throw up a big one. Sense knowledge-wise, sometimes you never recognize them. Sense knowledge-wise you never recognize what’s going on behind the scenes. That’s why we’ve got to be sharp, looking for Satan’s fronts. But you don’t just go around casting things out either. Don’t get “cast-happy.” You wait for revelation.
See how vital this walk is? Our spiritual perception and awareness has to be so sharp. We can’t afford to miss it. If we start missing in too many places at too many times, you got some trouble piling up. We’ve really got to be sharp spiritually. To be sharp spiritually, we’ve got to be sharp in the renewed mind category. We’ve got to know that Word. Just put on the Word. That’s why Dr. Wierwille said, “If nothing else, get the Word this year.” Renew your minds to the Word and get that spiritual perception and awareness. The fronts are really big today, maybe even more so than in the first century.
“her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone” – These guys had hit them right in the pocketbook. Paul and Silas and these others had hit them right on the black side of the ledger and made it tilt. They no longer had these predictions that were 90 % or 80 % accurate.
Acts 16:20-21: And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,
And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.
“teach customs” – what had they done? They cast out a devil spirit; stopped their income. That’s what the real problem was but they put up fronts. They called names. They used false witnesses. They said, “They’re teaching customs and not just strange customs but these are customs which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe being Romans. We’re Roman citizens. We pay our taxes.”
Acts 16:22-24: And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.
And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:
Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
“stocks” – wood – literally – that’s what it means though – stocks
Before they put them in there, they laid many stripes on them. I’ll bet it was 39; 40 save 1. I wouldn’t doubt it. Because they had really hit their pocketbook and that was what their primary interest was.
II Corinthians 11:24: Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
This was one of those times. That happened to him five times; that he was beaten with the bullwhip, 39 lashes. Why 39? The law was 40 and just in case you missed 1, they always made it 39 just in case. Because if they went 41, they’d have to pay for it.
II Corinthians 11:25: Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
“beaten with rods” – you know, the cat-of-nine tails; little pieces of metal in the end of the whip that they drew through his back.
“once was I stoned” – Where was that? Lystra.
In Acts 16, I think is the only place where it says Paul was whipped. In Corinthians he tells us that it didn’t just happen once. It happened a total of eight times; five times with the bullwhip, three times with the cat-of-nine tails, each time thirty-nine lashes. This was one of them. It doesn’t mention everything in the book of Acts that happened to Paul. Once he was stoned. You know where that happened; Lystra. Three times he had been shipwrecked; a day and a half in the water. You don’t read all those things in the book of Acts. But you know it happened because he later recounts it in Corinthians. If Corinthians was written about Acts chapter 20, then that pretty well tells you these things happened by Acts chapter 20, besides what happened in his prison trip to Rome. That’s sort of interesting.
Acts 16:25: And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
If they sang praises to God, what did those prisoners hear? They heard the Word. If you’re going to sing, don’t sing “My Poor Lost Lover,” sing “My New Found Love in the Word.” Sing the Word. And that’s what those prisoners heard. This wasn’t even on the stage. It was in the cell. They heard the Word.
Acts 16:26: And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.
I could never figure that out; how you could have a chain going from your hand to the wall and why the earthquake would knock that chain off. But it doesn’t say chains. It says they had their feet in stocks. And when that earthquake hit, those stocks just split, the doors fell off. That’s what happened. The stocks broke. What held them there was loosed.
Acts 16:27-33: And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.
But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.
Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,
And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.
And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes [those 39]; and was baptized [in the name of Jesus Christ], he and all his [house], straightway.
Paul and Silas got washed physically and they got washed spiritually.
Acts 16:34: And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.
His house would have been right there connected with the jail; a part of it. It was right there together. It wasn’t that he had to go across town to get to his house.
Acts 16:35-37: And when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, Let those men go.
And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and go in peace.
But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out.
“uncondemned” – no trial – “They didn’t even read us our rights.”
“privily” – privately; secretly – trying to sneak them out “the back”
Acts 16:38: And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans.
Paul might just have an attorney and he might file a civil suit against them because these were Romans against Romans.
Acts 16:39: And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city.
They didn’t sneak them out privately, secretly. They came like Paul told them; either or.
“desired” – begged
Acts 16:40: And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.
They didn’t run out of the city. They went back to the house of Lydia.
Paul was a Roman citizen. But he didn’t tell them that when they were beating him. He didn’t tell them that when they put him in jail. He held his trump card till last, then he played it. He knew when he’d need it. He didn’t tell them everything he knew. You don’t tell everything you know. Save your trump cards for when you need them.
If they had let them sneak them out privately and Paul had ever wanted to come back to put a complaint against them, they’d have said, “What? What are you talking about? We don’t have any record of beating anybody on that date; no court decision. Hmm, nothing here.” Paul said, “We’re Romans. You want a complaint? We’ll get our attorney down here and he’ll shove this one up your nose. We’re not going to be snuck out. You come down here and you fetch us out in the open. He always had the upper hand then from there on out. They could never really touch him or he could slap that one in their face real quick.
You’ve got to be smart as serpents and harmless as doves. He never filed a complaint against them. But he always had the upper hand. Those other birds were always full of fear after that because they tried to fight against God.
They asked them to depart out of the city but he didn’t because he had the upper hand now. If he hadn’t have done this and he didn’t have the upper hand, he could have never have gone back to the twig. He’d have legally had to get out of the city or they’d have put him back in again. They would have had the upper hand. But now he could go freely back to the house of Lydia. They were desiring him, “Won’t you get out of the city? Go back where you came from.” They went to the house of Lydia.
Do you think those stripes hurt? They won a jailor and his household in the process.
Remember in Acts chapter 13, when they were at Lystra, what happened to Paul? He was stoned. He’d had a few problems before that. He had a few things happen to him but that’s where the real biggie hit. He was stoned there. On his second trip he passes through Galatia and comes to Philippi and what do they do at Philippi? They beat him and threw him in prison. He gets out of that too. That’s in chapter 16.
We’re going to see as he continues on these travels, he goes into Thessalonica. They don’t put him in prison. They don’t beat him, at least not in the record there. Instead, they go get Jason, one of his friends. They imprison a friend and he gats out on bail. That’s in Acts 17. Also in Acts 17 he goes to Berea and he totally avoids any persecution of this nature at all. Then he goes down to Athens and over to Corinth. The Jews didn’t come to Athens. That didn’t bug them because that’s a big Gentile city. At
Corinth they’re going to beat Paul but they bring him to the magistrate, Gallio and Gallio says, “I don’t care. Get this stuff away from me.” And it ends up that they take the guy that was going to beat Paul and beat him. The persecutors are beaten. That’s in chapter 18.
Whenever you’re working the Word and the world tries to really get you and persecute you and you’re standing on the Word, you get the hard thing first. You’ve got a big catastrophe so-to-speak. But when that happens, what do you do, quit? That gives you a chance to really believe. You use the power of God to overcome it, like Paul did. The next time they hit, they don’t get so far. That gives you a chance to overcome that. The next time they come around, they don’t even catch you. But they might get your friends. So you’ve got another chance to believe; to work for your friend; to build up your brothers and sisters in Christ so that the next time they don’t touch any of you.
Finally, if they keep trying it too long, it’s going to backfire. They’ll be the ones that’ll be beaten because you can’t fight against God and expect to survive. You can’t fight against God and expect to come out ahead. This is just the opposite of the way the world would work because when this happens to you, as Gods child, it gives you a chance to really believe and overcome all those obstacles. When Satan throws anything and he’s got a storehouse full of them, so what. You just stand that much firmer. Paul did it. If they buck against the power of God too long, it will come back to slap them in the face. You just stay faithful to the Word. Put the Word on and let that Word live in your life.