Sunday, September 16, 2012

From Acts to Revelation Part 44 – In the Midst of Battle

From Acts to Revelation
Part 44 – In the Midst of Battle
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

Remember last week, Paul and Silas had cast a demon out of a slave-fortuneteller that had following them around the city and mocking them.

Paul finally had enough, and speaking to the demon, not the woman, he cast it out.

Once her masters saw she no longer had any powers, and they couldn't make any more money, they were angry.

In today's scripture, we will see that, although things may be going bad around us, in the midst of the storm, God is still there, and completed in control. And just because you do not understand what is happening around you, does not mean God is not working.


Acts 16:19-40
19 When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”
22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”
29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the nightthe jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.
35 When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: “Release those men.” 36 The jailer told Paul, “The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace.”
37 But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.”
38 The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. 39 They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city. 40 After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them. Then they left.

a.      After Paul and Silas cast the demon out of the Slave-fortuneteller, she no longer had power to earn her masters money.

b.     When he master's found this out, they grabbed Paul and Silas, and took them to the magistrate.

c.      Here, they lie, emphasizing the fact that they are Jews, and saying that the reason they turned them in was because they were inciting, and teaching against Roman customs.

d.     These Magistrate's, without investigation, without trial, simply commanded the guards beat Paul and Silas with a rod.
i.       A rod was a club approximately three feet long, with a knob on one end. It was used to beat wolves away from the herd. It symbolizes authority in scripture, but here is meant literally.

e.      After they were beaten, they were imprisoned in the inner cell, and shackled.
a.      Paul and Silas, in the midst of their storm, were praying, and singing hymns to God.
i.       The guards were listening.

ii.    You never know who is watching or listening to you while you are going through tough times in life.

iii. Are you showing God to others during these times?

b.     Just then, the building shook, and rumbled, the doors opened, and shackles fell off, and Paul and Silas were free.
i.       But they did not leave.

c.      Waking, and fearing the men gone, the jailer drew his sword to kill himself.

d.     But Paul yelled, “Stop!”
i.       God showed His power and might

ii.    God was in control

iii. They could be free, if God wanted them to be

iv.   But He had another plan...the soldiers salvation.

e.      The jailer, recognized God's power, fell to his knees and asked the most important question anyone can ask, “What must I do to be saved?”

a.      This man was a Gentile, Roman, with no experience, or education of God.

b.     Paul did not answer,
i.       First you have to do this, then this, then that...

c.      Paul simply replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

d.     The jailer then took Paul and Silas to his house.
i.       He cleaned their wounds

ii.    He and his house were baptized

iii. He then fed them a meal

e.      The jailer was full of joy because he came to believe in God

a.      There was a slight problem though, if daylight came and Paul and Silas were gone, the jailer and all his men would be killed for letting the prisoners escape.

b.     So, Paul and Silas returned to the Jail.

c.      The next morning, they were released by the magistrate.
i.       However Paul had something to say about the ordeal.

ii.    “They beat us publicly without trial

iii. Though we are Roman citizens

iv.   and threw us into prison

v.      and now, want us to go quietly

vi.   Let them come and escort us out.

d.     When the Magistrate heard they were Roman Citizens, they were alarmed.
i.       Remember, the liars who turned them in for inciting and teaching against Roman customs, never mentioned they were citizens, but simply called them Jews.
ii.    The Magistrate was also at fault, because they did not investigate, nor have a trial.

So they escorted Paul and Silas, and requested they leave the city. But the first went to Lydia's, encouraged their brothers and sisters, then left.

Things may be going bad around us. But, in the midst of the storm, God is still there, and completed in control. And just because you do not understand what is happening around you, does not mean God is not working.

God used the storm that Paul and Silas was in, being thrown in prison, and through that situation, and Paul and Silas' continued faith and trust in God during this time, and worked out of it, GOOD.

Bringing the jailers to salvation. This being God's number one priority over all else in this world!!!!!

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!