The Gospel Observer
"Go therefore and make disciples
of all the nations...teaching them to observe all that I
commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the
end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
December 30, 2018
1) Bible Lands: Philippi (Mike Hardin)
2) Challenges for the New Year (Greg Gwin)
3) News & Notes
Bible Lands: Philippi
The city of Philippi was in the first district of Macedonia, and the
immediate destination of Paul and Silas upon reaching Macedonia. In
Philippi, Paul and Silas successfully preached the gospel. They met
and converted Lydia, “a seller of purple goods”; cast out an evil
spirit; were scourged, jailed, and miraculously saved; converted the
jailer and his household; and established the Lord’s church in this
Philippi received its name from its founder, Philip of Macedonia. In
Acts 16:12, Luke refers to it as the leading city of Macedon, and
also mentions its status as a Roman Colony. This status was a
distinction in which the citizens of such a city took a great deal
of pride, and this attitude is indicated by the complaint against
Paul and his associates for seeking to introduce customs and
practices contrary to the Roman pattern (Acts 16:21-26).
Philippi was the place where Marcus Antonius and Octavius
defeated Brutus and Cassius (42 B.C.), which defeat overthrew the
Roman Oligarchy and Augustus (Octavius) became Emperor. This battle
in large measure determined the fate of the Roman Republic, which
became the Roman Empire. Roman soldiers settled in Philippi under
the orders from Anthony and set aside the territory of Philippi as a
Roman colony. The position of Philippi was that of an outpost or
fortress whose principal business was to ward off barbarian hordes
and to preserve the Roman peace on the edges of the empire. The
military atmosphere may have kept away Jewish settlers, thus
preventing the establishment of a synagogue.
Geographically, Philippi was an inland town situated about ten miles
north of the Aegean seaport of Neapolis (modern Kavalla), from
which it was separated by a continuous range of low lying
hills. Philippi’s maritime interests, entering at Neapolis,
were safeguarded by the construction of a Roman highway, a spur of
the great Via Egnatia.
The Roman Empire gave civilization two major contributions, peace
and a great road system. The Roman-built Via Egnatia was a great
military highway. The strategic and commercially viable Via Egnatia
ran along the north of Macedonia, connecting Dyrrhachium on the
Adriatic Sea with Thessalonica near the Aegean Sea. This was the
prime route between Italy and Asia Minor. The Via Egnatia is the
most famous road in the Roman Empire, the main artery in southern
Italy, and was constructed by the end of the second century B.C. The
total length of the Via Egnatia was 535 Roman miles (493 English
miles). Thessalonica and Philippi were the principal cities of
Macedonia having access to the Via Egnatia. The road was paved and
15 feet across. On a road such as the Via Egnatia a person could
travel about 25 Roman miles (1,614.6 yards) per day, depending upon
whether he was walking or riding. The Via Egnatia was a great
highway through which all the traders from east and west had to
pass. Not only did the Via Egnatia make possible the economic boom
that occurred in Paul’s day, but it played an important role in
disseminating the gospel throughout Europe.
The Apostle Paul no doubt traveled the Via Egnatia between the
cities of Philippi, Thessalonica, and Illyricum. Philippi for Paul
was a strategic center for evangelizing Europe. It was well watered,
in the midst of a very fertile territory, and close to it were some
very rich gold mines.
The church at Philippi was established by Paul on his second
Missionary journey, about A.D. 52. At Troas “a vision appeared
to Paul in the night; there was a man of Macedonia standing and
beseeching him, and saying, come over into Macedonia and help us;
and when he had seen the vision straightway we sought to go further
into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the
gospel unto them” (Acts 16:6-10).
They sailed from Troas, and evidently, with a favorable wind,
crossed the Aegean Sea in two days to Neapolis, a journey that would
ordinarily have taken five days. From Neapolis they went up to
Philippi. These circumstances: the vision at Troas, a ship being
immediately available, and a favorable wind on his journey indicate
that God was guiding Paul to the city of Philippi.
In Philippi, Paul and Silas “went outside the gate to the riverside,
where they supposed there was a place of prayer.” One of the women,
who heard them speak, was Lydia, “a seller of purple goods, who was
a worshiper of God.” Lydia was from Thyatira in Asia Minor. Lydia
and her household were baptized into Jesus Christ (Acts 16:12-15).
The conversion of Lydia represented the establishment of the first
church in Europe. One of the possible sites for the baptism of Lydia
is the River Krenides near Philippi.
Paul and Silas were cast into prison in Philippi and converted the
jailor and his household (Acts 16:16-34). Paul had a great love and
appreciation for the children of God at Philippi.
— Via Truth Magazine, January 2007, Volume LI, Number 1, pp. 27-28
Challenges for the New Year
The beginning of a new year provides an excellent opportunity for us
to pause, ponder, plan, and prepare for the future. We hope that the
New Year will especially cause us all to think about our spiritual
service to God and how we can improve in the fulfillment of our
duties to Him. Let us challenge you in these specific areas:
- Spend more time in prayer.
Don't allow the day to begin or
end without spending time in prayer
to God. Throughout the day, stop
and petition Him for help and
strength. And, by all means, don't
just wait for a crisis to
develop before you think to pray.
“Pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
- Study your Bible more consistently. Use one of the
available daily Bible reading schedules, or come up with your
own plan to read on a regular basis. Don't just rush through a
few verses. Instead, really study the text to learn its meaning.
Before you end a reading session, think about how you can make
application of what you've read in a real and practical way. "Give
attendance to reading . . ." (1 Timothy 4:13).
- Attend every Bible study and worship in this New Year.
This, of course, is your duty -- but it is also a privilege. BE
HERE! Make this a high priority. Why would you not want to be
present to worship God and study His Word? "Not
forsaking the assembling of ourselves
together . . ." (Hebrews 10:25).
- Teach the lost. We all have friends, neighbors, co-workers
and family members who are lost in sin. They NEED us to share
the gospel with them. Make a firm
commitment to reach at least one of them
with the "good news" this year. If each Christian
would bring just one person to the Lord each year, we could
soon convert the whole world. Let's do it! "Go ye therefore and
teach all nations . . . (Matthew 28:19).
- Live a pure, godly life. Nothing else matters if we are not
living faithfully for the Lord. Think about this, and let it be
manifested in how you talk, where
you go, who you associate with, how
you dress, etc. Others are
looking to you, and evaluating
Christianity on the basis of
what they see of it in you. "Ye are the light of the world . .
. let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good
works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew
In a very real sense, having a "Happy New Year" depends on how well
you fulfill your spiritual duties to God. Think!
- Via The Beacon, December 30, 2018
News & Notes
Folks to be remembering in prayer:
We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Larry
Welch who recently passed away.
Pat Joyner's surgery went well. She is now back home
Others to also remember in prayer: James Medlock, A.J.
Joyner, Myrna Jordan, Jim Lively, Bennie & Deborah Medlock,
Melotine Davis, Shirley Davis, Rick Cuthbertson, Mary Vandevander,
Everleigh and Hazel Greer, Marilyn Roberts, Danny Hutcheson, Roger
Montgomery, Mary Aldrich, Rex & Frankie Hadley, John Stobal,
Michelle Rittenhouse, and Tommy Lin
WordPress version of this bulletin:
The Steps That
Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the
gospel, for that is how faith
comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the
deity of Christ (John 8:24; John
3) Repent of sins
(Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in
Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts
5) Be baptized in water
for the remission of sins (Mark
16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom.
6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living
for the Lord; for, if not,
salvation can be lost (Heb.
10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet.
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross,
Sunday services: 9:00
a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. &
5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m.
(Ladies' Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m.
Edwards (912) 281-9917
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